Friday, November 7, 2008
I am constantly on the vigil to find explanations, opinions or comments as to why we are drawn so magnetically towards sport, competition and, in this, case, triathlon. From the very sub-title of this blog "the ten thousand things", you might get the idea that Zen has something to do with it. Or not. I am comfortable with that. Just another chance to test your awareness, grasshopper. A scrumptious slice of the zen pie then, quoted from the above, for your consideration and sensory delights:
The religious nature of sport is the subject of Michael Novak’s The Joy of Sports http://www.michaelnovak.net/Default.aspx. Novak argues, eloquently and persuasively, that in American society sport is a kind of "natural religion." "I am saying," he writes, "that sports flow outward into action from a deep natural impulse that is radically religious: an impulse of freedom, respect for ritual limits, a zest for symbolic meaning, and a longing for perfection. I don't mean that participation in sports, as athlete or fan, makes one a believer in 'God,' under whatever concept, image, or experience one attaches the name. Rather, sports drive one in some dark and generic sense 'godward.'"
Sports satisfy our deep hunger to connect with a realm of mythic meaning, to see the transpersonal forces that work within and upon human nature enacted in dramatic form, and to experience the social cohesion that these forms make possible. Whether or not we so name them, these are religious functions. But our society so thoroughly secularizes sport that we can barely recognize, let alone express, what it makes us feel. Sport is, in Novak's words, "a faith without explanation."