Sports Revelation

Time to Revelate!

From the days of ancient Greece, sports have been a key part of our culture. Watching sports gives us an opportunity to unwind and escape from reality. The athletes and the stories that come from sports competition can even inspire us. However lately, it seems that the quality of sports is eroding. Billionaire owners and millionaire players seem to live in a different world than the rest of us. Often, in their world, the athletes and owners believe they are above the laws and norms of society. We hear on a daily basis about the careless behavior of professional athletes and owners. The sports networks are full of stories about drug abuse, domestic violence, and discrimination. There is an ever growing disconnect from the professional (and collegiate for that matter) sports world and the average sports fan.

What is the root of this growing problem? Money of course – there is so much money pumped into sports that it creates the unbridled world that inevitably leads to corrupt behavior.  Where does the money come from? The collective pockets of sports fans around the world. Yes, we have to shoulder some of the blame for the decaying state of sports across the globe. In America alone we watched 33 billion hours of sports programming in 2013. That is an increase from 26 billion hours in 2003. It seems we cannot consume enough to ever satiate our appetite for sports, and the professional leagues and television networks are happy to provide us with an endless supply. Add to that the tremendous amount of revenue from merchandise and ticket sales, and we have created a sports monster that will not hesitate to bite the hands that feeds it.

If we truly want to improve the quality of sports we watch, we actually have to make watching them less of a priority. I did not say stop watching, that is unnecessary and unreasonable. We simply need to gain a better perspective of how much of a role in our lives spectator sports should occupy. Anne Lappe said, “Every time you spend money, you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you want.” We as consumers of sports truly have more power than we realize to affect the final product. We are not simply at the mercy of the television networks and team owners to accept what they give us. Cast your vote with your time, attention, and wallet.

It will not be easy, as many of us actually have some form of addiction to sports, but once we realize that we as sports consumers are part of the problem, we can take the first steps to reducing our consumption. A great added benefit is that we will have more resources to focus on ourselves, family, and community. The cascading effect of putting sports into its proper place in our society could be tremendous. Think of all those extra hours we can divert towards improving our health, relationships, and community. It is a win only proposition for sports and the world. It was very hard for me personally to decrease the time and money I invested in spectator sports, but my life has been richer since making the commitment. If enough people take part in this movement we will also see less Alex Rodriquez’s and more Derek Jeter’s on our televisions.

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