Thursday, March 23, 2017

Putting Away Childish Things

Richard Branson lost an airline today. However, he has another in the works under the Virgin brand; more precisely, a spaceline: Virgin Galactica. Maybe we should just call it a high end airline - elites only, one of whom is pledged to be Stephen Hawking.

Stephen isn't the only disabled person getting a boost. Yesterday, the Supreme Court ruled that public schools must develop challenging curricula for every learning disabled student according to their capabilities. No longer can schools claim success with these students by teaching to the level of the lowest common denominator. In other words, special education students are going to be getting special treatment.

In sports, special kids are rising to challenges with the special olympics which is just about to wrap up for winter in Austria. For the rest of us, sports festivals are a kind of special olympics for not so special athletes. They help us keep fit and raise money for charity. Beyond that, adults competing in sports are, like space tourism, just a big ego trip.

Photo by Werner Kunz
Unfortunately, we lavish copious amounts of time, money, and memory on professional sports ego trips while the entertainment potential is already there cheaply with high school and college sports, and even the special olympics. The usefulness of sports is mainly that it gives kids an energy release and adults a way to stay fit. Why pay to watch adults do something that is basically child's play?

In the once again popular book, 1984, George Orwell showed his disdain for spectator sports as a way for the powerful to opiate the masses. Parallels to that novel are playing out not only because of Trump. We have allowed ourselves to be dumbed down by the din of televised sports, the daily buzz of contests without consequence.

As we deal with the hard decisions of catabolic collapse, we should step back and ask ourselves what is truly necessary and what is only benefitting the few. Professional sports is a giant racket. Our insistence that only the best will do has warped our society. We should content ourselves with enjoying the physicality of youth and then behave as grown ups.

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