Christopher Lasch wrote a chapter in The Culture of Narcissism on the state of American sports. He thought that spectator sports like football and baseball served a special social/cultural function that was being undermined by two things: the tendency to turn sporting events into spectacles attracting fans with little interest in the actual sport, and the use of sporting events to promote nationalist political ideology more than appreciation for the game. He faced critics of sport who were arguing that spectator sports needed to be downplayed in favor of sporting events that involved more people at more levels of ability. Lasch’s reasons for defending a purer appreciation of professional sports is interesting–such events are an activity that should fall squarely in the realm of play, in a world in which too much of our time is managed and channeled into “safe and productive” activities, even when we are not at work. Lasch’s defense of the zone of play is an interesting takeaway from his chapter on sports in The Culture of Narcissism.
Here are the articles mentioned in this video: