Professional Sports The Opiate of the Masses - picture of silhouetted football player

Professional Sports: The Opiate of the Masses

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I have to admit, I was once a huge sports fan. Growing up, my family planned our lives around the sporting events in which we were taking part. As I moved on to college, I participated in college sports for a while. Later, I planned my weekends around watching football. Since one of my best friends had season tickets to football and basketball, I was lucky enough to be able to attend a lot of these games. I was even luckier that my favorite teams all happened to be really good during this period of time. It was a lot of fun.

My friends and I lived and breathed for these weekends. Not only did we get all dressed up to go to the games, we also spent hundreds of dollars buying food and drinks while we were there. Furthermore, we invested ourselves emotional into the outcomes. If my team lost, I would often find myself in a really bad mood for a few days. I began to realize that my obsession with sports – especially football – probably wasn’t very healthy.

After I met Holly, my relationship with professional sports changed. First of all, I had moved away from my childhood home. As such, it had become increasingly difficult to be able to find my favorite teams playing on television. Furthermore, my priorities were slowly changing as I grew older. No longer, did I find it necessary to devote an entire day of the week – plus Monday night – to watching football. Also, Holly has never been much of  a sports fan. As we began to spend more time together, I no longer had anybody to watch the games with anyway.

I have to confess that, at this point in my life, I really couldn’t care less about professional sports. (Ah, that felt good!) Go ahead, take my man card away from me. Excommunicate me from the cool kids club. I don’t really mind. It took a long time for me to realize this, and it took even longer for me to admit it to myself. Yet, the fact remains that I just don’t care about professional sports anymore. In fact, I think that they have become a detriment to our society. Here is why.

Professional Sports are a Waste of Money

Let’s face it: professional sports are a giant waste of money. Last year, Americans spent $25.4 billion dollars on professional sports. That is a staggering amount of money to spend on anything, much less to spend it to watch overgrown men playing children’s games. This amount doesn’t even include taxpayer money spent on stadiums.

Professional sports apologists will say that the teams bring recognition to the town. They provide the city with huge tax revenues. I say that is mostly malarkey. Our city spent close to $1 billion on a new football stadium – and it was completely taxpayer-funded. Estimates say that the tax revenue should pay for the stadium in…oh…about 30 years…just in time for the team to want another new stadium. Even more disgraceful is that the city cut police officers and funding for education at the same time the stadium was built. Now, that is fiscal responsibility at its finest!

Look, I still wear the baseball cap of my favorite team. I even have a few shirts that were given to me sporting my favorite team’s logos. Still, I’ll never understand why we are willing to spend so much of our hard-earned dollars to buy overpriced clothing and tickets simply so that we can feel like we belong to this corporately contrived group.  With the amount of debt that Americans face and the trouble that many are having making ends meet on a day-to-day basis, spending this much money on professional sports is a travesty. We have our financial priorities way out of whack.

Professional Sports are a Waste of Time

Watching professional sports is an utter waste of time. Look, I know that professional sports are entertainment. They are like an interactive soap opera for adults – males especially. Yet, most entertainment does not require our utter devotion and attention for days on end.

I’m not even that concerned about people who spend 3 hours watching their favorite team play once a week. However, for many, professional sports have become an obsession. When you are spending your entire weekend – plus Monday and Thursday nights – watching a game, you may have a problem. Add to that all of the time that people spend researching their favorite players and teams, setting their fantasy lineups, and listening to sports talk radio and you have a giant amount of time being wasted on professional sports.

Why not use that time more wisely? Spend it with your family or be productive. If we spent as much time and energy on things that bear real life weight instead of wasting it on professional sports, we could really make a difference in people’s lives – including our own.

Professional Sports Distract from What is Really Important

It is kind of sad, really. As humans, we desparately want to belong to something successful and important. Professional sports provide people with that opportunity, although it is a false sense of belonging and importance. The marketing geniuses working for these giant businesses have created communities around their games. They’ve convinced masses of people that their participation in these communities is a must for the communities “success.” They tell the fans – which, by the way, is short for “fanatic” – that the team can’t do it without them. In fact, they make people feel as if the team’s success is somehow a personal success of their own.

The truth is that participation from fans has very little to do with the team’s prospects for success. Sure, crowd noise in the stadium may affect the outcome of a particular play or game. However, your participation from home means nothing. Your “I’ve gotta support the team attitude” doesn’t make a hill of beans difference. What it does do is convince you to spend more money on crap, lining the pockets of the owners and athletes.

Professional sports provides people with an escape from reality. It blinds them to the real issues of the world – issues like politics, taxes, and world events that actually do affect their lives directly and should matter to them. Professional sports have become an opiate to the masses, allowing large numbers of us to be more easily fleeced.

Don’t get me wrong. I still enjoy watching the occasional game. I still cheer for my favorite professional sports teams. However, while it may have taken years to do so, I have finally broken through the mind-numbing fog in which professional sports had me enveloped. I have finally put them in their proper perspective as it relates to my real life. I have ended my obsession and have used my new-found time and money to better my life and the life of my family. I just hope more people can realize what I have before their lives – and their coin – slip away.

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  1. For me it is my college team, but there have been times recently that I have thought maybe I should give up sports altogether. The cost to attend, plus drinks and food, is outrageous.
    And the cost isn’t just in pro sports, look at some of these big time college programs. It is an obsession, and I think the money these pro athletes make is ridiculous. My attention span for pro football is good for a few hours. I don’t watch Thursday night or Monday night football.

    1. Very true. College fans are just as obsessive, and college sports have become just as big of a business as pro sports.

      1. As a friendly acquaintance of mine once said …..

        “I’m not into blood,sports,and competition.” – Jim Miller

      2. You are so right. Sports are not sport if the player is paid in any way they are then just entertainers, just like the monkeys on the chain of an organ grinder in old black and white movies

  2. Even obsessions with college sports confuse me. When you first meet people here, the along with name and occupation, they usually also want to know “Gator” or “Seminole”. Honestly, I don’t even know the difference most of the time and could care less – yet people walk around wearing orange and red all fall. To me it’s ridiculous.

    1. It is kind of silly for grown-ups to act like that, isn’t it?

    2. Bread and circus . Sports suck. Useless eaters is what these sports fans are.

  3. Good post. I understand your argument and while I agree with some of it, I don’t entirely. If you’re devoting multiple days like you say to watching a sport and are hugely invested in it then I can see how it’s a waste of time…especially if you have a family. I think the key is to find balance while not investing yourself entirely in whatever game it is you choose to follow.

    In regards to the waste of money aspect and tax dollars being used, I do know that there are instances where it can be a huge boondoggle with taxes. I live in Omaha where we have the College World Series each year. They just finished building a big stadium for it that was funded by both private & public tax dollars. Each year tens of millions of dollars is pumped into the local economy because of the CWS. From hotels, to restaurants, to rental car companies, they all get to benefit from the influx of money which in turn helps our local economy. So, if done right, the cost is well worth it.

    So, like I said previous I think a lot of it comes down to balance…much like most things in life does. Thankfully I am no longer watching days worth of games each week, because as you know with little ones that’s not really possible even if I wanted to. 🙂

    1. I totally agree that it is a balance. Unfortunately, I know a lot of people who don’t realize that.

      Omaha is one of the lucky places that gets to host a huge event yearly. I’ve been to the College World Series, back at Rosenblatt, and it was a lot of fun. I’m not even against city’s kicking in some tax money to build stadiums. In our case, we spent twice as much as we had to in order to have a retractable roof – and it doesn’t get that cold here. At the same time, the city cut essential services, and the tax payers footed 100% of the building cost. Sure, we hosted a Super Bowl. Unfortunately, we lost money on that too. To be fair, the long-term exposure may have some benefit, but not for the cost in both money and other services.

  4. Don’t forget the money wasted on betting/gambling these games as well, this creates a whole other type of person!You’re right, it’s a waste of time but so is a lot of stuff we do and for some it brings sheer joy. You have to have balance but watching sports can be exciting. We’re big hockey lovers and are missing it this long as we don’t think about or discuss their salaries we’re all good!

    1. True! I’m not saying don’t have fun. My point is that it IS a balance, but American’s are mostly out of balance when it comes to sports.

  5. I agree. The amount of money that goes into sports and entertainment could be put into much better use in this world. Do you know how much food and clothes could be bought for poor people with $25 billion. Think about it people?!

    1. Absolutely. If we all got as fired up about ending – let’s say hunger – as we do about professional sports, we would have it licked in this country in no time. Instead, we sedate ourselves with sports and entertainment to distract us from uncomfortable realities.

  6. It’s just entertainment. If you stay within your entertainment budget, do what you enjoy. If it is watching sports, that’s ok. Personally I’m not a sports fan.

    1. You’re right. It is entertainment. The point I’m trying to make is that it has become more than entertainment to far too many people. I don’t think that it is good for us in a fiscal, family, or political sense. Too many people are numbing themselves with this sports driven alternate reality.

    2. Keith Jackson says:

      If you’re no sports fan, what are you into?

  7. I think the costs of watching and attending are crazy. I also think that players are paid WAY too much. It kind of urks me, even though I do love it when the Cardinals are doing well.

    1. Me too! They are making millions and laughing at us all the way to the bank!

  8. I am going to have to disagree on some of your article. While you are right devoting an entire day to watching sports is is waste of time, I still enjoy doing it. Watching football all day Saturday lets me relax and it makes me happy. Going to a game might be expensive, but it also makes me happy. I am a firm believer that you should never sacrifice something that makes you happy. Life is way too short. As long as you are not going into debt because of it, then enjoy what you love.

    1. I think the problem is when you do what you enjoy at the cost of relationships, such as your spouse or kids. As long as EVERYONE enjoys it as much as you, it’s not a problem. Only way to know is to ask them, though 🙂

      1. I would agree with Jake. I still enjoy watching football. I still play in my fantasy leagues. I find it relaxing as well. However, I used to be somebody that was obsessed with sports. I really thought that they were something I loved, something I couldn’t live without. However, I stepped back from the obsession and found that the world keeps turning. The teams keep winning and losing regardless of how I root. I enjoy watching, but now I do it in a much more balanced approach.

  9. Never understood the big thing about sports but I was the same with TV shows when I was a teen. I couldn’t go anywhere because I HAD TO watch!
    Back then it was the same need to belong that you are talking about, so I could talk about it at school with my friends.

    1. Once you remove yourself from those situations – TV, sports, etc. – you find a lot more time on your hands to do things you really enjoy.

  10. Since I live in the same town you are speaking of the spent $1B (it was actually $720M), I have some input. Yes I disagree with the large amount of Tax dollars spent on the stadium, but they were going to build something anyways to expand the convention center. As a city we had lost some very large conventions because of space issues, so the city was still going to shell out a large amount of money to pay for an expansion. Do I think the owner of the team should have paid a good chunk of the bill? Hell Yes.

    But that new stadium did bring in a Super Bowl, which in turn caused the construction of a very nice hotel (jobs in a down economy). I know that is cost us money to do all this, but it brought in many major decision makers from many companies which may or may not lead to more meetings/conventions here.

    Also the new stadium locked us into a deal to host the Men’s and Women’s final fours on a 4 year rotational basis (probably wasn’t going to happen at the old place). The new stadium will always be in the loop for the B1G (god I hate that name) Ten championship game and we are bidding to host the Frozen Four. All of these provide revenues (and hotel tourist taxes) for local business.

    1. Hey Brian,

      Thanks for the reply. I don’t want to get too Indy specific here, but I will indulge for just a minute. Yes, the stadium itself cost $720 million. I believe the renovation for the convention center was in the $250 neighborhood for a total of about $950 million.
      The Super Bowl was here, but failed to make money. However, you could argue that the $1 million or so that it lost was great advertising for the city. Yet, living in a suburban county, our town paid tens of thousands of dollars to host events here. Of course, we didn’t make that back in tax revenue.

      As far as city benefits, most of the benefits will be felt by jobs in the downtown area – hotels, restaurants, etc. Yet, our county allowed taxes to be raised here as well. It could be argued that a stronger city means stronger suburbs, I suppose, but the benefits have hardly been felt here. Still, we are paying for it – of course without it ever being on a ballot. IMO, if Marion County wanted to build a stadium, they could have built it on their own.

      1. I totally get that perspective. If I lived in one of the doughnut counties I would have been really upset about the extra 1% “dome” tax. I tend to agree with you that most of the taxes should have probably been done as referendums and some probably would have passed.

        I’m also a little biased since my dad and I have been season tickets holds for a long time (our seats got better and cheaper, go figure). It’s one of the great bonding activities we get to do togeather.

        1. I’m actually going to Cincinnati to watch Peyton in a few weeks. I still enjoy watching. It can be a very fun bonding experience. However, I think that sports certainly has its place. Still, I think some of our priorities are simply out of whack.

          1. I would like to add that your ticket cost $150 dollars!!! THAT is what is wrong with professional sports, in my opinion. I hope you have fun- thats our entertainment budget for the entire month!

  11. Thank you for writing this! I see WAY too many people bowing down at the alter of sports, sacrificing their relationships, money and time! As someone who LOVES sports, I am totally with you that if it weren’t for my wife, it would be an obsession for life.

    Sure, I played fanatasy baseball this year, and I enjoy watching or going to a game, but sports aren’t even in my top 10 of priorities in life, and I will NOT sacrifice much for them. In Seattle, we are getting a new stadium for basketball (hopefully), but it’s almost 100% privately funded, so I’m not too worried about it. Traffic is already horrible, though, so that’ll suck…

    1. I too would still be obsessed. Like you, I used to sacrifice everything to see a game. Now, I’ll catch it if I have time and don’t have anything better to do. I may check my fantasy football teams score 10 times on Sunday, but that only takes a minute or two.

  12. I think time of year just gets especially annoying. It’s hard to even have a conversation with anyone without the Colts coming up…and it’s hard for me to talk about because I couldn’t care less! Win, lose, I cannot figure out why I should care. I’m not a very good fan I guess.

    1. Holly, you’re not a mindless unthinking drone like most of these goons are. Sports suck ,are a huge waste of time.e,and are boring as hell.

  13. Jeff is going through something similar. He’s normally completely obsessed with knowing what’s going on in every Cardinal game, but said to me the other day “Aren’t you proud of me? I haven’t even watched one single game in its entirety this week!” I thought it was ridiculous that he was looking for a pat on the back for not watching the game when we had been out having a nice time at the park with the kids, but I know that he was trying really hard! Also, he worked a crazy amount of hours that week. If the only time he was home, he tried to watch a stupid baseball game (albeit an exciting, stupid baseball game), I would have thought a little less of my husband and children’s father! I agree with you that it’s a balance. After a long day at work and the kids are in bed and you’re just sitting around folding laundry…sure, watch the game. But demanding that your spouse take the kids to the park by herself so you can be alone with your precious game –something that Jeff would have probably done in the past– is kind of ridiculous! Glad you and my husband have put life and priorities into perspective!

    1. Me too:) Happy wife equals happy life, right?

      I don’t know though…missing a playoff game…that may be where I draw the line;)

  14. I agree, but the Detroit Tigers rock.

    What’s saddest to me? Sports radio. These people get SO involved in IRRELEVANT discussions about goofy topics. Ask this person anything about the fiscal cliff or the political landscape and they’re clueless. No wonder we all feel like politicians talk to us like we’re morons who can only tolerate the sound bites. We are. (That sounded a little down, didn’t it? Time for more coffee….)

    1. Booo to the Tigers! 😉

      Joe, that is exactly my point. thank you:D

      I used to be obsessed with sports radio too. I have come around to totally agree with you. I still listen occasionally for the entertainment value, but I now see it for the entertaining drivel that it is. I don’t get worked up, and I never have the desire to get involved in the discussion anymore. Real life is more dramatic anyway.

  15. Very interesting piece! A few years ago I would have agreed with you totally (the only professional sport I watched was tennis, occasionally), but that was before I started attending a D1 university.

    Now, though, I love college basketball and I find it to be far more rewarding than your assessment of your current involvement with your professional team of choice. College basketball is huge where we live and keeping up with the local teams (thankfully only a few months of the year – it is time-consuming) can be very community-building, both for icebreakers with strangers as well as for having a good time watching the games with friends.

    I love attending basketball games for the subsidized rate of $10/game (or free if you devote some time in line) – since I don’t buy any refreshments or pay for parking or anything I consider that pretty cheap entertainment! We also frequently host friends to watch the more exciting away games and home games we don’t attend, which is a very fun social engagement – honestly, just a nice excuse to hang out with our friends!

    I think all this is a fine use of my time and a bit of money while I’m attending my university and while I probably will continue to be a fan after we graduate and move away I’m sure it will take a smaller role in my life since we will no longer be near our fellow fans. I doubt we’ll spend money to attend games or travel to the NCAA tournament unless we really have a high income, though.

    Anyway as wastes of time go, I find college basketball to be more fruitful than a lot of other things I do!

  16. That’s why the title is “Professional Sports: The Opiate of the Masses.” I don’t feel the same way about college sports at all. Actually, college sports make a lot of sense to me as long as people don’t cross over into being obsessed!

    If professional sports didn’t cost so much to see a game, parking was free, and my state wasn’t asked to pay for an almost billion stadium for our team to play in, I would probably not be so bothered with professional sports either.

  17. I don’t care too much for sports but I live with someone who does. Thankfully he doesn’t spend a lot of money or time on them though. Granted Sundays are spent with his dad watching football for most of the day but he gets up early to help clean the house before leaving. And he enjoys watching the UFC fights but he knows that Fridays are typically our date nights so he will check with me if a fight is on a Friday if we can wait until the next day. Which is fine as long as he’s not telling me 2 minutes before-it happened in the past and he found me not to be a happy camper.

    1. When we first got married, Greg used to want to play our whole Sunday around it. We would have to “get stuff done” in the morning or evening and I couldn’t plan anything during the game hours. Obviously, I am glad those days are over!

  18. You might disagree with me here, but I like to separate the issue a bit. I think it’s perfectly fine to be a fan of professional and college sports, and even to get pretty into it. I 100% disagree with taxpayers money subsidizing it. I am a die-hard Vikings fan but said publicly many times and even emailed my reps telling them I opposed a taxpayer funded stadium. The economic logic behind it could be used to support subsidization of ALL business activity.

    Moving on from that, sports can be kind of an escape for a lot of people, just like movies can be or even going to the park, walking the dog, etc. It’s entertainment (Just like blogs are! tho you could argue it is a different form). I don’t see the harm in getting into the game and cheering for your favorite team. Then again, my wife was raised by HUGE Vikings fans so it’s something we can enjoy together.

    1. That is the main problem as I see it. We taxpayers paid for our stadium and now it will be a huge burden on our state and local finances to pay for the giant building and its maintenance for decades to come. Yes, we do benefit from the revenue it brings in but I don’t believe we are benefitting more than the players and owners who are making tens of millions of dollars while we are cutting education, our police force, etc. It’s bullshit.

    2. Honestly, I think most things are fine as long as they are done in moderation. Of course, sports are entertainment. Yet, the unique thing about sports is that for a large portion of the audience, sports becomes the only “important” thing in their lives. They are also one of the few forms of entertainment that expect millions of taxpayer dollars. As Joe said above, many fans can quote the stats of their favorite players but couldn’t hold any sort of a conversation about the national debt. It is kind of sad.

  19. Sports are just a form of crowd control by the rich. What did the Romans do when their citizens were starving? Build the Coliseum. Today, we have a mass of such entertainment venues and an entire industry to occupy us from seeing what’s really happening with our quality of life. What better way to pass f’ed up laws that take away our liberties 1 by 1, than to distract as many as possible with sports, social networks and various other forms of mass entertainment.

    1. Keith Jackson says:

      Well, Veronica, You’re Right! Important Stuff First!

  20. Oh, the lynchings you would get here in Alabama, where people eat, sleep and breathe college football. Remember that bama fan who poisoned all of the beautiful trees in Auburn as payback for a game? Ooh lawsy. I couldn’t agree more with this post-and I’m so thankful my boyfriend doesn’t give a hoot about them either.

    1. In our town, people act like you’re crazy if you don’t follow the Colts! I am definitely an outsider!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  21. I absolutely love to watch professional sports live, but that happens about once every five years. I have teams that I follow, but I don’t watch on TV regularly. I do enjoy the Broncos and like Peyton Manning even if he did go to Tennessee. I cannot stand how most top tier professional athletes have a terrible attitude and complain all the time. They should be jumping up and down every second that they get to play a game and retire in their 30’s. If they haven’t blown their money, they are set. How many of us would be so grateful for that oportunity? There are some good ones, but most need a slap in the face.

    1. I don’t necessarily begrudge the athletes their salaries. If we had the opportunity to make that much money, we would too. The business makes billions of dollars, so why should they not receive a large part of it? However, we build these people up as heros and role models. Really, they are physically gifted and better than almost everybody else at a kids’ game:)

  22. I love watching sports on TV, but I agree there is a fine line between being a fan and being crazy. I actually attended a baseball game a few years ago, where a fan from the opposing team got jumped by 3 home team fans. They were mad that someone was there in their home stadium, cheering for the other team. It was insane and horrible at the same time. They all got thrown out of the game.

    Football and hockey are my faves. I’m more of a sports fan than my husband 🙂

    1. That sort of thing is really unnacceptable. Most fans are not that way, luckily. However, that is the type of “misplaced” importance I’m talking about. We place way too much emphais on sports in this country while we turn a blind eye to some things that really matter.

  23. Yes. Everything you said is true – and the obscene amount of money I spend on satellite TV only to catch the NFL Channel and ESPN are probably not even included in the $25 billion number. Neither the pizza, popcorn and chips. Neither our overspending Super Bowl parties. All true.

    But… as my father-in-law famously said: you gotta spend it on SOMETHING. We don’t smoke, a case of beer lasts us longer than a season, we don’t go to the movies, we don’t spend a fortune on fishing and outdoor gear. And I don’t spend a fortune on eyeglasses from the Italian monopoly GE Miller talked about So, we loosen the purse strings for football and playoff basketball.

    And… if you’re a Bronco fan, last Monday night was one of those “make it all worthwhile” nights! How can your team making an NFL record comeback not be worth it? 🙂 So, all things considered, in my little corner of the world, I’m OK.

    The one area I’m not OK with is college football. The amount of money the colleges make (Texas alone makes close to $100 million/year just from its football program) and what they pay their coaches (Mack makes $5 million a year) is off the charts obscene when you consider how little of that reaches the players. And worst of all, the players they spit out are not even able to manager their money. Then they get all sanctimonious and say they don’t have a playoff system because they’re concerned about the players’ academics.

    I know it makes no difference to the universe, but I’ve stopped watching all those games.

    1. Ha! William, I swear that I’m not picking on you personally:) I like sports too! I even spend some of my own time and money on them.

      The reason I’m bringing this up, as I’ve said in the earlier comments, is that far too many of us place way too much importance on sports. We numb ourselves with sports (and other entertainment) while ignoring things that really matter to our lives and pocketbooks – like family, public policy, etc. Again, enjoying sports and keeping them in the proper perspective is fine. When we forget to do that, both in the personal and public spheres, I think we have problems.

      1. J.D. Nolin says:

        Out of state Indy Colt fan, I will say discussions on politics and public policy can sometimes be more volatile than discussing who is going to win the AFC. I have really backed off sports in the last 5 years, I came close to obsessed. I started listening to the games on the internet( instead of watching on TV, it worked for me. Listening to Bob Lamey call the games while I did other stuff around the house, put less importance on constant scores and replays, It was a domino effect that led a decrease in watching all other sports. I still enjoy listening to the Colts broadcast for 3 hours a week.

        1. Yeah, I still enjoy it in small doses. I just don’t spend a lot of time or effort on sports any more. And, I’ve found that my life definitely isn’t any worse off.

  24. So what do you think about college sports? I am most passionate about college football and basketball. Would you say the same things about those as about their professional counterparts?

  25. John William O'Brien says:

    I just want to say that it is hard work to break any kind of obsession or addiction, whether its sports or something more harmful such as drugs or overeating. Each of us must take responsibility for how we use our time and money. It is hard work trying to balance our activities. It takes a lot of self-discipline and self-mastery. Sports, games, and other forms of entertainment aren’t necessarily evil or harmful, but we need to balance these activities with more productive pursuits. If sports and other entertainment allow us to neglect our work and family responsibilities, then yes, there is a problem and it needs to be addressed.

  26. John William O'Brien says:

    You made a point about sports being like a religion to many people. Yes, people do use sports and other entertaining activities as a means to run from their problems rather than to work to solve them. Let’s face it, there are a lot of social ills to be addressed. We can’t run from them and pretend they don’t exist or numb our mind with sports and entertainment as a means to escape from them. Yes, we have many serious issues to deal with today. Just look at the mass shootings we’ve had in this country the past year. It is atrocious and something must be done about it. Then we had a terrorist attack in Benghazi, Lybia against our foreign ambassador. We have wars going on in the Middle East and Afghanistan. We have unemployment, poverty, and hunger both in our country and in the world. So yes we all have a lot of work to do in order to make the world a better place. It starts with us. We must take responsibility for our actions and inactions. We can’t be lazy and indifferent. Nevertheless, people are under a lot of pressure and are stressed out because of the many hardships they have to confront. It’s taking a toll on people’s physical and mental health. Sports for the most part are positive activities. They are relaxing diversions and an excellent form of physical activity. They can be used as a positive outlet for people’s aggressive energies and competitiveness. They can bring people together in a way that few other activities can. Just look at the Olympics and how that event can bring people together from every corner of the planet. Yes it is fun to do research on players and teams. But when it becomes an addiction, then that’s where it becomes negative. It is helpful to have a wide variety of interests. If all you talk about is sports, then your relationships will suffer. You’ll be looked upon as a less knowledgeable and interesting person to relate to. And that goes with any other pursuit or hobby. It is helpful to be interested in a wide variety of subjects and pursuits.

  27. Hi Greg! I am happy to see this post as I just cut up my Rockets and Astros shirts into rags this very night! They are more valuable to me as something with which to clean my house than the hours I used to spend in front of the TV cheering them on. I hear you when you say you used to be in a bad mood when they lost. I can remember nights when it was the 4th quarter and the Rockets were behind. CJ would say, “Just turn it off so we can sleep. I don’t want to know if they lose.” Now we read and share the same books, take five mile walks together, and enjoy many more hours of face-to-face time. We don’t have to have cable (or a TV!) and don’t spend hundreds on the occasional NBA game we’d attend. When we subtracted sports, we added value. No question about it. Our lives are better now.

  28. I have given up watching professional sports, not that I watch them much anyway, but I take my two children to cross country races. It gives them a goal in live, they enjoy the training and seeing their times come down. They have gladiatorial sprint finishes with other kids to try and win the race, that instills mental toughness, winning is not easy.

    And best of all, you can be sure that no 11 year olds are taking performance enhancing drugs, whereas probably half of Olympic athletes have been. Kids races where talented trained kids are running are some of the most entertaining races of all, because kids do desperate stuff to try to win.

    I watch the World Cup Soccer tournament but I don’t care who wins, I just like to see the different styles of play, skills and goals and some of the South American antics, fouls and fakery. I never buy the merchandise.

  29. Keith Jackson says:

    Greg(and Holly)

    What do you think of these sports teams and their mascots? My hometown baseball team, the Chicago Cubs(National League) just got a new mascot, and, it’s official, his name is Clark the Cub and he’s fun for the kids & adults(mostly kids)Mascots in sports are what make the game fun! But, as you stated many times, it is what it is and always will be, a game! I like sports, too and I root for the Chicago Cubs and all the other Chicago pro sports teams, too! And there is a need for balance as with everything else in life. Everybody should know that!

  30. Keith Jackson says:

    Greg( and Holly)

    This is me in Chicago back with you where the Jackie Robinson West team( a Little League Baseball Team From Chicago, Illinois) is getting ready to play South Korea in Williamsport, Pennsylvania for the United States World Series Championship of Little League Baseball and all of Chicago and America and the world is excited to see these kids( young men) win! Well, almost everyone………………………Because people are into what’s happening in the news, finances, world events, poverty, and what have you, etc! Sure, sports are fine, but like everything else in life, sports and entertainment have a place and that’s secondary.

  31. Another point which you did not address is the fact that sports, at their very essence, is about making yourself feel good at someone else’s expense. This is the polar opposite of what we teach our children about getting along with others and would never promote that on its face as good for society. Besting people to feel good about oneself is the opposite of any humanitarian value.

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