'Sports is man's joke on God'

Utah Utes center Dallin BachynskiGodofredo Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports via ReutersUtah Utes center Dallin Bachynski (31) and forward Jordan Loveridge (21) celebrate after the game against the Georgetown Hoyas in the third round of the 2015 NCAA Tournament at Moda Center.

March Madness is here, and millions of people who aren’t normally college basketball fans are intently watching a cascade of games to see how their brackets are holding up.

Why is it that we care?

A 2006 Sports Illustrated article by Gary Smith includes perhaps the best answer. Smith profile Sam Kellerman, a promising boxing journalist who was murdered by a boxer whom Kellerman had taken into his home.

Kellerman was a sports writing prodigy of sorts, and his legacy is carried on by his brother and boxing analyst Max Kellerman.

As a kid, Sam provided an argument for why man invented sports that gets to the heart of why seemingly frivolous games matter:

“Sports is man’s joke on God, Max. You see, God says to man, ‘I’ve created a universe where it seems like everything matters, where you’ll have to grapple with life and death and in the end you’ll die anyway, and it won’t really matter.’

“So man says to God, ‘Oh, yeah? Within your universe we’re going to create a sub-universe called sports, one that absolutely doesn’t matter, and we’ll follow everything that happens in it as if it were life and death.'”

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