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7/10/12 questions and discussion

From: Jon A.
Sent on: Monday, July 16, 2012 6:21 PM
7/10/12 questions and discussion

1-Let's be optimists and answer this: what ought our path back to unity?5/1
2-why don't we teach people how to lose?4
3-does it make sense to take the life as meaningful?5/1
4-why still do we have an electoral college when we proclaim "one person, one vote"?3
5 are professional and semi-professional sports good for us?-5/4
6-is a fair society a good society?5/2
7-why do people believe in conspiracy theories?3

are professional and semi-professional sports good for us?

John: I'm not a big sports fan. I know a little about what's going on. I think baseball statistics are more interesting than the game itself. People spend a lot of time watching,  talking about, and playing sports. It used to be something we all had in common (one potential benefit). There are always claims that one learns cooperation and leadership by playing sports. Lots of public money is (and always has been) going to encourage sport. We can talk about the arts next time.

Shannon: sports aren't an art?

John: on the negative side, people can overestimate sport's potential. Semipro college sport has a corrupting influence. It assumes college types are the types for sport using schemes (scholarships and tutors) to get people to play that ought not be in college. Baseball has the minor leagues, which is more appropriate. Stadiums are a plus except for their financing. Sports do give us the common interest stuff but stadiums now still separate the audience (sky boxes, for ex.). From an economic perspective: team owners and stadium operators are "perfect price discriminators." This means they get people to pay the highest price on the price scale that they will pay for something. It used to be everybody could afford a game seat. Athletes as "role models" are falling down on the job.

Shannon: the role model problem is more about the people who idolize the athletes.

David: do we live vicariously through our sports?

John: with so many watching we end up with "consumer surplus": many can actually watch for free. This can be an argument for tax revenues paying for stadiums.

Jon: non revenue college sport don't corrupt. Financial sufficiency, or success, come before ethics and happiness.  I don't know if the new Vikings stadium is a good thing or a bad one for any empirical reason, but I instinctively disliked the expression I saw on Ziggy Wilf's face when he appeared on TV the next day. 

Shannon: stats show that women athletes in college do better after sports involvement. I think it helped me. It connected me to my dad.

Kevin: does a new stadium add value to the team?

David: presumably

Dick: Target field gets used for things other than sport. The success connection may be a chicken/egg thing. Sport in America is a fixation that wastes a lot of otherwise useful energy and time. We're distracting people from what's really happening.

John: is any entertainment distracting?

Dick: it depends on how much one does it. 

Jon: fishing (Dick's a big fishing enthusiast)?!

Dick: fishing is doing, that other stuff is not doing.

Shannon: participation is ok?

Dick: sandlot is good, the money part is bad. Movies and the entertainment industry are the same.

Jon: but it's surely true that those athletes/celebrities­ get what we consumers will pay for their services.

John: not necessarily, if tax subsidies are considered. Subsidization allows teams to keep more of the money. Most athletes would play for less money out love for their sport.

Jim: I don't think we should underestimate how it matters to a community. Sports give us an essence of life. Teams have fans. This then ties a lot of things together. It's where we have shared experiences; community, essence of life, learning how to lose. The present college approach is not unreasonable: it not only makes the colleges liquid, it attracts future students and bond the already students in a healthy, tribal way. We lack sources of community nowadays.

Jon: [to Jim and Shannon] you both were very involved in college athletics at a rather high level. Does than make your experience of sport different?

Shannon: anyone can enjoy sport.

David: I can say there are lots more bad distractions than sports, but they remain distractions. Jay Leno's "Jaywalking" segments demonstrate just how little many of us know about what's going on around us. Everyone is tied into sport and unaware of what's going on.

Dick: it's for lazy people

David: past a certain point it's bad and most Americans are there, at that point.

Jon: is too far possible?

Julene: group things that brought cohesion were part of our species' formation. To become too stuck on one's own group and too hostile to other groups is bad.

David: organized sport is religion!

Shannon: there are some similarities to religion. When I think of musical or sports events I have attended, I enjoyed the feeling of being with other people who love the same thing I do.

Julene: sharing a good feeling

David: war was experienced as sport 1500-1914. No matter who won or lost the aristocrats would tip their cups to their foes when it was over.

Shannon: it's the experience. Everything happens in a game, just like life.

John: has anyone here as a fan seen where fans become angry at someone else who is on a different side just because they support a different team? 

dick: there's soccer where people get killed in the stands or in the streets after games.

Jon: when kids graduated from my high school, awards were given out to the graduates. Some were silly some more serious. I was given the "most team spirit" award. I wasn't an athlete but was in the pep band. I can remember the feeling of complete absorption with what we were watching together. 

Shannon: as a coach, I enjoyed watching kids develop. It was fun and interesting to see how different kids are motivated by different things in their sports.

David: the Colosseum was free to all. It kept the Romans occupied, kept them from revolting. Are we using sport to keep people from looking at our problems? With that economic divide are keeping the poor out of the events? Will the poor become less distracted from what's happening to us? Rome's crime rate wasn't that bad.

Jim: it's watching tv sport with friends is almost as fun as seeing something live.

Jon: this week I read   David Brooks essay -- he did a sort of book report on a recent study showing that indeed our poorest citizens are participating much less in sport while in school.

John: is it still the case that most people watch sports on tv?

All: oh yeah.

John: would giving the poor free cable TV increase their viewership?

David: one benefit of participation is everyone can feel included by being allowed to play.

John: so should sport be free to the kids. Is there too much emphasis on the main team and not intramural? Should intramural sport be organized by the school? Should schools finance intramural?

Jim: sport needs to be selective. In Australia it was the cheap sports that could be intramural. 

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