First, there were the gladiators. Later, there was jousting. Boxing, wrestling, archery, shooting sports, and rodeo came along thereafter. Eventually football, hockey, horse racing, road racing and other sports arrived, thrived and proliferated to thrill their growing legions of fans. They helped instill discipline, courage, teamwork and a work ethic into those that played them, as they inspired those who watched them. They provided a sense of identity and belonging to players and fans alike. They encouraged physical fitness and, as in Roman times, a respect for both beauty and toughness.
The writing is on the wall, though. Football and hockey, especially, have already seen dramatic rule changes in order to make the game safer. These rule changes have brought about an increase in the number of injuries and are taking some of the excitement out of the games. Parents are afraid to let their kids play them…and many kids are now afraid of playing them.
The number of students turning out for high school football teams is plummeting around the country, especially in states like California, New York and Massachusetts. Inside of 30 years there may be no high school football. Colleges and professional leagues won’t have players to fill their rosters.
Soon, the only sports left will be tree-hugging and toenail painting (non-competitive and “gender open!”).
This at a time when robots are taking over more and more jobs from human beings. Soon they will be doing all our work for us. And, since humans can get hurt and animals can be “exploited,” neither of which is acceptable anymore, in the future might they also be playing our sports for us in “robotic leagues?”
In the greatest irony of all, we may soon let robots do all our living for us.