Sports for shorties?
Tonight saw the debut of the 5th season of The Ultimate Fighter, a reality show in which mixed martial arts fighters compete to win UFC contracts. This season the fighters are from the 155-lb lightweight class, and so all appear 5'9 or shorter. Even though this is the one sport I actually enjoy watching, I never get into it as though I could imagine myself as one of them -- most of the guys are over 6' and 180 lbs, whereas I'm 5'8 and 135 lbs. Now, even the shorties have 20 extra pounds of muscle that I don't, but if I went on a weight-gaining / muscle-pumping regimen, I could probably get near 150 lbs. So, shorties like me who watch get the sense that "that could be me if I dedicated myself to it."
As I have no interest in sports, can some of the readers explain why there aren't weight / height classes in non-combat sports? That way, almost all teenage guys would get involved in the sports culture. I and people like me never did because, for one thing, we would get mowed down by taller, bigger guys. But pit the average height / weight guys against each other only, and you'd get an interesting match. It wouldn't be hard to just lower the net a bit when the average or short guys played, and I don't think height affects your ability to kick a field goal, so the goalposts could be the same. Ditto lacrosse, and pretty much anything else. You'd feel silly at first, but assuming you were good at the sport against those in your same class, the other kids at school would give you respect.
As things are, the only sports that non-beasts can join are pretty brutal: wrestling, boxing, martial arts, and so on. The trouble is that these are closer to the "barely civilized form of beating the shit out of each other" end of the sports spectrum, which many guys aren't interested in (except for the more Natural Born Killer types like my 5'7 younger brother, who did wrestling in HS and is now enlisted in the Army). Notice that they are all individualistic sports -- however, most guys want to play or watch sports in order to join a larger team, and to contribute to making it a winning team. That leaves a huge pool of demand unmet by the supply of high school sports, and given what a psychotic sports culture we have, that looks pretty odd. So what's the deal?