Is their any objective truth that Rugby league is far more entertaining than Rugby Union, or is it simply
a matter of boredom thresholds (ie.Are Union fans entertainment masochists)?
What makes any version of a given sport better, or more entertaining than another version? What
makes this such an interesting question is that clearly involves considerations of aesthetics, but also
something that goes beyond mere aesthetics. It would be possible to argue that 'good game' is a sui
generisnotion which cannot be reduced to 'aesthetically pleasing game'. A good game has got to be
good from the point of view of the participants as well as from the point of view of the onlookers.
Indeed, the game is pleasing to the onlookers because of their informed appreciation of what makes it
a good game to play.
An inventor of a game is free to dictate any rules they like. But whether one oughtto have this or that
rule, given the nature of the particular game in question, is far from being an arbitrary question. To
take an obvious example: how wide should the goal be in soccer? If the goal is too narrow, it will be
too difficult to score; if it is too wide, it will be too easy. The underlying idea is that scoring a goal
should be the reward for resourceful and inspired play. The final score should as much as possible
reflect which team played better on the day.
I am not an expert, but I would surmise from your parenthetical comment that from the point of view of
a Rugby League fan, the problem with Rugby Union is that the rules allow too many occasions for
interrupting the flow of play. A Rugby Union fan, however, might reply the purpose of the rules is
precisely to give the maximum opportunity for teams to succeed through skill rather than mere brawn.
(If you are a keen Rugby League fan, I wouldn't wish you to take offence: as I said, I'm not an expert.)
This is an interesting case where a dispute about which set of rules is objectively 'better' has lead to
two separate sets of rules. (It is interesting to note that some rugby players play for both Rugby
League and Rugby Union.)
So, in some cases, it is very difficult to reach agreement on whether one version of a game is better
or more entertaining than another because different parties to the dispute do not necessarily have the
same priorities. That does not mean that it can never be an objective question whether one game is
better than another. To revert to the soccer example, a version of soccer where the goal mouth was
only slightly greater than width as the ball would be a pretty obvious waste of the players' skill and the