Date

6-18-2020

Description

I argue that Schiller's concept of living form, Hegel's mutual recognition, and Merleau-Ponty's concept of the body-as lived help us understand the well-documented mental, physical, and psycho-social health benefits of sport. Sport promotes living form because youth “play” in an aesthetic sense, oscillating between passion, i.e. intense physical activity and high emotions, and reason, i.e. the mental strategy to work within the confines of the rules. Teamwork and comradery yield an integrated and unified sense of agency as athletes experience the inextricable value of each individual and the aggregate group. Through sport, the self-as-embodied increases its openness to the world as a lived body that is both a physical object and mental content at the same time. When practiced responsibly, these experiences can build and intensify identity-formation, social-belonging, and self-confidence. Unfortunately, sport in the United States has become a breeding ground of commercialization and hyper-sexualization that pushes youth, especially adolescent girls, to quit the game in disproportionate numbers. I argue that reclaiming sport in the form of a sustained aesthetic education will propel youth to develop a stronger sense of self-confident embodiment amidst forces that aim to erode such development.

Share

COinS
 
Jun 18th, 12:00 AM

Caution! Children at play: understanding youth sport as an aesthetic education towards self-confident embodiment

I argue that Schiller's concept of living form, Hegel's mutual recognition, and Merleau-Ponty's concept of the body-as lived help us understand the well-documented mental, physical, and psycho-social health benefits of sport. Sport promotes living form because youth “play” in an aesthetic sense, oscillating between passion, i.e. intense physical activity and high emotions, and reason, i.e. the mental strategy to work within the confines of the rules. Teamwork and comradery yield an integrated and unified sense of agency as athletes experience the inextricable value of each individual and the aggregate group. Through sport, the self-as-embodied increases its openness to the world as a lived body that is both a physical object and mental content at the same time. When practiced responsibly, these experiences can build and intensify identity-formation, social-belonging, and self-confidence. Unfortunately, sport in the United States has become a breeding ground of commercialization and hyper-sexualization that pushes youth, especially adolescent girls, to quit the game in disproportionate numbers. I argue that reclaiming sport in the form of a sustained aesthetic education will propel youth to develop a stronger sense of self-confident embodiment amidst forces that aim to erode such development.