There is a segment of the population in the United States that believe that sports are a distraction to the more important things in life.
The questions of, “You could tell me who played quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys in 1976 but you can’t tell me the name of your Congressman?” Or, “How could you watch sports and do nothing while protesters are being beaten and having their civil rights trampled defending the Dakota access pipeline?”
These questions are important and come from people with the right intentions. One should know the names of their elected official. One should be concerned with the protests going on in the Dakota’s. The questions are not the problem. It’s the perceived notion that because a person is choosing to engage in watching or participating in sporting events, then that person surely must not care about anything else. It is the division between the two classes of people. Everything in this country right now is about division and I’m sick of it, and I think there are a number of others who would agree with me. Don’t get it twisted, sports fans are not in the right either. Looking down on someone who doesn’t enjoy the same entertainment you do is wrong. Sports fans live in a bubble. They believe because they are in an arena or stadium with thousands of other people, everyone must be doing the same thing they are. When in reality, sports fans are the minority.
If ESPN is one of your most-watched channels, this is a reality that is hard to believe. When viewers saw the Chicago Cubs parade, or the Cleveland Cavaliers parade; the optics were astonishing. Hundreds of thousands of people, if not millions came to celebrate their cities sports team earning championship honors. However, for every 1 person at the parade, there are 100+ people that don’t even know who the Cubs are.
Sports fans need to pop their proverbial bubble and recognize this reality. In the same way people who don’t enjoy sports shouldn’t ridicule sports fans, vice versa must be the same.
I’m not talking about the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, MLL, etc. Professional sports are nothing more than entertainment, and I will be the first to admit:
I AM ENTERTAINED.
I am entertained beyond belief, obsessed even.
However, sport’s fans like myself sole focus shouldn’t be on athletes that have already became professional.
A New York Times study has shown that high school students who participated in athletics up until graduation tend to get better jobs, with higher pay.
The study showed that hiring managers expect former athletes to have more self-confidence, self-respect and leadership compared to students who participated in other popular extra-curricular activities.
With these facts at our disposal, I think it is saddening to see high-school sports as nothing more than an activity that parents of the players should watch. What’s more exciting: seeing some man you’ve never met score a field goal in basketball, or seeing the girl you sit next to in chemistry class make the exact same shot.
Don’t get me wrong. I understand the sentiment of wanting to watch people compete at the highest talent-level possible.
That’s not the point.
Becoming a professional athlete goes beyond the definitional standards of the word rare. Only the top one percent of the top one percent make it to that level, and once they do, they are compensated for competing. High school athletes on the other hand do not get paid. They do not get “free-or-reduced education” like college athletes. High school athletes are out there competing because they choose to, and we as a society need to place a higher value, or at least an equal value on the athletes in our community. Not the best player in our communities, not the spotlighted player on the local evening news. Every player, of every team, in every sport needs our support.