The latest Myth of the 20th Century podcast concerning sports as ritual and its relation to the character of a given civilization.
Sports are a multi-billion industry, commanding their own television networks, smart apps, clothing line endorsements, and even their own dedicated majors in universities. But what is largely a spectator pastime for most today, sports in the past were much more local community activities that one might take part in as an informal gathering, or going back to more ancient times, as part of a tribalistic ritual based on their ultimate origins in warfare, hand to hand combat, and hunting. The very term ‘athlete’ has taken on very materialistic meaning in the age of multi-million dollar player contracts, whereas it has roots in the Hellenic word prize-seeker, awarded only to those whose acts of courage, bravery and heroism credit them with honor. How much a society has advanced, and in many ways declined, can be traced to what degree sports are regarded as heroic to that of merely spectacle.
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