Do highly competitive sports promote a competitive society?


I don’t follow any of the usual team sports really. My passion is kayaking. I would be competitive enough in that. I think we are competitive by nature and sports merely allow an outlet for that that is both fun and relatively safe.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being competitive.

I also think that most men need a competitive outlet as it is a stronger thing in men in general.


Society is and always has been competitive in general. If competition doesn’t motivate you, there are actually more cooperative models for jobs and flat corporate structures available now than there have been in the past.

Also, most mature people can watch a ball game for fun without turning into Vince Lombardi about their life.

The only place I find competition a bit disturbing is at the high school and possibly early college level. Young people have not yet absorbed that their identity is not defined by, or the same thing as, their achievements gradewise, sportswise, college-admissions-wise, popularity-wise etc. While some thrive on it, others turn into the kind of people who judge everyone in terms of achievements (which school you graduate from, how much money do you make etc) and commit suicide when they have to face a serious “failure” in their life, like being let go from a job.


I won’t lay the blame on sports as athletic activities. If there’s blame to be laid it probably should go on infotainment media, marketing, and corporations. For several years I eschewed football and favored soccer. And then, having watched soccer for a while and with only a neophyte’s understanding of the game, I revisited football and had a realization: Football can be a beautiful game, too, at its core.

Take away the frills and frivolities of NFL broadcasting the “product,” and you have a sport that can have meaning and purity (in a sports’ sense).

But that’s all perhaps beside the point.


If I may ask, why is competition inherently bad? It seems good to me, being the mother of innovation and creativity.


I agree, competition drives innovation and thus all the benefits we made since leaving the cave!


It was much more a draining of the poor but motivated, the spiritual but oppressed, or those with charges against them. Same in Australia.


All I was trying to accomplish in having created this thread was to weed out the potential positive and negative effects of highly competitive sports. Yes, highly competitive sports probably does lead to a more competitive society that in turn leads to a higher production of innovations, but a highly competitive society probably also has its negative effects like producing more aggression, stress, depression, and anxiety in the population as a whole. I analyzed a survey from the UCLA School of Law, which is highly competitive, and found that students were experiencing an exceptionally high rate of depression.


I think so, too. I have competed in various sports for most of my 61 years and am happy that I have. I have supported my children in doing the same. I’m all for competition and being your best. I abjure the snowflakes attitude of trophies for everyone. Achievement should be rewarded.

If snowflakes had their way, Hillary would have gotten a participation award.


It would help if you clearly defined your goal posts - what do you consider “highly competitive” and what isn’t?

I think most sports are highly competitive but only some are highly violent.

  • Boxing and MMA are both competitive and violent.
  • Amer Football is in the middle, dangerous but most players walk off the field
  • Baseball is very competitive, but injuries more of an accident

Did you mean highly violent?

I think fans support the baseball team with the same vigour as their football team.


I play racquetball. It’s very competitive for me and my friends. We love to trash talk each other and get in each other’s faces when we play. It’s innocent, invigorating and part of the fun. If we didn’t have bragging rights, it would take from the whole idea of competition and always being your best.

One of the things I didn’t like about football was when they stopped allowing end-zone celebrations. If it were up to me, not only would I encourage end-zone celebrations, but I would give extra points for extra good celebrations. It’s part of the fun. But it’s obviously not for me to decide . . . sigh


They walk off the field but they can’t function by 40 because of brain injuries. I’d put American football right up there with MMA. Sure, the players “walk” off the field, but they are vegitables a decade later.


I agree with you but think that’s a different point, on the risk of playing a sport.

For a spectator the violence must be during the competition. The fans love a good hit but they don’t really want to see permanent injury. Hockey fans do seem to love a bench clearing brawl though. Rugby is probably harder on players than football, except for the brain damage.


The fights in hockey are spectacular but the head trauma is nowhere NEAR the NFL’s. Nor is Rugby’s.

The problem I have with the NFL is that they currently and systematically suppress research regarding head trauma and have fought against ensuring players (and the public) know what’s going on.


I’m glad football seems to be losing it’s appeal. I don’t like the brain injury nor how it has overwhelmed getting an education, if you are a star. Though I find it a bit boring to watch, soccer is a much healthier sport for kids to pick up. The equipment is way cheaper and it’s accessible to both genders, of all body makes.


The sports that most affect the moods and affect (especially feelings of aggressiveness and arrogant pride) of the spectators. I would include professional baseball, football at all levels, boxing, basketball, hockey, and soccer as highly competitive. Golf and bowling would be low in competitiveness.



Golf and bowling are low at physical contact, but if you think they are low on competitiveness, you are quite mistaken.

Golf is extremely competitive. However, it is mired in a culture where one is not to have emotional outbursts of joy at winning. This is why the triumphant Tiger Woods pictures are often shown over and over.

As far as bowling? You couldn’t be more wrong.

Go down to a bowling alley on Saturday when the leagues are there or they are playing singles tournaments. I promise you, you’re not going to see any lack of competition—probably more so than sports which rely on a team that can be traded out.


I could easily be mistaken here, but I would suspect golf and bowling to produce milder feelings of aggressiveness and arrogant pride than, say, football in the spectators.


put two horse riders on the same path and you will have a horse race. Doesn’t matter what century or what culture. Nothing wrong with competiveness if properly channeled and the ideals of good sportsmanship employed.



People are going to latch on to what motivates them.

There was someone killed because of golf recently—I can’t find the story, but it had something to do with some sort of equipment or shoes or something really stupid.

I think that bowling and golf draw different crowds, but they are going to be no less passionate than any crowd.

People latch onto what interests them. Football appeals to more people because it is a sport of the young and virile. The male viewers want to be the strong young guy, and the female viewers want to look at them.

And really, people just use these kinds of things as excuses for bad behavior. If it wasn’t football it would be something. They are just looking for an outlet for feelings they already have, not conjuring new ones.


there’s a huge difference between competing for resources and competing for a trophy

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