Saturday, September 15, 2007


I don’t get...

Time for brief bloggery before hopping the Metro to the march. (Yes, I know, another link to it....) So, a brief thing about some “sports” that I just don’t get.

I don’t get hunting. As a sport, I mean. If you need to hunt to get food, or clothing, that’s one thing. Or if you sell what you kill to others for food or clothing, yes, I see that. But I don’t get how one can go out and track down and kill furry animals... for fun.

I don’t get target shooting, as a sport. It seems to me to be no more than practice for shooting other things. If one wants to hone skill at hitting a target, why not use a bow and arrow? Why not darts? Why a loud, powerful mechanical thing? Does it help one feel like a “man”?

I don’t get boxing. Two people beating each other senseless while a crowd around them watches and cheers, and cheers all the louder when one of them is knocked down or bloodied. Anyone who does for for any length of time is likely to have some level of brain damage from it. And the spectators are safe in their seats with their beers.

I don’t get watching car racing. I see how it’d be fun to be a race driver, but watching it? They go ’round and ’round in ovals, and the spectators seem to be waiting for someone to crash and burn. That seems to be the point of it: hoping for a spectacular crash. Much like watching an “action film”, and there it is: the car-chase scene!

I guess it’s that I don’t get our need for mayhem. If it were a release, which eliminated the need to act it out for real, I’d say “Great, better that way.” But it isn’t, it doesn’t. And I don’t get it.


Maggie said...

Thank you for going to the march.

I don't get it either, not only do I not have those urges, it upsets me that other people have them.

But people are different, and there are clearly a lot of people who have those urges. I suppose it's better to watch boxing or car racing than it is to watch a hanging or a dog fight. (Not that we've completely eradicated those tendencies, either.)

Maybe in four hundred years, if we manage to still be around them and make progress during that time, people will look on boxing as we look on bear baiting. (Or as I hope most people look on bear baiting.)

Lisa said...

Among these, I believe I might understand the target shooting. I've done 'kata' in Karate, forms which must be done exactly so, each block and kick and punch and step and stance exactly so.

Sure, you could look at this as training to violence, but you know me! A lot of the enjoyment came out of a state of intense focus, losing track of time and self. I actually found it easier to achieve that with kata than I do with yoga, and easier with yoga than when I'm just sitting trying to meditate. Target practice, thus, can involve trying to slow one's breathing, cleanse one's mind, and train towards that state of intense focus. I'd try it.

Dr. Momentum said...

I think to simplify it to destructive urges is to oversimplify it.

Personally, I think you can say many of the same things about football. It is quite destructive. Witness this week's New York Times video story on high school football concussions. Or long term effects on the bodies of football athletes.

In any case, the oversimplification glosses over the skill that is required in all the endeavors listed. Boxing, for example, clearly involves skill, and that skill can be appreciated. Admittedly, you must still stomach the pain that the boxers are causing each other. However, we watch marathoners painfully tear their muscles apart -- the effect of a marathon is brutal.

(And, of course, target shooting involves skill without actually doing any violence or hurting anyone. And my objection to hunting as a sport is that it's a bit cowardly to kill a defenseless rabbit with a gun if you don't need to eat it.)

My point is this: we are looking at a continuum. I'm not a particular fan of football, car racing, or boxing. And you might be able to argue that a percentage of the population enjoys these sports simply for the brutality. But if your post was an honest question about "getting" these endeavors, you have to consider the skill required and the ability to appreciate that skill.

zandria said...

Glad to hear you weren't arrested!

I liked target shooting, and I don't ever plan on hunting. (And it definitely doesn't make me feel like "more of a man.") It did make me feel powerful in a way, learning how to load and operate a gun, and then hit the target with it. Maybe just knowing what kind of damage it could do in real life, and that you're controlling that power?

scouter573 said...

I've done a little shooting at Boy Scout camp (as an adult) - and it just wasn't very interesting. The archery was much more fun and challenging. There was something about the physical act of drawing the bow, holding the pose while aiming, then letting go in a controlled manner - many challenges that all needed to be mastered. The rifle shooting required concentration but not at all as much physical focus.