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About the Series

During the last three months, the Washington Post asked experts to think about why sports endure, even as the number of diversions available to us continues to increase.

Sports historians, psychologists, sociologists and anthropologists generally agreed on eight fundamental reasons that continue to entice us into competition: Because it thrills us. Because we're curious about our abilities. Because competition yields a social identity. Because, sometimes, it also yields acclaim. We compete, experts said, because doing so is essential to our community. Because it's part of a tradition. Because competition can elicit opportunities that otherwise would remain unattainable. And money. We compete for money.

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These reasons are hardly self-contained, experts said. They bleed together to create a diverse, complex motivational brew. Every athlete usually competes for a few of these reasons -- maybe even for bits and pieces of every one. But at the center of amateur competition, these eight basic reasons continue to compel us.

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Engaging in sports to become fit gives a great personal sense of achievement that's priceless.

Posted by: | May 1, 2007 09:08 AM

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