The idea that athletics and philosophy are connected may sound strange at first. But if we see philosophy as a way of life rather than a set of beliefs, it’s not a stretch to imagine that athletic training can cultivate skills we need for the whole of our lives, both on and off the playing field.
With the World Cup having just ended, I am led to reflect on my own lack of interest in soccer. It's not that I don't appreciate the athleticism involved in soccer. And it’s not that I can't see the strategies unfolding. But somehow it still leaves me pretty cold.
Basketball fans have long held that players experience runs of success or failure. If a player succeeds at sinking a free throw, the theory goes, they’re having a successful streak, which makes them more likely to sink the next free throw. Simpson’s Paradox might explain why the “hot hand” phenomenon looks real, even if it’s not.
From the ancient Greeks, philosophical writing about sport has been rooted in theories of virtue and the good. Discussions in this genre regard sport as a form of human excellence. On versions of this view, excluding or marginalizing women in sports is shutting them out from opportunities for excellence.