When you flip on a professional sporting even today, do you still feel the same as you did as a child? Do the athletes seem the same as far as the spirit of gamesmanship? Do the rivals somehow seemed to have dulled somewhat? Does it appear the intensity is over money instead of championships? Do the fans even look or sound the same? Think about even a few of those questions. You can apply these questions to others you know as well. Look at the kids who practice. Are their ultimate goals still as they were 20 years ago? Do they want rings given or bought? Substance or image?
These questions certainly cannot pigeon hole a few, but they may serve as an umbrella for many. It isn't all cut and dry. Imagine starting your career a Dallas Cowboy, then later ending up a Washington Redskin the next year. Can one be expected to "hate Dallas", or even want to take off the heads of guys they roomed with, or broke bread with, or consider friends? The truest definition of the "great rivalry" has been watered down to where even the media gives it limited exposure. This part of the players emotions doesn't even skim the surface of the fan. These are the people who suffer even more than the game itself. Think about it, then take a look at the arenas and stadiums semi-filling up sporting events today. From the licensed seats to the sky boxes, the seats are bought by corporations at ridiculous prices in order for the franchises to afford players who command salaries many would dream of making in a lifetime as opposed to a year or more that the players accrue theirs in.
You can easily say the players are self absorbed and greedy. You can also easily say they are getting a fair salary in a business that has millions poured into it in several directions. The latter point is more easily seen and heard when you see someone say a player has only been offered $25 million dollars a year. Still, you can say that the institute of sports and society neglects to see the forest through the trees. One possibly cannot begrudge these people getting the cash they rake in, but is their worth really that important? After all, they are playing a child's game for a living. Their contribution to the planet is definitely worth being skeptical of. How much of an education or moral value does sports really have on those who are on its outsides? We know sports has saved most all of those who got involved in some way. Regardless of how one feels towards professional sports, it has a place as important to some as religion and politics. The time they take to occupy lifespans is certainly important to the history of the human race, even if professional sports is the infant of this grouping.
When you walk into an NBA arena these days, you see all the empty seats. The league will point to the fact they had bad publicity. I lovingly prefer to tab it that some are tired of watching a fixed game with a predictable outcome, while watching the league carry their anointed images. Call it the trickle down effect from "The Jordan Rules". Then you may have noticed the LPGA has had to cancel events due to money woes, or the fact that the New York Yankees are having a great deal of difficulty selling seats for their new stadium. This is just the beginning of what should be a downfall for many. With the combination of ticket prices, concession prices, and parking fees, it costs hundreds of dollars to go see some sporting events for a family of just three. This is why the working man, who made most of these pro leagues, is now on the endangered species list for attending sporting events. Some would say he was extinct years ago, but we are just getting around to actually acknowledging it.
History has proven to be a cycle. Man has learned little from some errors, and even neglected to fix some mistakes made. Sports certainly can be placed into this realm. All you have to do is compare the beginnings of some pro leagues to now to see this maybe coming back around to its beginnings. When you see a Manny Ramirez insulted by the Los Angeles Dodgers offer, or hearing how Latrell Sprewell can't feed his kids on a few million dollars a year, one can't help but to roll their eyes. With the way the economy stands right now, you may see a lot of low ball offers in the free agents of Major League Baseball this off season. Players can certainly claim collusion, but the owners have no choice but to circle their financial wagons. Remember : the American League was started by players who felt the owners of the parent National League was not paying a fair salary. Then you look at the NBA and its 10 day contact. If the seats stay empty, you may see more of this. It is reminiscent of the early days of the NFL. Back then, a player played game to game. If you played well, you got paid and moved on to the next game with the team. If you did not, then you weren't even given a bus ticket for a ride home. Pro sports is teetering along with the economy, so those days may be revisited sooner than some may care to imagine.
Is sports doomed? No, but there may be changes on the horizon in the professional ranks. Eventually, if things remain as they are now, fans will have to decide between food and a sporting event. Not even the most die hard of fan can be expected to eschew reality from the fantasy world that sports supplies. Eventually, the leagues will have to reduce salaries. We have already seen the NBA lay off many employees. The last thing to be reduced will be the price of admission. If sports wants to last long in their wealthy ways, they should lower the ticket prices first. We know that is very unlikely though, don't we? You never know what the owners will do. Some think that man will be replaced by machine in the future. It certainly seems more cost friendly, doesn't it? These could be the days that accelerates that happening. Sports will always be a vital part of all society. Professional sports place is much more undecided on its place or importance. While I am far from being a financial wizard, I can see an ugly road being paved ahead. Will we soon see professional sports ask our government for a bailout too? Stay tuned. That is what they ask....and need.
2017 Allen & Ginter: Box 4: Packs 1 - 8
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