Friday, September 7, 2012

Give me a ‘Y’! Give me an ‘A’! Give me a ‘W’...

So, another season of big-money football is underway.

Pardon me while I let-out an exaggerated yawwwwn...

Between the collegiate openers this past weekend the NFL’s kick-off this week, I’d say, “Someone wake me when it’s over.” But, there’s too much work to be done for me to play Rip van Winkle just yet.

As big-leaguers suit-up for over four months of gridiron action, we will be treated to professional debuts of a couple hundred football players who blew-off – oops, um, who deferred – their remaining coursework of their final academic year to focus on becoming the most drool-worthy cut of meat at the butcher store – oops, um, to get the best look possible for the draft back in the spring.

They dedicated four years – or perhaps three years (or even in a few cases two years) – to prepare themselves for that rite of passage.

For many of them, first it was draft day and now their opening games will become the most important days of their lives... as opposed to graduating from college... or a wedding day... or when one lands the job of a lifetime... or the birth of a child... and so on.

”Stating the obvious” alert!
I won’t lie to you, I harbor an emergent bias against big money sports. Ironically, I used to be one of the biggest sports junkies you could ever experience the disdain for meeting. But, that has been giving-way to a new perspective.

On the one hand, there are directly related points which steered me to this line of thought: the hyper-saturation of sports on television (not to mention online); the farce which has become of every league’s collective bargaining agreement processes – which boil-down to millionaires quibbling with billionaires; that so many of us feel driven to excuse every kind of insidious behavior by athletes from domestic abuse to drunk driving to running dog fighting operations; and my growing abhorrence for celebrity worship – which glorification of sports inevitably entails.

On the other hand is the myriad of real issues and stories such as 9% unemployment, the continued decline of our currency, the failure of the War on Drugs, war of some nature taking place on six out of seven continents, and the loss of freedom and liberty at the hands of a growing, out-of-control government.

But wait! There’s more...
Additionally, it is undeniable that society’s entrenched, unshakable obsession with sports is intertwined with several sources of misery in everyday life – which stem from the fact far too many of us seek (as discussed above) to turn a blind eye to the behaviors of athletes.

It begins in high school. Our youth very quickly grasp that as a result of their participation in sports they enjoy being treated differently by being allowed to conduct themselves under a more relaxed set of standards. The top-performing players even take-on a degree of celebrity status that simply is not healthy for someone at such a young age.

As a result, the inclination for bullying increases. Every one of us has witnessed this in our own life experiences – a herd or mob mentality creeping-in as young people realize the value of safety in numbers – under the guise of unity – when engaging in bullying.

Such privileged treatment all too often fuels a sense of entitlement and superiority that a number of these individuals will carry with them for a lifetime: these are people who will grate our nerves on a day-to-day basis. We all have had someone like that as a co-worker, relative, neighbor, or somewhere in our lives.

And, it only gets worse in college. I’ve seen it. As an erstwhile sports editor for my school’s student newspaper, I have seen it.

Through the decades, the immunity and entitlement mentalities clearly have trickled-up into the ranks of coaches and administrators – as demonstrated by the horrific Jerry Sandusky scandal at Penn State.

I’m sure a number of you don’t agree with the reasons for my waning enthusiasm toward sports. I know to my west there are football fans by the thousands excited about former Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck coming to their team. Of course, to my east, there is the burning question of whether the Steelers can find a serviceable backup for Ben Rapistburger... er, I mean Ben Roofieburger... er, I mean... Oh hell – you know who I mean.

Still, in anticipation of another autumn of increased intellectual drudgery, part of me has drafted a big yawn while another part is recruiting my hand to cover the resultant void.

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