Sport, Education, And The Meaning Of Victory

3385 words - 14 pages

Sport, Education, and the Meaning of Victory

Sport was included in ancient educational systems because it was thought to promote aretê or human excellence which could be applied to almost any endeavor in life. The goal of most modern scholastic athletic programs might be better summed up in a word: winning. Is this a sign that we have lost touch with the age-old rationale for including sport in education? I argue that it need not be by showing that we value winning precisely for the virtues associated with it. I then take Plato's traditional parts of aretê: piety, sophrosunê, courage and justice and show how they are manifest in modern athletic ideals of self-knowledge, discipline, courage and justice. To the extent that scholastic athletic programs develop these virtues, I conclude, their pursuit of winning is not at odds with the institutional mission of educating students. If an athletic program's pursuit of victory allows such character-building to fall by the wayside, however, it deserves no place in our high schools, colleges or universities.

As in the world of the Ancient Greeks, sport plays an important role in the educational institutions of 20th century America. The reasoning for this in ancient times, as now, is a belief that sport helps to make better people — that it promotes excellence (what the Greeks called aretê) in individuals, excellence which can be applied to almost any endeavor in life. That said, it must be acknowledged that most athletes, coaches, and school administrations identify the goal of their athletic programs in one word: winning. Is this a sign that we've lost touch with the age-old rationale for including sport in education? Is the philosophy that "winning is everything," or "the only thing," (1) or maybe the Platonic ideal of the Good as manifested in sport at odds with the fundamental objectives of education? The best way to tell is to ask a simple yet crucial question in the style of Socrates: What is Winning?

One reason this question is seldom asked may be that, on the face of it, the answer is absurdly obvious. Sports, after all, are essentially sets of rules constructed by human beings, and winning is clearly defined within each of these sets of rules. Analytically, a winner is simply the athlete or team who accumulates the most points, crosses the finish line first, jumps the highest, throws the farthest, or whatever superlative the sport designates. The definition of winning in sport is clear and quantitatively measurable — unlike "winning" in other areas of life, such as love or happiness, where success is not so easily measured. Perhaps this precision is one of the reasons we value an athletic victor so much, but certainly there is more to it. Ben Johnson crossed the finish line first in the 100 meter dash at the Seoul Olympics in 1988, but few consider him the winner of the race. Even victors who win "fair and square" sometimes see the "moral victory" and the lion's share of admiration...

Find Another Essay On Sport, Education, and the Meaning of Victory

Sport Education and Deliverance in Brazil

2568 words - 10 pages Education in sport Brazil sports teams are very successful due to the fact that they have some of the best coaches in the world. But the federations/institutions do not just hire anyone to coach, they want the best and require certain levels of education, licenses, and trainings; which adhere to the guidelines set forth by the Ministry of Education. Becoming a coach of a sports team in Brazil has many requirements, but most importantly ever

Meaning Mishaps and the True Meaning of Art

1113 words - 4 pages Have you ever been confused about the purpose or meaning behind a certain piece of art? In my opinion, art is viewed many different ways. The artist will create a piece of art with a certain intended meaning, but it will most likely not be viewed in that way. When a spectator views a piece of art, they take into account their past experiences, and since everyone has gone through different things, their interpretations are different, as you can

Sport and the Media

1453 words - 6 pages Sport and the Media The growth of television as a significant cultural form during the 1960s put the relationship between sport and the media on the public agenda. In late 1969, the US magazine Sports Illustrated drew attention to the ways in which television was transforming sport. In effect, sport in the television age was a 'whole new game'. The growing economic and cultural significance of television for sport

The sport of Paintball

2525 words - 10 pages The Sport of Paintball There you are. You’re hiding behind a hastily constructed bunker made to protect yourself from enemy fire. You can hear the enemy firing on your position, and you can feel the shots screaming above your head. The firing ceases for a moment. You pop out, fire off a few rounds, and duck back in; but as you are going back in the shots start up again, and you feel the rounds whizzing past your head and ear. One catches your

The Sport of Golf

3977 words - 16 pages ball. Governing Bodies The organizations that establish golf rules for the world are the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews and the United States Golf Association (USGA), founded in 1894. Before 1913, golf in America was played chiefly by people of wealth. In 1913, however, after the American former caddie Francis Ouimet won a victory over two outstanding British professionals in the US open championship tournament (open to amateurs

The Sport of Soccer

1477 words - 6 pages made an Olympic event. Since 1952, Hungary has won the most gold medals with three. Even today, although it is an international game, it has been slow to gain popularity as an intercollegiate sport in this country. It is however, gaining popularity and is being included in physical education programs in many schools. Also, many local communities have started youth soccer leagues for children of all ages. The game of soccer, or association

The Sport of Paintball

1447 words - 6 pages The Sport of Paintball Whether you playing in a tournament or as a hobby, paintballing is a very fun sport. It is growing and becoming more popular every year. There are professional paintball teams that play in a forest for an entire day. Another way is playing indoors in a large room scattered with barricades. There are many different ways to paintball, this is the best way for beginners Before you shoot your first paintball you

The Meaning of The Mind and Soul

1059 words - 4 pages Death and immortality Since the times of Plato and before, humans have pondered the existence of a soul and the afterlife. I am going to present my argument for the existence of a soul and the potential for surviving one's physical death. For the purpose of my argument I will define that the meaning of the mind and soul are one and the same. The two main accepted views of the human condition are that of the physicalist and that of the dualist

Philosophical Works and The Meaning of Reality

1402 words - 6 pages Philosophical Works and The Meaning of Reality I would put the texts in the following order: William James - Some Problems of Philosophy Rene Descartes - Meditations on First Philosophy Non-Cartesian Soums Luckmann & Berger -- The Social Construction of Reality George Orwell -- 1984 Hannah Arendt -- Eichmann in Jerusalem Lem -- The Futurological Congress Ong -- Orality & Literacy Jean-Paul Sartre -- Nausea Abram -- The

Meaning, Understanding, and the Politics of Interpretation

2599 words - 10 pages Meaning, Understanding, and the Politics of Interpretation ABSTRACT: In his essay "The Politics of Interpretation: Spinoza's Modernist Turn," Berel Lang attributes to Spinoza the view that interpretation presupposes or implies a political framework-in effect, that interpretation is itself a politics. The thrust of Spinoza's argument is against "interpretation from authority," i.e., against the view that the meaning of a text can be

The Meaning of Life and Social Discourses

1512 words - 6 pages In Robert Lowell’s confessional poetry Life Studies (1962), Drusilla Modjeska’s memoir The Orchard (1994), Arthur Bochner’s personal narrative It’s About Time (1997) and Felicia Sullivan’s memoir The Sky isn’t Visible from Here (2008), the truth and meaning of a life is understood to be a product of social discourses. This means they are mediated between language, supplementations outside the life represented, and spectres of past, present and

Similar Essays

The Benefits Of Sport Education Essay

1046 words - 4 pages recreates the meaning behind gym class. Sport Education is physical activity that is governed by a set of rules or customs. It usually makes the kids want to be competitive with one another and it teaches them the importance of a winner and loser. This type of teaching method helps students learn how to play sports and gets them involved. The earlier you start using this method, the earlier the children learn the basic functions and skills

Wilderness Sport And Adventure Education Essay

1332 words - 5 pages Physical Education teachers today use all types of teaching models in order to provide the best service to their students. One specific example of a teaching model is Wilderness Sport/Adventure Education. The purpose of this essay will be to describe the development of Adventure Education and Wilderness Sport in today’s Physical Education classrooms, and to fully explain the teaching model to those who are unfamiliar with it

The Cost Of Victory Essay

2321 words - 10 pages barely touched the corners of his lips, but for the first time in a long, long time, it was genuine. It was real. ‘For what it’s worth,’ said Jounouchi, ‘it really was nice working with you.’ He held out his hand and Kaito took it, shaking it firmly; after this, there would no longer be time for talk until the war was over and their battles had been won. And, there would no longer be time to talk, ever again, if victory wasn’t theirs. Kaito sat

The Importance Of Sport And Exercise Psychology

992 words - 4 pages Sport and exercise psychology is a mandatory aspect of the sport science discipline. This discipline contributes to the various professional practices associated with physical activities such as - teaching of physical education, recreation and health promotion, and kinesiology related professions - because it plays a mental role for the participants. Sport and exercise psychologists view physical activity in several different ways: physical