In ancient times Romans would set humans against animals and watch the resulting gore from specially built stadia. Next came the era of gladiators who fought against each other to the merriment of the audience. That tradition is even now seen in the form of bull fight. The bulls don’t fight; they are killed after getting them so tired chasing a red cloth being waved by the modern day gladiator called a matador. Bulls occasionally behave in a wayward manner and succeed in attacking not the red cloth but the matador. This element of danger is what interests the audience and the ultimate killing is done by piercing the brain of the animal. One of the most brutal of sports practiced in modern times is this so called bull fight.
Next in order is boxing where two humans fight each other. Elaborate rules and gear makes this less bloody than killing the bull but fighters can get killed or maimed for life. The famous Mohammed Ali suffered such severe brain damage that he became a cripple in his middle age. But the sport is quite popular and even Olympic games have this and that too in many categories depending on the weight of the participants.
Next comes car and motor cycle racing. I just cannot understand the popularity of this sport. If impending death is what one wants to watch and call it sport you have a perfect example of this in motor racing. The recent tragic death of two young men, one in motorcycle racing and another in car racing seemed to have heightened expectations and popularity. In our country, the land of ahimsa, a huge track has been built in Noida and we are going to have this bloody sport pretty soon. The likes of Tendulkar, Yuvraj Singh and co seem to think that this s sport they should support by buying teams!
Horse is wonderful animal. In grace and bearing I don’t think there is any mammal which is as good looking [including humans] as a horse. What have we done with this animal? We train it to race with a man sitting on the top and urging it to run faster by beating it’s haunches with a specially made strap. And thousands throng to watch. Society women use this as an occasion to show off their costumes and head gear. But again the popularity is partly due to the element of danger where in, the horse as well as the rider may come to harm.
Of course there is an element of injury risk in most sports except probably in table games. Most sports need skill, stamina and fitness and provide pleasure of a different kind. The pleasure is that by taking part in the sport you are actually experiencing pleasure which is based on skill and stamina. The perfect example of such a sport is Badminton. One should watch the likes of Dan of China and Wie of Malaysia playing against each other. It is impossible to believe that a human being can be so fit and agile. There is hardly any threat of someone getting killed playing Badminton, ping pong or Tennis.
As sport loving people we should stop watching motor racing, horse racing and boxing and shift to watching other sports even if it is twenty twenty cricket !