PBS Idea Channel host Mike Rugnetta explores whether sports could ever replace war. Rugnetta comes down on the side of “no,” but goes on to then discuss why this concept constantly crops up.
The recent excitement over the World Cup made us think: could a competitive sporting event ever replace war? It’s easy to see the similarity between games and warfare: both often involve strategy, cunning, and even (or especially) national pride. Plus, sports are not totally without value in terms of international relations: history has shown that politically charged soccer games and “ping-pong policy” can impact diplomacy. But could a match substitute true combat, and the results honored as definitive during global discord?