There are some "sports" that are beyond consideration by decent, ethical people. Boxing is one of those. Some elements of professional US football and hockey accept permanent and serious injury to players as the price of a full stadium. I condemn those parts of mass spectator sports forcefully and will little reservation, and I urge others to do so as well.
Mass spectator sports may be healthy and a means of focusing sentiments and emotions on human achievement. No one should deny that World Cup 2014 is such an event. As of June 19th more than 46 million tweets had been sent registering sentiments and views about the players, referees and matches. At one point, more than 200,000 tweets were focused on WC2014 per minute. While there may be an excess of public expense, gambling and drinking involved in the World Cup games, no one is dying because of WC2014. In this case, nationalist emotions are focused on scoring points rather than on body counts.
Universal games are a useful thing when they let emotion and frenzy build up and then dissipate.
There is an astounding moment in our recent history when soldiers in the French, British and German armies chose balls over bullets on the battlefront. In the first years of World War I, the infantrymen on both sides of the trenches declared a Christmas Truce, put down their rifles, played soccer with each other in No Man's Land and sang Christmas carols. That event was never repeated in the conflict, but it showed the common humanity of the foot soldiers on both sides and soccer matches united those men rather than pulling them apart.
That lesson should not be lost on us. It is useful to focus great resources on games and sports events. We should not do that blindly or without reservation. Many parts of pro sports need to be reformed and changed for the health of the players and the spectators, and we need to recognize that sports can be a forum for violence, hatred and aggression if left unchecked. We should always choose balls over bullets when we can, and maybe over time, bullets will become a historical memory only and Christmas Truce will be