I love sports. Always have. I grew up playing all the usual sports and eagerly tried out a lot of others when I got older. I’ve always been a big spectator, too, watching everything from football, basketball and baseball to soccer, track, cycling, volleyball, water polo – whatever was on, you know?
But these days I watch less sports than at any point in my life, and it seems likely that this downward trend is going to continue. The why is pretty simple. I was raised old school by a grandfather who grew up playing through the Depression. People who knew him back then and saw him play said that under different circumstances he might have been good enough to play in the Bigs. Maybe. Hard to say, because the hard realities of life intruded on the dreams of many in his generation. So he wound up working for a few dollars a week and playing ball on the weekends.
There was a right way and a wrong way to play. Hard, but fair. Sportsmanship mattered. Team ethics mattered. And no game ever happened unless the chores were done and the academics were satisfactorily completed. I was taught to love sport but to understand its rightful place in life. We hear a lot of talk about how sports teaches lessons – yeah, it does. And I was one of the ones who learned it the right way.
I look at the sporting landscape today, though, and I feel like I’m the only one. With each passing day it gets harder and harder to watch sports without feeling the need to take a shower afterwards. If you’re a principled, thinking person, you may spend a lot of time, as I do, realizing that your continued attention to the game is helping finance all the things that are wrong, and you wonder how much longer you can take it. (More…)