The Sporting Life
Sporting contests have enthralled and entertained human beings since the earliest of times. Today sport has become something more than just a pleasure and pastime – it’s now a national obsession in many countries. Fans and supporters appear to revel in the excitement, sometimes to the point of delirium.
Sport is upheld as something pure and untarnished because of its original ethos of courage in the face of adversity. In ancient civilisations sport was primarily a preparation for athletes for the business of warfare, and the physical challenges of the sporting bouts were designed to resemble the conditions a soldier might face in battle. For athletes who distinguished themselves in the original Olympic Games in Greece, the laurel branch, twisted to resemble a crown, was bestowed on the victor. By this time the cultural significance of sport, together with the prestige of being associated with the heroes of the day, had been firmly established as an intrinsic part of the emerging Western civilisation.
Fast forward to the present day and the sporting life continues as a permanent fixture in our modern society, only magnified by the emphasis the media attributes to a sporting event to excite and entice the global audience. But sport is not immune to the human condition of greed and dishonesty, which only seems to be more sordid against the backdrop of the sporting ethic of fair play and healthy competitive spirit. Cracks are now showing in the veneer of not only the organising bodies of major sporting institutions but in many athletes and sports stars who, motivated by the rewards of winning at all costs, are prepared to risk everything to be exalted in the eyes of the world.
In recent times, sports that were traditionally associated with the male of the species have been largely superseded by the unisex culture, which has opened the doors to female boxers, rugby players and other contact sports. While empowering perhaps to women as a means to regain their self-esteem through their sporting prowess, it degrades love at its finest level. The images of a woman, the female personification of love, battering another in the boxing ring for the entertainment of the spectators is a graphic indication that something has gone drastically wrong with love on planet earth.
The sporting life in our culture is reverting back, not to the golden age of heroes and nobility (except in the individual) but to the lowest domination of the human condition. The sight of winning racing drivers at the end of a race, shaking up the bottle of champagne and drenching each other and the fans with the fizz, is symbolic of the release of the sexual force that is ejaculated into the world. This force externalises as a negative reaction in existence through the degeneration of the human spirit in matter. Cage fighting and even more brutal forms of combat are coming. Perhaps this sounds familiar, with echoes of the gladiators and the screaming mob baying for blood in some ancient amphitheatre.
Deep within the psyche of the individual sportsman or woman is the desire to manifest, through the grace and strength of the body, the finest qualities of humanity. When played in the true spirit, sport can be edifying, not only for the participants but for spectators alike. But, except in those rare moments, the sporting life has lost its virtue and now reflects back to us, the viewers, the graphic images of contorted faces of athletes and fans. Nevertheless, sport has its place and is there to be enjoyed. Sport, if nothing more, provides the respite for a global audience from the challenges of living in this world.
Extract from e-book: ‘Humanity: A Spiritual Perspective’ available from Amazon Kindle.