Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Beneficial Yet Harmful Impact of Sports On The Black Community

Beneath the Spin * Eric L. Wattree

The Beneficial Yet Harmful Impact of Sports On The Black Community
I’ve been debating the pros and cons of the impact of sports on the Black community with my good friend, historian, and political commentator, Playthell Benjamin for several years now. Playthell is a huge sports fan and is of the belief that sports have been invaluable in their impact on helping to move the Black community forward. I, on the other hand, see sports as a two-sided coin. While sports have undoubtedly been of great value in helping many young Black people to build character, obtain an education, and financially prosper, in terms of the overall Black community these people represent a limited few. For the greater part of the Black community, however, the lure of sports often serves as a distraction that prevents many from investing in their intellectual development and pursuing more realistic goals.
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I view sports much like I do morphine. In small doses it can be of great medicinal value against pain, but if you overdo it, it can destroy your life, and it seems to me that many in the Black community are about to overdose from a lack of substance as a result of its abuse, both literally, and figuratively.
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So I’m not against sports, per se, but I do think that sports should be kept in perspective. It’s perfectly natural for kids to want to indulge in games, but while they are indulging in these games it’s very important that the adults in their lives constantly remind them that sports represent the "Toy Department" of life, and that there are many other things in life that are much more important. But due to our mass societal fixation on sports, and the virtual "worship" of sports figures, they’re rarely getting this instruction. As a direct result, we’ve become a society of easily manipulated, undereducated, and totally distracted sports junkies. 
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Many in this country can tell you the starting lineup and various statistics of every football team in the country, but they can’t tell you who their congressperson is, how they voted, or what they voted on. That’s not good, and it’s having a negative impact on not only the Black community, but the nation as a whole.
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What many people fail to realize is how profoundly their thinking can be shaped by social manipulators through the use of sports and other forms of public "entertainment." The passion engendered through sports allows social manipulators to circumvent an individual’s cerebral cortex, or intellect, and exploit a direct line to the fan’s brain stem, or the most animalistic and condition-receptive part of their brain. That allows manipulators to condition an individual’s thinking and attitudes without the individual even recognizing it.
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Thus, it’s no accident that some of the most rabid sports fans are found in the most bigoted parts of this country, and neither is it an accident that Black people were discriminated against in sports until quite recently, and they still haven't been fully accepted. It's only been a relatively short time since Black players were accepted as having the intellectual agility to be a quarterback. There was a huge controversy over the issue, as though it takes an intellectual giant to throw a ball. The actual problem was ignorant, backward, and "tribal-like" thinking (when Rush Limbaugh entered the controversy that said it all). Black people were - and still are, in many cases - considered a part of the "wrong team," or tribe. 
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You see, sports appeal to, stimulate, and feed upon the very worst characteristics in human nature, or what’s referred to as the "Seven Deadly Sins" - wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony. "Each is a form of Idolatry-of-Self wherein the subjective reigns over the objective." The very point of sports is to prove that "I’m better than you." Sports also promotes the "Us against them" mentality that’s at the very root of every form of bigotry - racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, etc.
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Sports are based completely on man’s need to be competitive, and competition has been so deeply ingrained in our societal psyche that many Americans can’t even imagine life without it. Yet, man’s animalistic need to be competitive is the most thoughtlessly malevolent characteristic in man. It’s not a part of man’s higher intellectual development. The need to be competitive is an animalistic brain STEM behavior that’s a throwback to our instinct to be territorial as apes before we gained the capacity for higher intellectual cognition. Thus, it’s not based on anything constructive. It’s based purely on greed, self-centered idolatry, and swag, and it’s serving to kill us off as a species. It’s directly responsible for ALL of the wars in the history of humanity, crime, bigotry, bligotry (Black-on-Black bigotry), and even global warming. In short, it’s complete insanity.
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But most Americans have blindly accepted the proposition that it’s our "competitive spirit" that makes this nation great. But what evidence do we have of that? How do we know that we wouldn’t have been even greater if we’d embraced a philosophy of enlightenment and the pursuit of excellence with the same amount of zeal as we’ve pursued the need to say, "I’m better than you?"  And why must our national motive be to be "the greatest nation on Earth?" We'd UNDOUBTEDLY be much greater if we’d resolved to compete against who we WERE to become the greatest nation that we can BE. How many minds do we have locked up in the nation’s prison systems who may have the unique intellect to solve the world’s problems? Is it possible that due to this nation’s "us against them" mentality that they might have lynched the very person who might have found a cure for cancer?  
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So personally, I believe that our overzealous need to be competitive is both childish, dysfunctional, and less than efficient in moving the nation, or humanity, forward. It would be interesting to see the results of an experiment where they took two footballs teams and trained one in the traditional way, and trained each member of the other team to focus on nothing but improving on their last best effort. They should be trained to forget all about "beating" the opposing team, and simply focus on beating their last best performance. If a given player’s last best effort was gaining 30 yards, he should be exclusively focused on gaining 31 yards in the current game. In such a match-up, I'm virtually certain that the latter team would prevail if all other things are equal.
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Now, if you’re a lifelong sports fan, you’re probably reading this and saying, "That’s ridiculous." But it’s not surprising that you feel that way, because your conditioning is so ingrained, and so deeply seated at this point that you can’t even recognize the dysfunction in something that you've embraced and loved all of your life. It's like a religion, or someone raised to believe in Voodoo - sticking pins in dolls seems like a perfectly natural way of life to them. So let me give you an example of how the system works, and how you're being manipulated.
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When a fan goes to a football game, what a fan THINKS he sees are two teams on a football field with the coaches and their staff on the sideline. But what the fan’s subconscious and emotions see are two armies on the battlefield preparing to go into combat, with two generals on the sidelines. And that’s not by accident, because the spectacle is DESIGNED to psychologically condition every male in the stadium to be willing to go into combat and sacrifice his life in a blaze of illustrious glory for "The Gipper" - or The Standard Oil Company. The very same is true of the "All-American" pastime of baseball and other sports.
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Social manipulators also use sports to condition unsuspecting Americans to believe that thinking is for wimps - and this has a particularly negative impact on the Black community. Have you ever noticed how they portray college football "heroes" in the movies? They always show them standing next to their shiny new pimped-out cars, wearing their letterman’s "uniform," and with adoring girls hanging all over ‘em. Then they’ll invariably contrast them with their portrayal of the "intellectual wimp" - or the guy who’s ultimately going to end up the school’s valedictorian and most prepared to solve the world's problem - as a nerd. Again, they invariably portray the school’s intellectual as a small little guy wearing oversized horn-rimmed glasses, walking all bent over with a arm full of books, and with his sweater buttoned improperly, or Steve Urkel, as it were.  That sends an unmistakable message to young boys - thinking’s not cool; if you want to get the women and the best things in life, you should aspire to be a dumb and clueless gladiator who’s willing to give your all on command. That serves two purposes - first, it keeps America clueless and ignorant; and secondly, it keeps the military recruiter’s office full.
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In contrast, look at these young people at George Mason University come together to combine their personal growth, skill and knowledge - a knowledge that they'll possess and be able to call upon for the rest of their lives - to produce excellence.  Then once you've seen it, take a moment to ask yourself the following questions: Who do you think is getting the most funding, this fine band, or the football team? Who do you think is making the big bucks, this obviously talented music professor, or the football coach? And finally, who do you think is contributing more to the intellectual development of the students, the professor, or the coach? Those are questions that our entire society should be pondering.
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Ironically, the tune that the band is playing is called  "Rage Against The Machine."
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Thus, sports are DESIGNED to appeal to the emotions and a man’s most basic, animalistic, and infantile need - the need to be macho, and the need to prove it by showing that he’s better than other men. That’s fine when you’re a kid, because a kid needs to test his or her resolve, and to learn what it’s like to hone new skills, face challenges, and overcome disappointment. So there’s nothing wrong with sports for a kid, as long as they’re being instructed against allowing themselves to be brainwashed, and they are taught that participating in sports is just a MEANS to an end, and not an end in itself. They should also be helped to understand that participating in sports is not about "beating" the other guy; it’s about testing their own limits.  It's merely a dress rehearsal to prepare them to face the REAL challenges of manhood, like raising a family.

Thus, young Black people need to be taught very early in life that the only mature and constructive form of competition is to compete against the person they were the day before. If they learn that lesson well, they’ll spend their lives investing in THEMSELVES, and becoming their own heroes, instead of wasting their lives trying to live vicariously through the meaningless exploits of some guy on a football field.  If that's what a person's life is about, by definition, they don't have one.
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But I agree with my good friend, Playthell, in one sense - sports can be a very valuable asset to the Black community, but only if we teach Black youth to keep that "one for the Gipper" nonsense in perspective. If we manage to do that, sports can provide the Black community with a great opportunity. We are currently living in a political environment where powerful interests have a vested interest in dumming-down the American people, and one of the Black community’s most valid complaints is that Black people are not afforded the opportunity to "play on a level playing field." Thus, if while the powers that be are hard at work dumming-down the rest of America - and they're using sports among other things to do exactly that - if Black people begin to focus on education, intellectual development, and the power of knowledge, the impact of sports on the rest of America can help us to level the playing field to our advantage.
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So the point is, we can’t out-scream the system, because it controls the media, and we can’t out-fight the system, because it controls the military, but we can out-think the system, and that’s exactly what we should focus on doing, not playing frivolous games in the mere pursuit of some kind of meaningless personal "glory(?)." So yes, we should take advantage of the opportunities that sports represent, but while doing so, we should never lose sight of what they actually are - GAMES.  So in this case, instead of keeping our eye on the "ball," we should make it a point to keep our eye on the big picture.
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So a good analogy of my position is this - if a Black person goes to the race track, it's past time for us to start focusing on being the person betting, not the horse.
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Eric L. Wattree
http://wattree.blogspot.com/
Ewattree@Gmail.com
Citizens Against Reckless Middle-Class Abuse (CARMA)
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Religious bigotry: It's not that I hate everyone who doesn't look, think, and act like me - it's just that God does.

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