Sports – A Brief History

Craven asked me to write a guest spot for his blog, and so I figured I’d do my best to explain the origin of sports through the lens of His Story. That’s Christian talk for history.

I’ve often been accused of knowing nothing about sports, and I resent that, because I know dozens of things about sports. Drew Brees, Brett Favre, Smokey Robinson, these are all athletes. Well, two athletes and a musician, but Smokey sounds like more of a baseball name than Jackie to me. 

I think I’ve proven myself, and so I present to you: Sports – A Brief History. Thank you, thank you. 

Jazz archery never really caught on.

For as long as there have been men, there have been balls– and guys kicking them around. Sports. I’m talking about sports.

The sports of the primitives were such classics as hunting mastodons, building civilization, and impregnating women. If you weren’t good at these things, you didn’t get traded to a lesser team, you didn’t lose your contract; you didn’t end up marrying a Kardashian– you died. Life was a lot more in your face like that about things back then.

Eventually society was established (something people widely regard as the biggest mistake ever) and as it “evolved” the warrior instincts of man were largely unneeded except in times of war and crisis. The Roman’s had a great solution for the lack of opportunity for the male’s primal desire to prove dominance to be satiated: the gladiatorial games.

The gladiatorial games took aspects of primitive sports (killing, survival, bleeding) and combined them with the more modern Roman ideas of entertainment, mainly: large crowds, thumb signals, and massive orgies. It was here, in Rome, that the bloody birth of modern day sports took place.

Hey, let’s agree to never talk about “bloody births” again, cool? Cool.

Gladiators were pitted against each other, animals, and Christians. No, wait, they just fed Christians to lions. Things really haven’t changed all that much in the entertainment industry now that I think about it. Anyway. Gladiators became celebrities in Rome, as long as– you know, they were still alive. They became the lovers of Caesar’s sister, but Cesar loved his own sister, and that complicated things. Then the gladiator is floating through a field… I don’t know. Just watch the movie.

Where are my parents?

Society continued to evolve as all of the Romans died of STD’s and exhaustion from redirecting every road to themselves, and the Greeks took up the torch (you’ll get it in a moment) of modernizing organized sports by establishing The Olympic Games. The Greek Games were based strictly on athletic prowess and managed to unite large groups of people (fans) behind a single athlete or representative. It is no coincidence that Greek society is featured so prominently on modern college and university campuses, the Greeks are responsible for a student body of 30,000 individuals believing that they’re better than everyone else based upon the performance of a couple of dozen athletes.

Sports, as we know them, pretty much evolved from there. Countries across the globe developed athletic games and formed competitions to test competitors might. The focus of sports became less and less about an individual’s ability to survive and adapt, and became more about a team’s ability to outplay the opposing team.  The Olympic Games continued and gave the nations a way to assert their superiority without resorting to war– every four years it was perfectly acceptable to cheer as the Germans were defeated once again. It was discovered that loads of money was to be made through the sports industry- first by owners, and later by the players.

We've gotten from Gladiators to this in only a short few thousand years, guys. Think of where we can go from here!

It wasn’t long before athletes started signing lucrative contracts and making millions of dollars every year, which, for the record, is so much more than a teacher’s pay.

Sports entered a new age– the age of marketing. In no time at all athletes were spokesmen for beverage companies, automakers, and– underwear. Athletes began crossing over into movies, TV, and music. I bet you didn’t know Kobe Bryant has a still unreleased rap album stashed away somewhere; for some reason Columbia Records is reluctant to release it.

Today athletes make more money in a couple of hours than you’ll make in a year simply by making an appearance at a club. They work hard and party harder. They date models, actresses, and whatever it is that you call rich people with reality TV shows. Real Desperate Housewives I guess.

And that, folks, is how sports evolved from a primal game of survival, to a bunch of slaves battling for their lives and possible freedom, to young men competing for the honor of their country, to a bunch of celebrities passing around a ball and making club appearances for millions of dollars. And that’s what the American dream is all about!

How much do you charge for club appearances? OR JUST LEAVE A COMMENT AT ALL GUYS GEEZ


13 thoughts on “Sports – A Brief History

  1. of all the gboat entries, i think this is the greatest. and craven didnt even write it…

    Nah, i kid. but i definitely put it in top 2.

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