Periscope Depth

metaphysics of the world cup

New post on Overthinking It today about the metaphysics of the World Cup

A game is a human’s attempt to make sense of life. It breaks down activities we recognize — competition, cooperation, success, setback — into a set of known rules. Every game has to have rules. A game without rules could not be distinguished from regular life, and it’s understood that there’s a point where the game stops and life begins again. In fact, bringing in elements from outside of a game to the interior of a game is considered “unsporting.” You don’t call your opponents names; people within the game-set abandon their identities. You don’t pay them to throw the game; people within the game all have equal wealth. The game exists for a set duration, then stops. Life goes on afterward.


Different sports use different clocks. This makes sense, since different sports use different paces. Basketball is a game of sudden shifts: sprints up and down the court, quick hustles beneath the basket, then sprinting out again. Hockey and soccer are games of constant motion: fewer hectic scrambles but a more continuous revolution around the field. American football has moments of intense violence followed by equally long periods of rest. And baseball has the slowest pace of all. Excepting perhaps golf.

What does each sport’s clock say about the game? And, if each game is a microcosm of life, what does each game’s clock say about its metaphysical outlook?

Ch-ch-ch-ch-check it.