There is a tendency by some people to run down sports as trivial. When I first won the junior nationals, I was 16 years old and I was very excited. I started judo at 12 and it was my first time at the juniors. My family is very focused on academics and was unimpressed. One person went so far as to say,
"Yes, I guess it's nice to be number one, but really, isn't that like being the best person in the country at biting bricks in half with your teeth? I mean, who cares? What difference does it make?"
There is this assumption among some people that real work, real talent involves making money or publishing scientific articles. Is that true, though? Did Bernie Madoff, who swindled hundreds of millions of dollars from people, did he have talent? Maybe. Was it a more worthwhile talent than being able to throw someone or teach a kid how to do an arm bar? I'd say he did more harm than good while at worst your average judo/ jiu-jitsu/ grappling instructor probably does a little good, helping people be a little healthier and more disciplined.
The article that got me thinking about all of this was about a Japanese anesthesiologist who was caught having simply made up the data in 172 papers published in scientific journals. If you can have made up your data 172 times before anyone notices and, according to the journals, it had no impact because no one paid attention to those articles anyway - how much talent do you really have?
When I review grants, I often see it stated that Dr. Seemingly Important has published over 200 articles in scientific journals. The articles all have titles like, "The understanding of the concept of two plus two by Cameroon toddlers".
Is the ability to write articles like that and get them accepted into the Cross-cultural Journal of Studies of Preschool Mathematics a more important talent than being able to pin someone so they can't get up? If so, why?