Sport Vs. Science: Realistically What Is More Important?

illya mclellan@illya mclellan @illbehaviorNZSenior Analyst IJuly 6, 2008

This is something that has had me in two minds for a very long time, why does humanity waste so much time and money on sport and the pursuit of sport when realistically it is just a sideshow, a morale booster for the masses?

The sheer volume of money spent each year on sports are actually absolutely ridiculous. Sports have become a monster that is beyond our control.

This happens as legitimate scientific research struggles to find funding or a struggle along with tiny handouts from patronising governments around the world.

Space exploration is probably the prime example in that it is now, at this stage of human development, more important than ever before that we find ways to make space inhabitable.

But instead NASA has become a bit of a joke to the public and space exploration the stuff of B-grade horror movies. The question we have to ask ourselves is this, do sports stars really deserve to be paid five times the salary of a scientist?

A scientist who is working for the benefit of humankind and, perhaps, in the interest of extending the longevity of our stay in this universe? I am of the opinion that it is beyond a joke, it is no longer a laughing matter that those who exercise their brains instead of their bodies are so undervalued.

Over the years I have gradually begun to view sport in a way that is slightly off kilter to the way I had viewed it as a youth. The arrogance of former sporting superstars is one thing and the godlike status they attain in the eyes of the populace is another.

Where will these sports stars be in the event that we have to leave this planet because of the downward spiral of pollution? I will tell you where, in the most expensive and comfortable accommodation available on board the vessels that will disembark our planet.

Just then to the reader this article may have taken a turn toward some sort of science fiction that they may think is far beyond anything they will ever have to care about. But the truth is we are almost at the point of no return.

It seems in this we are distracting ourselves from the seeming inevitability of our fate by becoming so engrossed in the pursuit of sporting "glory" so as to forget the importance of the pursuit of scientific research and its goals.

The many important branches of research involved with the future technologies of humanity dwarf the importance of sporting trophies and achievements in such a way that sports becomes relative to the size of a gnat to an elephant.

How long will we continue to delude ourselves about the importance of sports and its participants in relation to the value and vital nature of research technologies? The question of "what is a sport?" was recently bandied about on the and besides the myriad of opinions is this.

A sport is merely a pastime, an amusement and nothing else. It makes me laugh to see how seriously it seems to be taken, by so many, considering the plight we are putting ourselves in ecologically.

Besides all of this, I myself still enjoy sport and being distracted by it. It is merely the importance placed on it that bothers me so much. It remains ridiculous to me that the pursuit of sport has gotten to be in certain situations to be a more powerful thing than the pursuit of knowledge.

Are we deluding ourselves because we are scared of what tomorrow will bring?