Muscle Sport Magazine

EXERCISE IS NOT A SPORT: A BRIEF LESSON IN GAME THEORY

By Jea Jung – In game theory, there are two types of games and two types of players – finite and infinite. For the sake of illustration, I’ll apply a simplified explanation of how this incongruity is the reason why the current “sport” of fitness is forever oxymoronic.

 

Finite players seek to end the game by determining clear winners and losers. Finite games are designed to serve this purpose.

 

Infinite players seek ways to keep the game going. Infinite games are designed to have no clear winners, losers or conclusion.

 

When finite players are engaged in an infinite game, or conversely infinite players in a finite game, there is a fundamental problem. Bodybuilding shows, powerlifting meets and CrossFit competitions are all dysfunctional attempts to force infinite players into a finite structure; it’s fucking ridiculous.

 

 

Fitness “athletes” are infinite players. Winning, in the traditional context, is not the true goal because you will NEVER witness a bodybuilder, powerlifter or CrossFit competitor spend years of their life training to achieve a highest level in their discipline and then abruptly quit after getting their first plastic trophy. Compete on a Saturday – win or lose – back in the gym on Monday for reasons nobody can quite understand. The next one I guess, not sure when, not sure why.  But no NFL, NBA, NHL or any other finite player will keep showing up for practice after they’ve finished the season, won the title or hung up the jersey.

 

Fitness competitions are finite games. Not by design, but by failure. The failure of the organizers of the “sport” to respect and recognize the immutable laws of game theory. Weak attempts at clearly defined rules, boundaries, winners and losers are quickly exposed as vagary upon a surface inspection. Personal, political, financial and sexual agendas are baked in every cake. But as strange as it is, it doesn’t matter – everyone else is actually there just to keep the game going.

 

 

And the ultimate irony – human subjectivity and rule set ambiguity is the only way to reconcile the disparate nature of the game and players.

 

The goal of the IFBB to get bodybuilding into the Olympics – impossible gentlemen, and good luck.

 

Be sure to visit www.superleague.live and follow Jea Jung on Instagram – @jea.jung

 

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