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Excellence in Sports

December 1, 2010

In discussion today we discussed the topic of excellence, mainly in regard to sports. We talked about how it seems people do sports for a variety of different reason, but ultimately they do them to achieve excellence. Furthermore, we are entertained by these sports because of the excellence portrayed by the athletes playing them. However, the question that was eventually asked was, if we are entertained by excellence, and that is what we want to be achieved through sports, than why do we have different leagues in certain sports (amateur, etc.)? Why not just have one giant league in every sport if excellence is what we want to be achieved?

My answer for this is because the leagues that we have were meant for breeding excellence. These leagues have become man’s way of disciplining athletes into becoming excellent for generations now and evermore. The other thing that leagues possess is somewhat of the “anticaste” principle. All people are supposed to have the same rights to abilities at birth, and should not be viewed as incapable for whatever personal reason they may have. Technically, everyone has the right, and is given the respect to try out for a league if they so choose.

Although one could argue that having one giant league would do the same, the answer to this is that it would ruin the quality of excellence that is possessed by the current professional sport leagues that we have. If just mediocre players were playing in the MLB, I am sure that less people would be entertained by this tainted excellence. Thus, having more than just one league also weeds out those not quite capable of excellence that sport. In doing so, those individuals were proven to not be excellent. This meaning that they were given the choice to attempt excellence and they were given the respect that allowed them to do this. By them proving to themselves and everyone else that they were not capable, it eliminates the moral factor in having leagues for excellence.

7 Comments
  1. justinrostker permalink
    December 2, 2010 11:07 AM

    You bring up a good topic; however, I view this in a different way. I don’t think this is a matter of people not having the ability to excel in sports, but rather people having the ability to entertain through something they are excellent at. Sports just happen to be a very notable and well known way of people entertaining through their own personal excellence. A person doesn’t have to be excellent at sports to entertain; someone can entertain people by doing something they are experts in doing.

  2. Alexis Biaggi permalink
    December 2, 2010 12:21 PM

    I agree with many of the points you are making. In addition to these concerns however is also the common debate over whether men and women’s sports are equal in ability. Those who insist on the “superiority” of men’s sports constantly baffle me. As discussed in section, the fact of the matter is that whether you are comparing ice hockey or gymnastics, rugby or ballet, each gender has certain capabilities based on biological determining factors. Yes, it has been physically proven that men are on average stronger and taller than women, characteristics that seem to be overwhelmingly dominant in many professional sports. However, my question is if these inborn characteristics necessarily make one better. Different? Yes. Yet, I believe it would benefit our culture to expand our horizons and embrace the people who have been greatly overlooked.
    What exactly qualifies the title of excellent? I believe there are many components to excellence that are frequently forgotten. While sitting in lecture, our discussion barely discussed passion, willpower or mind strength, characteristics I believe have proven to be just as important as the physical aspects previously discussed. For example, I’m curious as to how one would classify Olympic gymnastic Nastia Liukin. Not only has she won numerous championships and medals, but also her commitment to success in my opinion is just as prominent as any male athlete. Now, for those who believe all male sports are superior to women’s, I can make the assumption that this view also pertains to Nastia. However, as just stated, her accomplishments and determination are greater than or equivalent to anyone else you could mention. Also to take into consideration is the relentless drive of disabled athletes. What puts these athletes at a lower level of excellence? In fact, it may be that these athletes have just that much more to overcome. When I think of sport moments that have left me stunned or speechless, I am more prone to remember the times when someone has finished a marathon after having a leg replaced or when someone goes on to win first place in a skating competition after having fallen repeatedly in the one before. In my opinion, focusing on gender is insignificant when there are so many more meaningful aspects to athletics of all kinds.

  3. reedmarcus permalink
    December 2, 2010 4:45 PM

    I do agree that the main incentive of playing sports is to achieve excellence. However, it is not solely the excellence that is most intriguing for up and coming athletes, it is also what comes along with being excellent. By excelling at a certain sport, if an athlete is good enough to play at the upper echelon level of talent, there is certainly a large amount of money that comes along with playing at the professional level. Even outside of sports, money drives most people towards working at their absolute top talent level. The leagues themselves must only accept and permit the top talent in the world because that’s what brings in revenue for not just the players but the leagues and the advertising for the leagues. Overall, what drives athletes the most to be their best aside from their competitive nature is being excellent because of the incentives that come with excelling.

  4. saralustberg permalink
    December 2, 2010 5:20 PM

    I agree that we are entertained by sports because of the excellence performed by the players, however, I believe the different leagues in certain sports is a good method for sports to be played at equal levels. By having different leagues, those players with certain levels of skill are able to play with those similar to them, making for more entertaining sports. No one wants to watch a sports game where one team that is extremely skilled, significantly beats the other team who plays t a much lower level than the other team. I agree when the creator of this post says, “everyone has the right, and is given the respect to try out for a league if they so choose,” and this ability makes it fair and the ranks players in each different league based on skill.

  5. jmrusso permalink
    December 2, 2010 6:13 PM

    I agree with this post, the level of play that is displayed by pro athletes is extremely entertaining. There are different “leagues” for many reasons. The most prominent to me is that if there were not, the sports would be un-appealing to the masses. Imagine one league of a sport, professionals would be playing little-league players. In what way would it be entertaining to watch a bunch of grown men beat up on kids who are obviously not on the same level as them? The separate leagues let athletes grow and excel in the league so that they can become ready for a new challenge. People may not have similar athletic therefore they are sorted by we the people who have the mindset to determine who is excellent and who is not quite on the same level.

  6. Lorna Malja permalink
    December 2, 2010 7:03 PM

    Very interesting topic! I definitely agree with numerous of the points you make throughout the blog, and i do believe that the major point of sports, especially pro-sports, is to attain a certain level of excellence. Being super excellent at something is amazing. The person feels amazing and the people watching this athlete is having an amazing time. Having a certain talent to entertain others is definitely a plus, and it can earn a certain individual a lot of money. So they have another incentive to get even better, because they will eventually get paid a lot more. All pro-sports are definitely like this. If you are better than other players and entertain the audience more, then you will get paid better. Also, having a separate division in sports i feel is very good also, because the level of intensity is alot different. For amateur players, they have to practice and work even harder to try and get into the pro-sports world. It is a challange, but achieving it will eventually give them the ability to become excellent in their sport. This is the main goal in pro-sports and it’s very important because there are so many benefits one has when they achieve excellence in their sport.

  7. jbrasspolsci permalink
    December 6, 2010 12:31 AM

    First off, I feel the type of sports you are talking about should be distinguished right off the bat. When you say essentially that ultimately the only reason people play sports is to achieve excellence, I disagree. People play sports for the love of the game – and its about the feeling of satisfaction people get when playing that gives reason to follow the sport, not about trying to achieve excellence. Also, the fact “we are entertained by these sports because of the excellence portrayed by the athletes playing them,” is half true. Because, we are also entertained by the sports played by our kids, or twelve-year-old sisters, and my sister’s basketball game full of twelve year olds is not played to perfection.
    In professional terms of sports, the leagues prior to a major league are definitely what prepare each athlete for the higher competition. Leading into my next point, even though everyone has the right to try out for a league, their talent or dedication will only determine how far they make it. For the ones that do not make it, a definite shame, but acceptable because those who do not deserve to play with the best have not put in the time to move on to those who achieve excellence and give it their all.

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