There are a great many people who won’t agree with me on this one, but honestly, I don’t see how it’s any different. My “sport” is Survivor. It’s a game. People are eliminated. There are competitions between players. You can have your fantasy teams. And at the end of the season a winner takes all.
No one who watches sports actively do anything other than eat snacks and drink beer on game days, so it’s not as if the “sport” part of the equation means anything to those of us who aren’t participating. And if we are counting the amount of work contestants/players go through, they certainly go through a large amount of body-wreckage like your average sports player, including contracting infectious diseases that often-times wreck havoc on their bodies for years and years to come.
As for the game day rituals, yes! I’ve managed to coerce my family into liking Survivor (mhahaha) and we play a season-long game based on our guesses as to who is going home.
After episode one, we all choose one person as our winner pick who, if we managed to get it right, will be worth a massive amount of points.
Before every episode after the first, we each write down the boot order, from who we think is least likely to go home to who we think is most likely to go home. These are listed by order number. Then, at the end of the episode we circle the eliminated player on each person’s list and whatever placement that player was at is how many points we each get.
Season 40 is going on right now. All winners from previous years (woot! we’ve been waiting for this one for a while!) and I’m winning the game so far with the most points (yay, me!) for the first time ever!!
(My winner pick is Denise, if you watch and wanted to know, but I’m well aware that she’s dead in the water based on the edit /sob)
I’ve done one short story based in the sports category (Under the Black Stars, now only available in Nothing But Seaweed & Other Stories), where people are knocked out in different rounds, a la Hunger Games style (though not dying), because it was kind of in vogue there for a while.
I also wrote Festival of Fools, which is almost like a sporting event where people are knocked out of the festival game (I’m including this one because it’s actually free to read here on my website). I can definitely see the draw and I enjoy reading stories like that as well, especially when they’re done creatively.