It Gives New Meaning To Artificial Turf…

McLuhan (1964) saw all of man's technologies as media, as forms of communication. He postulated that the introduction of any new technology caused a shift in the sense ratio of a culture, with the effect of altering the very form of that culture, from the way individuals communicated with one another to the very institutions upon which the society existed. He sensed that automobiles, which he referred to as the "mechanical bride," sped up the movement of information (particularly in American society), giving rise to an explosive energy of fragmentation. He notes in Understanding Media:

"The simple and obvious fact about the car is that, more than any horse, it is an extension of man that turns the rider into superman" (p. 197).

This super-powerful burst of energy has had its toll on sport as well. Roads exploded the gymnasium, causing driveways in every suburb to become miniature basketball courts. At electric speed, these courts are beginning to diminish in importance, as we are drawn inexorably by TV, radio and videogame back to Madison Square Garden or Staples Center.

McLuhan points out that obsolete technologies often end up surviving by assuming a different form:

"The horse has lost its role in transportation but has made a strong comeback in entertainment. So with the motorcar. Its future does not belong in the area of transportation" (p. 195).

The same can be said for roads. As the automobile recedes into history, kids are converting city streets into asphault playgrounds, imbuing their sport with a collective style and emotion that is far different from the individualist nature of literate sport.

References

McLuhan, M. (1964). Understanding media. New York: New American Library.

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