The Importance Of Athletic Games And Education

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Athletic games and education were an important part of both Athenian and Spartan civic culture, as well as, present American civic culture. Athletic games and education in all of these societies was seen as a crucial part in the development of youth upbringing and in crafting civic identity among cultures. Each culture, respectfully, held their own sporting events locally, as well as, competed in the Olympics. All of these cultures saw value in competition, showmanship and idolizing those who can be looked up to as an outstanding citizen by virtue of their prominence in athletic ability and temperament when faced with adversity. These qualities of citizens of each culture are praised for similar reasons despite the vast differences between …show more content…
The gymnasium, founded in Athens, was a place where any free male Greek over the age of eighteen could go to exercise by running on a track and wrestling with other Greeks in his age group. Physical fitness was important to ancient Athenians because they understood that fit soldiers were better soldiers in Hoplite warfare. To become educated in philosophy and socialize was another major function of the gymnasium. Some gymnasiums became famous for the teachings of popular philosophers who would frequent them, such as the Academy, which Plato visited and the Lyceum, where Aristotle would lecture. Ancient Athenians would compete in the Olympics and did so naked. They believed that the ultimate form of beauty was the male body. They would hold contests similar to what could be compared to modern day bodybuilding competitions. Other contests held would include boxing, wrestling, foot races, jumping contests, armed combat and javelin and discus throwing. They would also hold equestrian events like two horse and four horse chariot races. Except for the nudity, armed combat and chariot races, all of these events are a part of modern American sport and …show more content…
Both have an emphasis on fitness. In America all elementary schools have kids actively involved in physical education, although to a much lesser degree than Sparta. Both have sporting contests for all ages. Both have idolize athletes who excel in their respective sport. But neither ancient Greek culture put quite the emphasis on spectacle that modern American culture does. Although, both cultures gathered crowds when sporting events take place, but what separates American athletics is the sheer size of the crowds gathered. This difference comes from the advancement of technologies allowing people not present at the games to watch, the popularity of games increasing, but most importantly the commercialization. In ancient Athens generosity to the athletes was common, it was the cities way of displaying wealth and power. Now athletes are paid multimillion contracts not to show the wealth and power of the nation, but because sports have become a billion-dollar industry. One thing that has remained similar is the civic/national propaganda that is churned out by being dominant at international sporting events such as the Olympics. It is no doubt that nationalistic pride is at an all time high after winning a gold medal or even better the whole event. This shows strength and virility and is effective in shaping national

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