Recreation and Sports
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This society’s objectification – turning people into objects -- is clearly reflected in youth athletics. Children are reduced to cogs in machines devoted to winning at any cost. The steroid controversy in professional baseball is only one symptom of a widespread epidemic of cheating in sports. Driving these trends is the enormous money that can be made from sports-as-entertainment. Shoe manufacturers even send agents to public playgrounds to make connections with promising child athletes. And the sports industry relies on passive consumption rather than active participation.
Transforming society, therefore, needs to involve the development of a new approach to sports and recreation. Children should learn valuable life lessons from sports rather than the proposition that winning is everything. We need to restore the maxim, “it’s not whether you win or lose but how you play the game that counts.” We should affirm the notion that one’s “personal best” is good enough. After-school programs, parks, and recreation centers need to be greatly expanded and improved so that young people will be able to participate in rewarding activities. We need to encourage various forms of “cooperative sports” that involve teams competing against their own previous records. We should encourage “couch potatoes” to get outdoors and experience the re-creation that can come from communing with Mother Nature. Vacations can be more than just an escape or a time to vegetate; they can be educational and enriching experiences.
The resources in this Section reflect this perspective.
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