Malcolm Gladwell: Do Genetic Advantages Make Sports Unfair? : The New Yorker

In the New Yorker, Malcom Gladwell asks a strange question: Do Genetic Advantages Make Sports Unfair?¬†Anyone who was ever picked last for baseball laughs at this question. Anyone who is a “hard gainer” in the weight room shakes his head. Of course sports are not fair. Elite athletes are all freaks of nature in some way(s). The ancient Greeks celebrated that freakiness as gifts from the gods. Now it seems people labor under the illusion that they could have become Tom Brady if only they had worked at it hard enough. The real question should be, “do genetic advantages make sports uninteresting?” I would say no–they are still a fantastic celebration of the struggle of life, of nature and spirit in all its unfairness and inequality, in microcosm. The glory comes from overcoming difficulties, which includes genetic (and I might add, psychological) disadvantages. And having rules, having boundaries and codes, makes that celebration that much more pointed and intense.

This entry was posted in Current History, Diet and Exercise, Play, Science and Medicine. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply