Millions of football fans tuned in to the Super Bowl yesterday to watch two teams compete for the championship. Years of hard work on an individual level and a year of hard work on a team level came to fruition yesterday. For a few, their dreams of ultimate success came true.
I didn’t watch. I don’t watch. It doesn’t make sense to me on any level.
Back in high school, I loved sports. I played field hockey and knew how huge it was to have fans and neighbors come out to support the team as we represented our hometown. In turn, I went to the soccer games, football games, cross country matches, basketball games, etc. to support my friends and classmates in their representation of our town. I was proud to be from Skowhegan, home of the field hockey state champions several years in a row and home of the basketball team; home of the drama and speech team; home of my friends and family and neighbors.
I also coached. I coached kindergarten basketball, helped with flag football, track and field, softball, soccer, etc. I had my hands in local sports every season as a fan, a coach, an assistant, as a player. Sports are an incredible resource for developing a person’s character and way of handling the world.
In college, I went to the hockey games and was a proud “Main-iac” with a blue and white painted face. I even went to a few football and basketball games and one cross-country match. Even though the athletes were often recruited and given hefty scholarships to come to Maine to play, they ultimately chose to play for Maine and represent the Black Bears.
Pro sports just don’t have what it takes to keep my interest like high school and college sports. The players are traded and lured with big contracts. Taxpayers foot much of cost of building and maintaining the stadiums in hopes of increasing revenue and tourism for games. The players get themselves into trouble and become questionable role models for youth. I just don’t care about pro sports.
But I could, if things were different. I often wonder what pro sports would be like if they were run the way I think they should be. I wonder what pro sports would be like if the players were actually from the regions they represent.
If the players for Boston sports teams were from the greater Boston and New England area. I wonder what would happen if a player had to live and pay taxes in a region he wanted to transfer to and play for before being an active member of the team, say one or two years, and during that time, be an active member of the community.
I wonder what would happen if instead of taxpayers hefting the cost of stadiums (just one of many related articles – take a look!), if a percentage (10%?) of the profit from ticket sales, merchandise, and endorsements went to supporting local schools.
I wonder what would happen if the players, as part of their contracts, donated time to their communities: coaching youth sports, engaging in literacy and writing programs, engaged in community revitalization projects and home building projects.
I wonder what would happen if a player that gets in trouble with the law is suspended from playing for a season or two for minor offenses and are banned from playing for major ones. I wonder what would happen if communities began owning their teams on a much deeper level than happens now by sending their youth to play for their region’s team. How would it change a region’s identity?
I really wonder what would happen if any one of these things happened. I know that I would have a far greater interest in pro sports if the players for my region’s team were actually from my region. I’m curious. I want to know how the teams would look if the current players out there were actually playing for the team they “came from.” I’m going to work on a project to match players with their home region and see what the teams would look like. Could be interesting.
If you could change pro sports, what would you change? Why?
Anywho. I hope you have a fantastic week. Make today great!