I love sports. I love watching them and I love playing them. I grew up as a Utah Jazz fan and never missed a game. I cried when John Stockton retired and cursed Karl Malone when he sold us out to go to the Lakers (I still chuckle every time I think about them getting dismantled by the Pistons in the finals that year). March madness is my favorite time of year and I was annoyed when I had mono a few years back and was down for a month, and it cleared up right before the tournament started. But at the same time, I hate sports. I hate that our youth today have such self-absorbed twerps as role models. I hate that people who provide so little real value to our society are paid so much more than the people who do (don’t even get me started on Congress). And I hate sports have become the opium of the masses in our modern society.
I don’t judge people for their love of sports. In fact, my father-in-law is the biggest sports fan I know. He’ll schedule his vacations around watching his favorite teams play in person. That’s something he’s passionate about, and every now and then I get to benefit from that passion. But I do see a lot of problems that sports have caused for our society as a whole.
Sports twist kids’ perceptions
I’m amazed at how much time and money we pump into prep sports. My wife’s 13-year-old sister plays on a select soccer team and is expected to travel almost weekly during the season to tournaments anywhere between two and six hours away, with no guarantee that she’ll actually get to play. When I was growing up, all the “cool kids” in my school were athletes. They got most of the attention and won all the popularity contests (i.e. Homecoming royalty, student body officer elections, etc.).
This makes it so that a lot of kids grow up thinking that the only way to be successful is to be good at sports. Kids get made fun of for being nerdy or scrawny, when they have just as much or more capacity to make a difference in the world. There are scholarships galore for student athletes, but not so much for other specialized skills. And why is that? It’s all about the money.
When I was young, I wanted to be an actor when I grew up. I was one of the leads in A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 6th grade and I memorized all my lines the morning we began rehearsing. But other kids made fun of me because I was short, chubby and four-eyed. I noticed that all of the kids who didn’t get made fun of were into sports, so at that time, the only way I felt I could fit in was to drop my Theater class and add a Basketball class. After all, it was much manlier. I love playing basketball now, but who knows what would have happened if I had let myself be me.
Sports are a waste of time
I have absolutely no problem with watching sports. I still watch BYU football games every week, but I never fully watch the game anymore. I’m always doing something while I’m watching, whether it’s working on the blog or—well, let’s be honest. I spend most of my free time working on the blog. But really, a few hours out of the week aren’t really that bad. And it’s entertainment. But what other type of entertainment do you know of that takes so much of your time?
You see, it’s not over when the game’s over. Then you have to read about it the next day in the newspaper. You have to watch the highlights on Sportscenter. You have to see how the other teams in the division are doing. The commentary never ends. On top of that, you have fantasy sports, which is basically Dungeons and Dragons for jocks. I don’t even want to admit how much time I wasted working on my fantasy baseball team the last two years. But I won the league championship this year, so it was all worth it, right? Think of all the things I could have done with that time. We’re talking at least 5 hours a week, sometimes even more when I was doing some real strategizing.
I came, I saw, I conquered. And it really wasn’t worth it.
Sports are a waste of money
I hear a lot of people complain about how much professional athletes get paid (we’re not going to use the word “earn” here). Do you want to know why they get paid so much? Because you dingbats keep spending top dollar to watch them play! Professional sports are capitalism at its best, people. And we’re the suckers. Sure, professional sports bring a lot of revenue into the economy of the cities where they reside. There’s a lot of tax revenue that come in from it as well. But with the amount of money those cities spend on new stadiums and other facilities, I’m not really convinced it’s a win-win situation for everyone.
Then you’ve got the sports apparel. I have some shirts, hoodies, and a hat I like to wear. It’s fun to show my support for my teams and it definitely has that psychological effect of belonging to some special group, but I’ve never actually paid for any of it. In my opinion, it’s not worth the premium that you pay just to look cool. I am, however, grateful when I get them as gifts. That may seem hypocritical, but if that’s what they choose to do with their money, that’s fine with me. I’m just not going to spend my money on it.
So there you have it. My love hate relationship with sports. How do you feel about sports? What’s the most money you’ve spent on something related to sports?
bt dubs, I want to do a little shout out to J. Money for sharing my post about what I learned about money as a Mormon missionary. You’re the man!