Skip to main content

Harsh reality sets in for a sports fan...

Sports is a metaphor for life. I've never understood the people who don't like sports. I've played and watched sports since I was able to understand. I played youth baseball and soccer and was a 3 sport varsity athlete. I've had teams I've literally been a fan of since birth. There are few sports I don't enjoy. Sports, like politics, are merely but a peaceful extension of our struggles as humans. 

But unlike politics, few sports have built into them--especially bigtime pro sports--the mechanisms for change necessary to remain free from corruption and remain enjoyable in changing times. At least, assuming you believe in democracy, politics has built into it the ability to rise above the mainstream in opposition to the inevitable corruption and abuse that will take place. 

It's getting harder to pay good money or waste good time watching crybaby millionaires focus more on selling something than competing. It's getting harder to watch leagues where not every team has an equal shot at the title at the beginning of the season. It's getting harder to watch ego and cash win over team, fairness, or sportsmanship. Need I say more than the NBA lockout? Or the Penn State child abuse scandal? Or the way baseball has added another team to the playoffs not because it improves competition or fans demand it, but it adds a new twist to make some extra cash? The NCAA rules the lives of college athletes without letting them get fair compensation for their efforts. Too often, what goes on off the field matters more than what happens on it. 

What dad doesn't want to take his kid to a baseball game though? But how do you explain to your kids that the simplicity of a stick and ball or getting a point for hitting a net is really secondary to a vast industry that cares little about them? 

I could talk up running here as a pure sport where it is you against the clock, but that's not true either. Despite the relatively more-virtuous way that marathoning is still just a tough challenge for a person to attempt, it's gotten commercial, money-driven, and at the elite levels is being rocked by questions from a governing body about what is/isn't a record. 

There just comes a time as an evolved, thinking human being, however, where I can't justify supporting an industry where the wheels have come off despite whatever underlying Truth there may be. It's something like the difference between religion and spirituality. The institution of sports is wrong. The spirit of competition is right. 

I've become a much more jaded sports fan after having kids and watching real crisis going on around the globe. There is honor in putting physical and mental skills to the test against others. The waters get murky when that gets played on a grand scale of persons with questionable talent/ethics getting paid more than any person should to do what is otherwise a non-lifeskill. 

We demonize actors quite willingly for getting big money for doing nothing. But we're quite willing to make heroes out of professional athletes. 

As a sports fan, I'm getting mighty close to opting out. I'm done. What I have left is mild interest with a side of snarky commentary about how ridiculous the whole thing is. Your team is winning? Really? Great. And that helps move civilization forward how? 

If you're really such a sports fan get up off your butt and go play one. 

Comments