Suffering in sport: why people willingly embrace negative emotional experiences

Brady, M. S. (2019) Suffering in sport: why people willingly embrace negative emotional experiences. Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, (doi:10.1080/00948705.2019.1615837) (Early Online Publication)

Brady, M. S. (2019) Suffering in sport: why people willingly embrace negative emotional experiences. Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, (doi:10.1080/00948705.2019.1615837) (Early Online Publication)

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Abstract

Nearly everyone agrees that physical pain is bad. Indeed, if anything merits the status of a platitude in our everyday thinking about value, the idea that pain is bad surely does. Equally, it seems clearly true that emotional suffering – despair, loneliness, grief, disappointment, guilt, shame, lovesickness, and the like – are all bad as well. We are strongly inclined to pity and feel sorry for those who suffer emotionally in these ways; we are motivated, at least some of the time, to do what we can to alleviate their suffering. Given this, it might seem curious that pain and suffering are so integral to sport – whether one is a participant or a spectator. There’s nothing particularly puzzling about pain and suffering that is inadvertently related to sport – as when an athlete injures her hamstring and has to miss her chance at Olympic glory, or when supporters face the misery of getting up at 6am because an away game has been scheduled to start at noon. But there does seem to be something curious about the extent to which pain and suffering are voluntarily embraced by participants and spectators, as the quotation from Nick Hornby aptly illustrates. Why do people willingly engage in something that brings about so much suffering? In this paper, I’ll attempt to answer this question.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Early Online Publication
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Brady, Professor Michael
Authors: Brady, M. S.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Humanities > Philosophy
Journal Name:Journal of the Philosophy of Sport
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN:0094-8705
ISSN (Online):1543-2939
Published Online:24 May 2019
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2019 IAPS
First Published:First published in Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 2019
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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