Don’t get me wrong…I will watch and enjoy watching the Super Bowl and I love soccer. Here are some ramblings on our sports culture/idolatry.
Student-Athletes: In today’s LA Times Sports section is an article about USC student athletes who will not get credit for a course taken at the local trade tech during summer school. Think about this for just a moment. These athletes have the huge privilege of attending one of the premier educational institutions on the west coast on scholarship, and they don’t get it. They don’t understand the opportunity and the accomplishment that comes with taking the best classes from the best professors at one of the best academic institutions. Taking the easy course at the local JC is like leaving Tommy’s and going to McDonalds. It is like leaving Ruth’s Kris steakhouse to eat at Sizzler! But our culture is buying the mythology that being a pro athlete is more important than receiving a quality education. How sad to be in this wonderful environment in which to grow and be challenged, and to spurn it for an easy grade, to just get by. Beware the attitude of the minimum factor; it used to be that student-athlete was an accurate description. I am against employing students for their athletic involvement. They are receiving an education, which as Master Card has immortalized, “is priceless.”
Gambling: Our local paper ran an article on gambling and the NFL yesterday. Some of these observations were made. The NFL and gambling are synonymous. The NFL is the gambling sport in our culture. Americans will gamble over a billion dollars on football this year. 80 million dollars will be wagered on the Super Bowl in Las Vegas alone. These figures do not include the wagering done in office pools and other privately organized (and probably illegal) pools. The NFL tries to distance themselves from gambling, but recognizes the pull of the fan to the sport that is created by the opportunities to wager. They tacitly participate in the activity by releasing things like the weekly injury report. It used to be that you didn’t want your opponent to know and then prepare for you based on your available players. Now, we publish the report so that the line can be adjusted accordingly.
Soccer: What is up with the soccer players dominance of the NFL? Players named Vanderjagt and Gramatica have become stars in the NFL and they really cannot play football. Most of them are probably not “athletes” at the professional level, they couldn’t even make their college soccer team. But they are on the field at crunch time in the NFL. I cannot stand it when the game is on the line, THE SUPER BOWL is on the line, and the coach plays it safe so that he can send out the soccer player to win the game. Mr. Clutch in the NFL doesn’t bear the name West or Jordan or Jackson, rather we call on Vinatieri! Some rule suggestions (I know no one is listening):
- If you don’t have a position and haven’t actually played in the game, you can’t kick (bring back George Blanda)
- No field goals allowed in the fourth quarter or overtime.
Now we have a game. How about a goal line stand to win the Super Bowl? I would rather watch Payton Manning on the field as the clock ticks down to 0:00 than Doug Brien, Robbie Gould or whatever the Chicago Bears Kickers name is.
Beware that eating meat offered to idols doesn’t lead you to idolatry.