Sports Show as a Part of Physical Recreation


M.A. El'murzaev, associate professor, Ph.D.
National University of mineral resources (Mining University), St. Petersburg

Key words: sports show, sports fan, social status, motivation and value orientation, recreational function, leisure.

Introduction. The problem of sports shows, their importance in the socio-cultural environment of human life in the domestic science have been studied insufficiently. This is partly explained by the fact that sports shows are difficult to study directly by an experiment and the gained practical experience has not yet become the subject of a proper analysis. In the available special literature the authors have found a few publications on the subject, which serve more as an introduction to the problem rather than an attempt to solve it. They mainly concerned the study of the typology of sports fans or were represented by an analysis of foreign studies in this area.

The relevance of the research on this issue is stipulated by three main reasons. The first of them relates to the fact that sports shows in their accessibility, emotional appeal, mass nature were primary among all kinds of shows. The second reason is that the audience is usually socially heterogeneous, represented by different age and gender and social groups. The members of these macrogroups can pursue different instrumental goals, but represent some psychological unanimity in their social and psychological ones. Numerous macro-groups of sports fans generally are mostly not in direct communicative contact with each other, it is more an intra-group, local contact. And finally, the third reason is that the high migration of sports fans can lead to a social conflict between "us" and "them", aggression aimed at insulting or causing physical harm to opponents and deviant behavior. These reasons complicate the social control of sports fans, groups of fans are hard to control that provokes a serious concern for government and public organizations. The use of some restrictive sanctions does not always give positive results [2].

The purpose of the study was to analyze the phenomenon of "sports show" and estimate its role in the socio-cultural environment of social and human life.

Results and discussion. The growing numbers of sports fans, attending sports events, watching sports TV programs are the call of the times. Sports shows satisfy demands of the most numerous group of population, but not all groups and individuals. Thus, a more precise definition is to be given to the term "mass physical culture" which includes sports shows.

The concept of "mass culture" is extremely unspecified and vague involving an average unified personality. Therefore, mass culture cannot comprise culture in its true sense. It must be admitted that in the 90–s of the XX century mass culture had a lot of weak points, contradictions and subcultural phenomena, alien to the genuine culture. In spite of being contradictive, mass culture is an objective reality, it contributes to broadcasting of social experiences, value orientations, standards and behavior patterns, and it should be studied as far as possible [1].

The need to distinguish two concepts: mass physical culture and physical culture of the general population, has been repeatedly stressed in domestic sports science. Mass physical culture is focused on the impersonal society of performers and consumers. This term is usually used at the level of the commonplace sense. At the same time, physical culture of the general population is focused on a specific developing creative person and promotes not only physical, but spiritual and socio-cultural development [4].

The strategic objective of the state policy in the sphere of physical culture, using its enormous potential of people’s health optimization, involves promotion of physical culture of the general population, but it is impossible to achieve this goal by the forced increase of the amount of people involved and conducting mass physical culture and sport shows. The real social behavior of people is much richer and versatile, multivariate and does not fit into any of the recommended modes of behavior. The healthcare promotion has not yet become the "second religion" in the mass consciousness of the Russian population [3].

The development of physical culture of the general population primarily involves acquiring profound knowledge of the physical culture heritage of mankind for the history of its existence by the general population and conscious participation of every individual in its creation and implementation in practice. A person’s intense interest in sports shows does not necessarily lead to the real activation of the motor mode in his everyday life. These factors can only be considered as a prerequisite, unrealized potential.

The two major research paradigms can be distinguished in the sports shows problem. One of them is based on a sociological analysis of sport shows: their locations and conditions, the number and social status of show participants, attributes, etc. Another research paradigm is based on the study of the audience’s psychological characteristics: perception and attitude to sports shows, the motives for participation, mechanisms of communication and relationships between its members, etc. Needless to say, such paradigmatic division of sports shows based on sociological and psychological grounds cannot be considered universal, the direct participants of sports shows (athletes) and the audience present a single interconnected and interdependent social identification mechanism.

The study of sports shows as a part of physical recreation is one of the perspective areas of research. We consider sports shows to be related to physical recreation due to the following reasons.

1. Spatiotemporal. Sports shows are organized in the leisure time of people and serve as one of the main functions of leisure, are limited by venue and time interval.

 2. The spectators of sports shows do not participate directly, their psycho-physical activity is of the "bystander" nature, however, the actual course of a sport event has a significant psychological (emotional) impact on the audience.

Space and time are the main categories of physical recreation; they are also the main categories of sports shows.

The highlighted features of sports shows cause the manifestation of their two major recreational functions - compensatory and hedonistic. The first of them helps to satisfy the needs for emotional contacts, informal communication, freedom of “unconventional behavior” within norms, etc., namely the needs limited to a certain extent in the daily life due to various reasons, mainly in professional work. The individuals’ need for informal contacts, an opportunity to belong to a particular social group (the affiliation process) is the need to develop their sociality, creating new rules and regulations of their social behavior.

 Thus, sports shows have not only the relaxation function - optimizing emotional state after a busy day at work, but also cause a wide range of positive emotions. The compensatory function of sports shows contains a prestigious aspect, as it becomes more prestigious to be sports fans and man can thus improve his social status.

The hedonistic function of sports shows is displayed in the pleasure taken by an individual, as well as the state of satisfaction with life in general and a specific personally significant situation, achieving the sense of subjective well-being, inner freedom.

 The compensatory hedonistic function of sports shows includes many other aspects and the priority manifestation of certain aspects is caused by different types of sports fans. Three types of sports fans groups are distinguished in the scientific studies. The first type includes the fans taking sports shows as leisure, an attempt to go beyond the usual lifestyle, satisfaction of the need for informal communication, belonging to a preferred social group. Sports shows for fans of this type fulfill the prestigious hedonistic and relaxation functions. However, the process of a sport competition and its outcome are of secondary importance for them, they act as passive viewers of sport events.

  The fans who want to be in the group with the same interests present the second type of sports fans. They focus on narrow group interests regarding their kind of sport, sports team and its achievements of high sports result.

Sports fans are a particularly notable type of fans of the total mass. The concept of "fan" is not sufficiently clear and definite. According to V.T. Lisovskiy, a fan is a person, dedicated to the values and symbols of the group, someone who strictly follows the accepted rules of behavior and rejects everything contradictory to its values.

There are no fundamental researches of sports fans’ psychology in the domestic science. Based on the author's own observations and interviews with sports fans, it should be noted that groups of sports fans consist mainly of socially heterogeneous young people. Groups of sports fans are relatively stable in quantity, mobile, with their local subculture, motivation and value orientations, a rigid intragroup organizational system, standards of interrelations, used symbols and slang. The psychological climate in the group of fans has a much greater impact on the individual consciousness and behavior than such concepts as patriotism, community spirit, moral and ethical norms of behavior.

Some researchers have linked the growth of aggressiveness among sports fans with the increasing aggressiveness of competing athletes. However, aggression can be expressed not only in destructive, but also in creative human behavior, in attempts to reform the outdated, conservative, dogmatic. The aggression of sports fans is not certainly caused by their natural inclinations according to Freud and his followers’ theory, it merely acts as a defense psychological mechanism against the impact of unfavorable stressors.

The hedonistic needs of sports fans come to the fore at the expense of cultural-cognitive, aesthetic and moral needs. The sport fans’ distorted, primitive perception of sports values can turn into one of the most dangerous means of psychological impact on the individual consciousness and behavior, manifested in protest marches and other forms of asocial behavior.

Conclusion. Sports shows represent an entertaining stratum of culture, means of cultural values absorption, including physical culture. They are a powerful source of personality’s cultural and spiritual development, a reasonable way to arrange leisure time for people. They constitute an important element of a modern man’s lifestyle. Sports shows are extremely important in the personality’s socio-cultural development and their value will undoubtedly increase in the future. The actualization of the sports shows potential in the human life is an important task for socio-psychological and pedagogical sciences.


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