Sunday, October 15, 2006

The Game and Society

I just noticed some guys outside playing American football (being a typical overcast autumn day, this isn't surprising). Calling the ball a "pigksin" reminds me of our formerly ubiquitous nomadic lifestyle. I wouldn't be surprised if the appeal of many sports is due to the role each player takes in relation to the ball — becoming a chaser, defending it from others, etc. — and the similarity this role bears to the original game hunt. If evolutionary theory is on track, then games like football are the highest fulfillment of our deepest instincts (at least in industrialized societies).

It's also interesting to note the place of the hunt in art. It was of primary importance to the first artists, but slowly fell by the way-side as societies were established — making way for themes relating humans to each other and the gods. You could say all these things make sports photographers the modern day equivalent of cave painters, but the cave paintings are much more of an abstract art than documentary.

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