I really used to enjoy baseball, basketball and football in my youth and later golf, amateur wrestling, cross country and track. I followed professional and college teams closely and took part in many spirited debates about the fortuns and misfortunes of the games.
I was a sports writer and came to appreciate athletics as a wonderful diversion from the tedium, toils and stresses of everyday living, getting lost and actually give a damn briefly about things that arguably don’t really matter.
But now I believe sports have become a dominant negative force in our, a major force in America’s being overcome by hubris and arrogance.
We have become so obnoxious to the rest of the world that we have become the Great Satan, the monolith, the evil empire, the in-your-face “We’re No. 1” country that almost everybody else despises because we seem to lack the simple compassionate quality of humility. Our world reputation as a bully, by the time of the administration of George W. Bush, had become so pervasive that Bush’s presidential successor won the Nobel Peace Prize just by geting elected.
While so many poor people in poor nations resent us, we rush headlong into our nauseating self-love exercises at the expense of everybody else, creating enemies who will oppose us for eternity. And not just Muslims.
The United States is a good example of being a sore loser. We insisted on allowing our professional athletes represent us in the Olympics after getting beat in basketball by Russia
Our obsession with sports and money, refusal to grow up, and our perpetually unsatisfying love affair with sporting spectacles has robbed us of our humanity. We get sucked into the hype of the big game, not understanding its outcome doesn’t really matter. It’s like the Harding’s Friendly Markets ad — “Get in, get out, get home.”
Marketers and advertisers are so good at what they do that they’ve gotten us to care about Super Bowl ads, to buy and drink bottled water and line up in the cold dead of night to buy “stuff” we really don’t need at Trader Joe’s or for Black Friday.
The Super Bowl itself is more than just a football game, it’s a gaudy celebration of America’s wealth, greed and hubris. The buildup to the big game reaches fever pitch in the two weeks before, but most fans can’t tell you who won it a couple of years ago.
After the Super Bowl, the media hype quickly moves on to the next money-drenched spectacle, the NCAA basketball tournament, which can boast of being able to invade classrooms during routine school days in March. After it’s all over, few can remember what happened.
Then come the Master’s golf tournament, the Indianapolis 500, the NBA and NHL championships, the PGA tourney, the British Open, the U.S. Open, Wimbledon, the World Series and the list goes on. Don’t forget next year’s Olympics.
Sports, besides being drowned by money, has effectively convinced us that history doesn’t matter, what’s done is done. Sports is all about living for the moment, but once that moment has passed, forget about it, just move to the next big spectator offering, don’t pause and think.
No wonder so money young people, and so many older people who have refused to grow up and face reality, have come to believe like Henry Ford that, “History is bunk.”