I find it kind of weird that we seem to be able to have long, ongoing conversations about topics related to sports without acknowledging that sports are very important to the American people as a whole, and that we respect athletes, especially scholar-athletes, in the abstract, if not every particular.
For example, lots of people seem confused about why this particular racial slur brought down Imus, while previous ones haven't. Perhaps it is because he insulted athletes? To wit, rappers may call women "ho's," but do they call basketball players "ho's?"
This also bugs the crap out of me in all the discourse around games in education. Sports have a huge role in traditional American schools going back over 100 years, with a long ideological story. The difference between a "sport" and a "game" is not so great. Isn't video gaming treated as a sport in South Korea, for example? Should Spore be as important as football and basketball in an American school? Why or why not? This is a serious question.
I think the biggest difference (between game and sport) is not in the participant's action, but in the audience's perception.
Sport will always be more popular (I wouldn't use the word "important") simply because the audience gets to see the human mind and body in action where as in a game, typically you only see the mind. I don't know anything about "Spore" but I assume one could theoretically hook up to a network and "watch" a bunch of people compete/play the game. Just like I can watch two chess champions play a game through an updated board yet never actually see their face or body.
It's not that one is less or more important than the other. To me, the difference in expression by the participants often sets games apart from sport. Should games be a part of education? Of course. Should they be considered as just as "important"? Of course. But don't expect them to be worshipped like sport.
And just to be sure, game is not exclusive of body nor is sport exclusive of mind. In that sense I agree that the "difference between a 'sport' and a 'game' is not so great".
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