The Olympic Games have begun in Beijing. The part of my brain that wishes to write an intelligent, thoughful post about the meaning of sport and nationalism and the part that wishes pre-emptively to make fun of NBC’s misty montages is already being cut out of the deliberation process by the part of my brain that is jumping up and down going ‘woo! Olympics!’
So, one quick thought. I once read a definition of games as the attainment of a goal, which is itself not intrinsically valuable, while constrained by rules that making attaining that goal more difficult. This applies even in something as simple as a footrace. What’s so special about 100 meters? Why not 99 meters?
If that definition is right, then anything that human beings find interesting enough to bother constructing rules around can become a sport. And when it comes right down to it, we’re weird creatures:
Freestyle unicycle. Woo!