Some quick thoughts on sports (since the topic has popped up recently). If you’re not a sports person – you can skip this.
I know there aren’t many of my friends that follow sports. Those that do follow, I’m certain will have comments… and probably have better arguments than I will about these short topics.
Football. I’m really glad that football season has come around again. I enjoy watching games. No, I’m not a fanatic, I just enjoy the game. I believe the level of fanaticism is a major contributing factor to big issues we have today. I’ve avoided comment on the Penn State scandal for the most part. For my friends that don’t live in the area you need to understand how difficult this was. That was the only news here. There wasn’t anything else on the newscasts until 6 stories deep no matter what it was. It was the main topic of discussion at many times when I was out and about because there are so many grads that live and work in this area. The closest pro team is a 90 minute drive away – but people have that fanatic relationship with Penn State football as if it was the “pro” team for this area. Not being from here originally – I never really got that.
I believe that fanaticism is part of what has hurt football. This culture that people connected to the team can do no wrong. We’ve seen the results of win and get big money at all costs will really cost. I know there are those out there that will say there are measures to stop this and it’s not true anymore – but I really wonder and doubt. It’s difficult to change the way money talks. What other job can you get that will pay you 4 million a year if you’re “pretty good” at what you do relative to the rest of the work force? There have been a few examples I can think of where the player tried to go and do something else and ended up returning because nothing else would allow him to meet his debts.
So – in small steps the tide might be turning. I saw a news report where a famous football player attempted to speak at an event and was denied. I’m not sure all the background on it, but the folks running the event said, “…we had a procedure and you didn’t follow it” then took the microphone away. That player still got his message out there because the media wouldn’t let that go, but the meeting didn’t make an exception just because he’s a well known former (famous) player. Colleges that used to sell out are struggling with stadiums that are three quarters empty.
The pros are still fighting on. They’re doing whatever they can to keep their money – possibly at the cost of the game itself. The refs are just the most recent example. How high will the quality really be when you’re grabbing the folks that are willing to push out the people that used to do the job? What if your employment verification system fails – publicly?
I know that sports and team activities like this are important. I know the lesser known teams like volleyball, field hockey, lacrosse… essentially anything that isn’t baseball, football or basketball still generally get it right. I’m not sure any of the pro leagues will ever get it right again.
The one hope I have that things will right themselves is a slim one. Hockey.
There are a lot of true fans out there that will hate me for saying this but I hope the lock out continues and they lose another season. Right now isn’t the time for billionaires to be squabbling with millionaires about how much they think they can suck out of the fans that struggle to pay $100+ ticket prices for a game. Yes – a GAME.
I say it’s a slim hope because hockey has already missed an entire season and it only made folks come back to it with more vigor (and cash) than ever. I still hope that enough people turn away that the financial situation rights itself. I’m disillusioned with professional sports. Maybe they’ll come around – or maybe the people will get tired of all their shenanigans and take their money someplace else. Time will tell.