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Here are two postings arguing for the importance and value of sport in culture. Baird and I wish we could be more eloquent on these matters, but we are stepping in on these matters only because the sports people on the net--with the exception of Prof. Findling--are all at summer camp and are not allowed to play with their laptops due to the lack of electricity in the northern woods. 1. Peter Rollins still ponders the Rooney aphorism on sports: At Oklahoma State U, we have a Cultural Geographer named John Rooney. John is a geographer of sport and has many courses in this area, studying the distribution of sports, sports talent, etc. (For example, where do the best basketball players come from? The answer is a region named by Rooney as "Illyinky" or Illinois, Indiana, and Kentucky.) Rooney is famous--in my mind--for announcing at a national PCA meeting that "sport is the best thing that man does." That's a very profound idea which needs some thought before it is discarded. There are many ways of celebrating the joys of existence and our union with nature. My arthritic hip prevents me from walking well--never mind jogging, but every jogger knows the joys of the run. For complex reasons I must not describe because I must go to church in a few moments, I particularly enjoy(ed) aerobics with music, exercise, and dance. Tennis on clay courts (only) is a joy to watch. Golf is not very interesting to me, but my son is an award-winning amateur golfer and he swears by it. We are physical beings in addition to the other things that we are and sport often celebrates that dimension of our existence with inexplicable grace and joy. OJ Simpson was so attractive because he seemed to bring this transcendent sense of fun and effortlessness into the world of work. Now that fantasy is gone, alas! 2. Robert Baird of Univ. of Illinois has these remarks on the utility of sport: Patrick Bjork notes the irony of valorizing athletes for playing games which, in the main, are taught to children for reasons of health, development, recreation, and socializtion. Many would agree with him that this disparity between valorization and intrinsic value is a bit odd when it comes to professional sports. A few concerns: every society I am aware of has likewise overvalued sport--The Greeks, the Aztec, the Iroquois, the Soviet Union (which made sport a religion). These and many others add up to a lot of rotten societies. Second, I' m not sure that most would follow the claim that professional sports have only a minimal intrinsic value. In a comparison with medicine and science, sport would obviously fail in pragmatic social value, but I'm not certain that we want to limit "intrinsic value" to our daily bread, which I've been told makes for a meager diet. When one considers only the positive health influence professional sport has in this country on youth and amateur sport one has found at least one intrinsic, pragmatic value. What, by the way, is the intrinsic value of the Olympic Games?