Outside sports

While such attempts are deemed to failure, critical physical cultural and sport scholars will always have to try to define and categorize sports; modern competitive sports, lifestyle sports, team sports, extreme sports (what's the opposite?) are just some of the labels that circulate. A definition "could only", as Michel Serres warns Bruno Latour about in their fabulous interview-dialogue, "be sketched out at the risk of freezing it [in this case various kinds of sports] once again into statuelike concepts, operations or verbs, too simplistic and coarse" (p.116). Still we must, in order to operationalize.

Perhaps a micropolitical perspective in this most Deleuzian of centuries is appropriate? Reminiscing Foucault as a friend (of wisdom) and as a theorist, Deleuze thoroughly treats each of the former's books with tender, love and care. According to Deleuze, Foucault, due to his Discipline and Punish, established himself as 'a new cartographer'. Deleuze's reading of Foucault acknowledges that there is no inside, no core, no essence, only outside. What appears as inside (various institutions) is only the result of several outside forces clashing.

It is in general a question of method: instead of moving from an apparent exteriority to an essential 'nucleus of interiority' we must conjure up the illusory interiority in order to restore words and things to their constitutive exteriority. We must even distinguish between several correlative agencies, of which there are at least three. There is first of all the outside which exists as an unformed element of forces.: the latter come from and remain attached to the outside, which stirs up their relations and draws out their diagrams. And then there is the exterior as the area of concrete assemblages, where relations between forces are realized. And lastly there are the forms of exteriority, since the realization takes place in a split or disjunction between two different forms that are exterior to one another and yet share the same assemblages (confinements and interiorizations being only transitory figures on the surface of these forms) (p.43).

In this regard different sports could be categorized in relation to how many and which forms of exteriority they put on display. Most modern competitive sports, for instance, appear as insides due to their affinity with national and international governing bodies, and hence also with the whole chapter in history of nation-states. Newer forms of sports, without IGBs and NGBs with monopoly, like skateboarding, eSports, and parkour are more overtly exterior. The illusionary insides, 'covertly exterior sports', struggle against the outside noise, which threats to reveal the ephemerality of the insides' notions of them being social systems. And it's a worthy struggle. Overtly exterior sports are much more vulnerable to fragmentization (as was the case with Parkour/freerunning, as well as with eSports).

This demonstration, rather than definition, is still dynamic and open for difference and change. Soccer could be more overtly exterior as in schoolyards and beaches, or covertly exterior, as in the upcoming Champion's League final between Inter and Bayern München. Coupled with Deleuze and Guattari's conceptual cluster of territorialization/deterritorialization/reterritorialization, the concepts of outside, exterior, and forms of exteriority, allow for a to and fro movement, specific to each setting. Perhaps via a dromographic account of the micropolitics of the given sport?

Still unanswered, though, is the question: what makes the chimairic insides of covertly exterior sports resemble each other? Could it be boiled down to mere competition? And where, then, does this leave the concept of a minor (and a Major) sport? Plausibly, Major sport is a pure pole, stripped of everything but the competition clause. But this doesn't mean that minor sport is the same as overtly exterior sports.

D & G mean that Kafka created a 'minor literature' in writing, as a jew in Prague, in German. He pushed the language of the German bureaucrats and oppressors to its limit and beyond, in a stuttering kind of way. Minor literature (as well as sport) is an insider practice with an outsider agenda. Outsider, not as in spy or enemy, but as a pure Foucauldian outsider. To become foreign within, be it language, or sports. Think outsidish inside whatever box. In other words: parasitism. A perfect illustration of this is Barbara Fornssler and Sean Smith's treatment of the concept of the 'switch', which they develop in their analysis of the boardercross-athlete Lindsey Jacobellis' famous final, stuttering, race in the Olympic winter games in Turin 2006.

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