"A word in earnest is as good as a speech"
~Charles Dickens: Bleak House

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Boston Sports

I feel the need to apologize to the city of Boston. I am not a sports fan. I didn't shed a tear the many years that the Red Sox did not win the World Series, didn't really notice when the Patriots won the Superbowl (three times), I actually got angry when the Celtics started winning (my son was a really big fan and when they were losing we could afford tickets to go the the games), and if it were not for my friends minute by minute status updates on facebook (and my screaming neighbors next door) I would not have known that the Bruins finally brought home the Stanley Cup.

I don't know when I lost that sports feeling. I remember as a kid bringing the small black & white tv into my room, covering the rabbit ears with foil so that channel 38 came in and watching the Celtics play. They were my favorite, I loved basketball. But somewhere between then and now it just wasn't as exciting - even with the HD big screen tv.

I understand that a winning sports team can bring a city together ... "Root, root, root for the hometeam!" But I kind of have the same problems with sports that I did about the Teen Mom. There are so many players that behave badly and we reward that behavior, we allow them to be our children's role models, and we pay them more then some small towns pay for education in a year all because they can dunk a ball or score a goal or run around some bases. Below are some examples!
Michael Vick - do I really need to add a link to more information here?

I have spent quite a bit of time looking these up ..... not because it took long to find news articles about athletes behaving badly, but because it is hard to follow up on the arrests to see what happened at trial and whether or not they were allowed to continue to play.

I completely understand that once people pay their debt to society, they should be allowed to start their lives over again ..... I just don't think that their new life should necessarily include being role models to our children (the NFL actually markets itself as a family franchise so don't tell me being a role model is not part of their job description) nor should be allowed to pick up their million dollar salaries like nothing ever happened. A couple of people listed above actually got to do their jail time off season so that they could return quickly to their game.

There are consequences for our actions ..... maybe if losing a contract worth millions of dollars was one of them athletes would behave better on and off the field (or ice or court).

The majority of players just want to play the game, they do not beat their wives, or take steriods, or cheat, or do drugs, or assault people. Unfortunately you do not hear much about these people in the media (the occasional fundraiser to cure cancer, but that is really it). These types of athletes are really not interesting to the public unless they are on the field - so we focus on those that are vulgar, violent, sexist, and crude .... rude to their fans (Lebron James), vicious and unapologetic on the ice (Aaron Rome), crazy in the ring (Mike Tyson), or who cheat on their wife (Tiger Woods). And they all still get paid .... why .... because the audience accepts it as business as usual. And that is a shame.

My son has played soccer, baseball, basketball and runs track. I hope that he gets to play in college ... and I hope more than anything he does not play professionally (that is a pretty realistic hope actually). He enjoys the game, he plays for fun and I think that gets lost in the craziness that is professional sports.


  1. I'm so with you on this one...and have something to add as well. A world where someone can earn millions to PLAY A GAME but teachers, nurses, and people who make the things we use everyday have to struggle to get by has some very serious priority problems, and will pay for them in the long run.

  2. Absolutely right Leann - and in its way the theme of a number of my blogs. I love sport - and as a Brit, I love my soccer - but the professional game and its players, their excesses, their life style choices and the example that they set to the young says much not only about them and the sport but about the perverted values in our societies.