• 79°

Surprised that Anyone would watch

The news reported that the television ratings for the return of Major League Baseball and National Basketball Association games were very low. They were surprised that only a million or so viewers tuned in to watch.

The story went something like this. After months of having to endure no professional sports, the sports-addicted population of the United States would relish the opportunity to see millionaires playing again on television. Even if we couldn’t go to the stadiums and arenas and see them in-person, at least new games on television would be very, very popular.

That might have been the case if the athletically talented players could stick to the game. But no. They think that the American public, worn out by the months of stress and strain and uncertainty of a virus pandemic, would care about their politics! We don’t. Just play the game.

The only thing surprising to me about the viewership ratings was that anyone would tune in to see people who have been blessed with a great ability to play a game and, at the same time, be paid more money per game than most of us make in a year.

You would think that, at least, they would show some kind of understanding and empathy for the country that is giving them this marvelous opportunity. But no, again! Instead, they want to make some political statement about how unjust the nation is by wearing social justice slogans on their t-shirts. And when the great national anthem of this wonderful nation is played, they don’t stand in appreciation for their good fortune.

No, they feel that it is their prerogative (and it is) to disrespect the nation as the flag is raised. They take their holier than thou knees and bow them as if doing that will change everything. News to the players: it changes nothing, but our attitudes toward the games that they play.

Not many people have enjoyed sports more than I have. Growing up, the first part of the newspaper that I read was the Sports pages. I couldn’t wait to see how my team had fared the night before. I was probably naïve and believed that those professional athletes put their pants on the same way I did; only they could run faster and hit harder than I.

Every now and then, a player might say or do something controversial, but not often. Plus, when they did they usually suffered consequences for their actions. I guess low television ratings are the consequences to be suffered by today’s spoiled athletes. I don’t think many of them are hurting in their pocketbooks.

Our current day professional athletes don’t understand that they could make a greater difference in another way. There is a place for games in these difficult times. Sports at any level can take our minds off the hardships that our nation is going through. Professional sports could lift us up, but only if players will acknowledge the blessings of their good fortunes and our nation’s opportunities.

I understand that Americans are free to peacefully protest and point to our need to improve. Everybody and every nation has room for improvement.

But a lack of appreciation for what you have and where you are, while putting gobs of money in your back pocket is not going to help anyone except yourself. If professional sports wants to kill the golden goose, they’re going about it in a very successful way.

One day, not only will they be playing before cardboard people, there might be cardboard cameras, which could lead to them having to get real jobs instead of just playing games. Soon, nobody is going to be watching or caring.