Fun is For the Non-Competitive

I believe that as competitiveness, passed high school, increases then sports become much more serious because there is a lot more at stake for everyone involved.  High school football in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is, what I consider serious as far as high school sports go.  My school was considered a football school and took great pride in having a quality football team.  It was always fun because everyone was out there at practice, regardless of what your skill level was, just having fun with all your friends on the team.  We had a very successful team my three years I lived in Pittsburgh in which we only lost one game.  The competition that we played did not match ours, we just had more talent than most of the teams we played.  That is why I believe High School football was so much fun, because there was not that much competition therefore everybody on my team could just cut it loose and have a great time.

North Allegheny Tigers 2013 State Champions my senior year

North Allegheny Tigers 2013 State Champions my senior year

I thought college would be very similar to my high school experience, everyone having fun enjoying the game we all loved.  As I entered into my first training camp I quickly realized that that was not the case.  College football is a lot more serious because there is competition everywhere.  If you are not performing, there will be somebody who is better then you that will take your job.  That is coaches and players alike.  This is why in the reading, The Dynamics of Modern Sport by Eric Dunning, he is correct in saying as the competitiveness increases in sports so does the seriousness.  However I do not believe that he is entirely correct when saying that there is no fun when it is extremely competitive.

University of Michigan Football

University of Michigan Football

College sports are extremely stressful and time consuming which is why you have to have a true passion for the game.  If you have that passion then you will always find enjoyment in playing football.  I believe that the stress increases as the competitiveness increases because there is a lot more at stake.  For example once you become a professional football player you either succeed or you fail.  Your football career is your life and your source of income.  Therefore it is extremely stressful and competitive in order to be a professional football player making the game difficult to be fun.

Pittsburgh Steelers offensive line

Pittsburgh Steelers offensive line

The only thing that I would argue against Dunning is that I do not believe that the NFL is all serious and no fun.  During the season it is extremely stressful; however the season only lasts about four months out of the year.  What do NFL players do the other 8 months out of the year?  the majority of players will work out extremely hard in order to get in the best possible shape for the next season; however with 8 months of limited time they are allowed to be with their team it leaves a lot of time in order to enjoy themselves.  With the minimum veteran salary being $950,000 dollars, NFL players have money to go have fun.

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One comment

  1. allanmc2014 · November 26, 2014

    There is a great introduction to the issue you are blogging about here. I love the personal touch about your experiences playing football in high school. My high school, on the other hand, sucked at football. We poured so much money into the program only to get disappointing results (last season we only won 1 game). It got to a point that each game wasn’t competitive at all, we were just there for the FUN. Just like your high school football team

    Dunning’s point that as competitiveness increases, fun decreases is correct to a certain extent. You bring up an important point about the National Football League that proves that Dunning’s point exists to a certain extent. They are under constant scrutiny during the season to perform at their best by their coaches, trainers, and fans. The stress level is monumental and the level of fun obviously is very low. The NFL is by far the MOST competitive football league in America, so by Dunning’s logic, there will be little to no fun involved.

    Incorrect, as you mention. Have you seen the life that icons like Tom Brady and Manning live? That is the definition of FUN!

    I never realized this perspective about Dunning’s logic until now. Generally, he is right with his logic. But there are always exceptions, you can have fun with whatever it may be as long as you are passionate.

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