July 27, 2007

Fighting – what is it good for?

I happened to catch an episode of "The Contender" today and got hooked in. It’s not a show that I normally watch but when they showed the families of the two guys who were fighting in this episode, my interest was piqued. For those of you who have not seen "The Contender", it is a reality show along the lines of "The Apprentice" where a bunch of hopeful boxers get divided into two teams, get trained and fight members from the other team, eliminating the loser from each fight. The last man standing gets something big I guess.

Anyway, what interested me was the fact that they have the wives and children of the fighters watching when they fight. You see the wives cheering their husbands on with comments like "You get him baby!" or shaking their heads when their husband seems to be doing badly. You also see the son of one of the contestants crying because he just saw his father get a cut over one eye. As I watched all of this, the question uppermost in my mind was, "why?"

Why do we find the sight of two human beings beating each other to a pulp entertaining? Why do we call this kind of thing a "sport"? Why can’t the wives who are cheering on their man think about the fact that their husband might be killed, maimed or injured during this "contest"? Why don’t they also think about the fact that while they are asking their spouse to beat another guy to a pulp, that guy too has a wife and kids who love him?

I guess the beat-their-chest-and-how-at-the-moon types will call me a wuss or a sissy or somebody who doesn’t understand what it means to be "manly". But is it really "manly" to beat somebody else down to show how strong you are? Aren’t we once again setting the example to our kids that it’s only strength that matters? That you will always win as long as you are strong?

Sure, I realize that boxing is not just about strength. That the strongest doesn’t always win and there is a lot of strategy, style and grace involved at times as well. But the fact remains, you have to beat a fellow human beings physically to win. What does that say about us as humans? To me it seems as if that it only says that we haven’t progressed very far from our own animal heritage – that we still haven’t learnt that control is better than force, that peace takes more effort than violence. But what do I know? :p