matt | September 18, 2004
(ignore college for this agrument; in collegiate programs, it comes down to revenues)
Q: Why are music and art programs cut in school before sports programs and phys ed?
A: Because sports/phys ed teaches children to be able to function as members of a team.
Q: Why do we need to function as members of a team?
A: Because that is the way the world is; that is how to become a good corporate citizen.
Art and music teaches creative thinking and independence. Granted, orchestral music performances are heavily regimented, but most other groups are merely loose affiliations of creative individuals, making music, enjoying themselves. Sports are not like that. In order for the team sports to work, you have to play as part of a team, against an opposing team, according to the rules. Otherwise, you are cheating. Team sports train you in structure. It trains you to do your best because winning is everything, and if you lose you let your teammates down. With music, there is rarely such a thing. Certainly, if you suck, then you will likely destroy the band's sound. However, you are usually not competing against another band. So, provided you do well, there is no way to lose. With sports, you can do your best, and it's still not good enough. So, you're left in the situation where you're always wondering what you could have done better. It keeps you doubting and fearful, which is exactly what they want.
So-called alternative sports, such as paintball, fishing and hunting, are generally marginalized for a variety of reasons. They don't get media coverage because they're not very interesting to watch. However, a variety of people would like to outlaw them. The stated reasons generally have to do with violence, killing things, etc., but I wonder whether the undercurrent is simply that these sports rely on being self-sufficient. After all, your average hockey game is at least as bloody as your average deer hunt, and that violence is perpetrated upon your fellow man.