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Cultural acceptance / expectations account for a lot of behaviors. I played soccer & baseball as a boy because that was what was expected of me, not because I have some natural inclination to do so.

Did you? You telling me you got no innate enjoyment out of those activities? No rush or thrill when you scored a goal or caught a pop fly?

I mean, like, I was happy that I did well and all, but I don't think I was intrinsically excited about that kind of thing as a child.

Given your tone, it sounds like you sincerely believe that I am more likely to have positive feelings about doing well in a game than a girl is for reasons that are not cultural / social.

That's the premise of the article but not the premise of what I'm saying. I think that enjoyment in sports and games in general is an innate part of human psychology. I suspect there are differences on average across a population in what types of games or sports they prefer and that may be more cultural. But the general pattern is there isn't a civilization existing or past that hasn't had some sort of sporting or gaming events, and "play" is also found in many other species.

You would have to score a goal or catch a pop fly in order to experience those things.

My attempts at team sports when young were full of experiences of being insufficent and bullying or ostracism by the more athletic team members. So I didn't ask to go back and didn't join them later on for school teams, and had minimal interest in even observing them. Learning the rulesets was fine, I can follow an american football game, but I can't bring myself to actually care about teams or players or the league itself.

A bit tangential to that comment, there is a fascinating biological aspect to watching and caring about sport.

When people gain social status they produce more hormones which regulates how much effort is spent on defending social status. When a person win in a competition like sport their hormone rises. The interesting part is that for sport fans, their bodies also react just as they have gain status. The body mimic what it perceive as an extension of itself.

This explain a finding that in sport riots it is usually the winning side that "starts" the fight, through a more fair description is that the winning side reacts more extremely when they perceive to be challenged.

Well that seems to follow from dominance hierarchies and we tend to gravitate towards activities we excel in or have a good chance of excelling in, because we get innate enjoyment from being better than average at various things. And that is deeply wired in our psychological system.

So sure, if you're not skilled or naturally gifted in sports, there are other paths for you to achieve excellence. And that's perfectly fine.

Truth is, the vast majority of the people bullying you eventually dropped out of sports as they tried to climb the hierarchy themselves, whether in high school, college, or later. Society can only have so many pro sports players and so it goes. At least you got a head start on finding yourself and alignment with your interests and better talents.

I joined the school hockey team just because all of my friends were there. I didn't really care about the competition, just wanted to hang out with people and run around a bit.

In a way I used the sports team as a kind of social media.

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