Sports in Popular Culture

From warring tribes to states, humans have always been placed in a situation where we are forced to compete. Sports have been increasingly organized and regulated from the time of the ancient Olympics up to the present century. Industrialization has brought increased leisure time to the citizens of developed and developing countries, leading to more time for citizens to attend and follow spectator sports, greater participation in athletic activities, and increased accessibility. The creation of sports activities is merely a means of allowing individuals to externalize their need for competition. This paper focuses on the competition, the social impact, and the economic value that sports have on society. Competition is at the very core of humanity. This is visible at various levels of the individual life style. Capitalism as an economic structure identifies the fact that resources are finite, and individuals must compete to accumulate as much as possible. While history has shown that other ideas on how the economy should function exist, the market place of ideas crowned capitalism the king. Beyond the economic infrastructure is the educational system. Students strive to be at the top of their class which is indicative of how competition penetrated the educational system. Competition seems to creative an incentive to become perfect. In terms of sports, individuals who compete on sports teams strive to perfect their skills in attempts to be the league leaders. Fans recognize this and rally behind individuals and teams that perform close to perfection. Fans seem to disassociate their identities from their normative lives and self identify with the team that they represent. Whether because of their hometown loyalty or because of a player, fans involve themselves in the competition and immediate choose sides. The ability to exercise choice within the sports community allows individuals to capitalize on their innate compulsion for competition. At the heart of the competition between fans is the loyalty to a certain team. This makes the competitive nature more volatile. This is due to the fact that some teams are better than others and fans continue to jump bandwagons. While each individual possesses the innate compulsion to compete, they have an even harder drive to be a winner. In fact, this lies at the heart of the competitive spirit. Success has been psychologically attached to winning. The more successful a team, the better their fans feel. Individuals tend to make emotional investments into sporting events, whereby the outcome typically draws an emotional reaction from the fan. Beyond the competitive nature of sporting events lies the social component. While some individuals feel the obsessive need to be competitive, others attend events and watch games because it involves a social component. When attending stadium events with tens of thousands of other individuals in attendance it makes the actual experience more involved for the individuals. These events typically involve drinking and cheering which makes a great time for the fans. As Jean Jacques Rousseau explains, man is a social animal. This means that individuals are inclined to involve themselves in activities that allow them to socialize with their peers. This means that sporting events provide the perfect context. While this does position individuals to collaborate with their peers in cheering for the team of their choice, this does not always turn out to be so