Jeebus, who knew?

Researchers from the London School of Economics found that by playing sport in a team participants not only gain the health benefits of exercise, but can boost long-term happiness.

Rather a Chesterton’s Fence thing there, no?

Given that most human societies have had some form of team sport…..

18 comments on “Jeebus, who knew?

  1. Well my experience is that team sports mostly boosts short term happiness. There is no feeling like coming in from the f**king cold rain, getting into a hot shower and washing the mud off. Knowing you won’t have to do it again for another week.

    This is not so much a Chesterton’s fence thing. I am not sure most societies do team sports. It really is a British thing that the British exported to the world. It is the smart ar$es of the Sixties not being as smart as they thought. Again the Victorians built a better society that they trashed.

  2. Pish tush.
    Sport is always peddled as making a man of you or being good for you.
    That is why most people only watch and don’t do.It It has become the opiate of the masses.
    When the activity of a group of men in need of a rest is watched by a mass of people in need of exercise.

  3. All sport–not useful for combative purposes like boxing, etc–is a waste of time.

    Team games are an even bigger waste of time.

    Even in the Middle Ages laws had to be enacted to try and get people to practice their archery rather than “football, handball, bandyball (?) and suchlike lame plays”. While no fan of state dictates that at least is sensible. Sure the state wanted trained war-fodder but once trained such skills can be used against the state.

    The people of this nation would be far better off if they stopped playing and watching most sporting crap and spent their time at shooting practice and combative training. How the state–and their costumed thugs–would shit their pants in fear if the country was swarming with top level combat experts instead of pot-billed sportsfans.

  4. I wasn’t familiar with Chesterton’s Fence, but what a useful analogy! When looking it up, I also came across another, the “Cobra Effect.” Very useful!

  5. > Given that most human societies have had some form of team sport…..

    Really? Didn’t the Victorians basically start setting up teams, as a way to divert young men’s sexual urges? Case in point: the Football League was founded in 1888.

  6. Even “combative sport” isn’t much use for actual combat, a point made by the ancient Greeks – stylised contests of javelin-throwing, foot-racing and wrestling didn’t reflect phalanx warfare, and the top athletes didn’t make exceptional hoplites.

    Greek boxing might have helped, except it left so many participants dead or crippled: their ‘boxing gloves’ were stiffened hide inlaid with lead weights: the Iliad describes how one punch from Odysseus leaves his opponent mewling on the ground, spitting blood and broken teeth…

    I’m an occasional sports fencer, and none of the weapons are realistic combat simulation (fun, but not war). Having dabbled in longsword fighting, that’s more realistic – but it’s a training routine, not a sport. If “…and while you’re distracting him, your friend sneaks up behind your opponent and slashes his hamstrings” gets you disqualified and prosecuted instead of winning, it’s only a sport.

    More recently (well, 1908 or thereabouts), the gravelbellies of the Bisley shooting community raged of the British Army’s new service rifle that “The rifle was always bad, its defects always notorious, and the propagation of badness will doubtless continue for several generations to come”. Strangely, their preferred option (the Ross Rifle, in either the .280″ Ross or the existing .303″) proved far less successful in combat than the ‘notorious’ Rifle, Short, Magazine, Lee-Enfield despite its theoretical superiority on a Surrey shooting range.

    Or as Sydney Jary, author of “18 Platoon”, wrote: “If I now had to select a team for a dangerous mission and my choice was restricted to stars of the sports field or poets, I would unhesitatingly choose the latter.” (But then, Jary only survived and succeeded in commanding his platoon from Normandy to VE-Day against some stiff opposition…)

  7. “Even “combative sport” isn’t much use for actual combat”

    Try your luck with a good boxer then.

    However , that said, I agree it is a powerful method but does not train people for all out combat. You don’t get boxing matches where you climb in one side of the ring and three opponents climb in the other. Nor does the Ref sucker punch you if it looks like you are winning. It is a good but far from complete (or completely practical) combat training.

    Self-defence expert Bradley J Steiner suggests that boxing and Judo are good ways to introduce children to the skills of self defence while reserving more serious and dangerous–in both directions–training until more mature years.

  8. I always thought Brits invented so many sports and gave them to the world (while being crap at them ourselves) was so that assorted foreigners (list all the racial epithets you like here) would therefore be too busy to annoy us while we were productively engaged.

    Mr Ecks, I’m quite willing to take on any boxer you want, provided that we start out of reach and I have an Uzi!

  9. “Try your luck with a good boxer then.”

    Never seen “Raiders of the Lost Ark”? A good longsword beats a strong right hook, but a Colt M1917 beats a sword and an AK beats any handgun… if we’re talking battlefields rather than school playgrounds, anyway.

    Nothing wrong with some adventurous sport – boxing, fencing, riding, orienteering are all good fun – and there’s a lot to be said for developing and testing the grit to keep going when stopping would be more convenient, by whatever means works (for day to day life, let alone the military) But, you won’t drop Tyson Fury into an infantry section as a battle casualty replacement and be glad you got a champion boxer instead of a trained solder.

    Lamp and sandbag time – an acquaintance of mine who earned his green lid at Lympstone told me of an exercise his unit did with the US Marine Corps: in barracks during the prep phase, the Royal Marines looked outclassed, even weedy, compared to the US buffed gym bunnies who could pump more iron, benchpress more weight, and do more chin-ups and press-ups.

    Then they went out into the field in full battle rattle, seventy to eighty pounds of weapon, ammo, water, rations, PPE, batteries, monkeys and parrots per man: and the Royal Marines handily outpaced the USMC cross-country with a lighter footprint and fewer vehicle moves. Royal focusses on endurance and stamina, not weight-lifting and upper-body strength, and it really showed in the field.

    TL/DR – work out what skills and attributes you need and help people develop them. Sometimes a particular sport will be a good way to support that, other times it’ll just be entertaining exercise, just don’t fetishise it.

  10. I’m not sure what the “argument” is about. Yes warfighting is about weapons. Match empty hands –or nearly anything else-against firearms–and lose. An obvious point. Fitness–endurance rather than strength–is vital to the military. So what? My original comment was about what I think people would be wiser to do instead of spectating–ie prepare for trouble in their lives. Not turn themselves into suitable cannon-fodder for the state.

    Most of the battles people encounter are on a smaller scale–altho a hand to hand street fight can still cost you your life. Try explaining your Colt to the coppers after you’ve shot someone–no matter how justified– without the permission/orders of the state. That needs to change I agree but now–today–a Colt–should you have one in your possession (thus risking 5 years just for having it)–is a liability as soon as you has solved “Problem 1” with it. I am talking about the UK here obviously.

    I never mentioned weight training in my original posting and don’t have an opinion either way beyond agreeing that endurance is more useful for the military.

  11. Didn’t the Victorians basically start setting up teams, as a way to divert young men’s sexual urges? Case in point: the Football League was founded in 1888.

    No, the Victorians were good at codifying (and pacifying) team sports that had existed since at least medieval times (as Ecksy has pointed out). The Aztecs had team games (with serious incentives to win). Kabaddi seems to have been played by Tamils since prehistoric times, but the rules were codified only in the 30s.

  12. The State likes organised team games (FA etc.) because in their opinion it burns off excess agression/enthusiasm/energy in a harmless way, the State doesn’t like unofficial team games because they have no control, football hooliganism is most certainly a team game and the State does all it can to crack down on it.

  13. @Jason Lynch

    In my time in the Air Training Corps I fired off hundreds of rounds from a Lee Enfield, mainly at Purbright, and having spent time in the butts with the bullets whistling overhead I can tell you War must have been hell. Even though we were spotty teenagers we achieved some good groupings at 300 yards.

    As to the Platoon Commander who survived from Normandy to VE day, perhaps poets are less likely to want to sacrifice themselves in battle for the greater good. So they might be better at survival, but not be as militarily effective.

  14. People doing things they like makes them happy. This might possibly be a statement of the bleedin’ obvious.

    What worries me is that this will be used to force people who don’t like team sport to play it anyway. And then in ten years’ time someone will do another study and say “funny that, people don’t seem to be enjoying playing team sport as much”…

  15. “…by playing sport in a team participants not only gain the health benefits of exercise..”

    And frequent visits to A&E and other areas of the World Class NHS.

    Very healthy – and what about the ‘burden on the NHS’ thing?

  16. Ian Reid,

    Jary was still a set text for Sandhurst, and frequently quoted in the Military Training Qualification (MTQ) Precis I was issued, back in 1991, so the Army don’t seem to have disagreed with his judgement too vehemently.

    His point about poets versus athletes was driven by his opinion that mental fortitude and flexibility was an essential attribute: having fought through some fairly vicious actions on the way to the German coast, followed by being billeted in the Nordic-named village of Bergen-Belsen and having to help clean up the carnage there, he didn’t have a pleasant or easy war.

  17. The Aztecs had team games (with serious incentives to win)

    The Ball Game well pre-dated the Aztecs. It was played even before the birth of Christ.

    The horse peoples of Central Asia have been playing “polo” for ages too.

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