Poetry of sports

Growing up I never questioned the value of paintings, stories, poems, or scientific studies. I even studied Latin, and at the time it seemed worthwhile enough. As far as ways of making money go, I valued the trades as much as academic jobs. My father was a carpenter, and heck, so was Jesus. From philosophy to pipe-fitting, literature to roofing, quantum mechanics to car mechanics–I got it. But what I never got was sports. Truthfully, I never got things like medicine, drug development, massage therapy, or anything with the physical body as its focus. It’s funny now, since I’ve become much more ‘integral,’ I’d say (to borrow from my tiny knowledge of the Ken Wilbur philosophy).

I think now that for a long time I must have held a Manichean view, in error, like St. Augustine did. Like many others have, I suspect, I thought of the soul, the mind, the self, the who-I-am, the what-matters, as something tethered to this world by the body. A body we are in for a reason, which we are not allowed to destroy, which is a temple… but also a cage. I feel reticent to write this because now it seems blasphemous. That is what I felt perhaps more than what I actually thought.

Anyway, after so many years, I think it is all connected in some way. I see the glory of sports, the value in so many strong emotions, in brilliant teamwork, in long hours and seasons and years of practice at physical skills. I watched the World Cup Final this morning, and it was beautiful, human, important. I feel like I “get it” so much more than I did when I was younger. Life is not lived entirely in the head, and there is nothing to admire about trying to do so. That said–I have physics to study today. Cheers.

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