I have indicated in the past that I am, to a degree, a sports fan. Over the years, that aspect of my life has changed. Growing up in
Michigan, I felt that it was somewhat natural to be a fan of the professional teams. By the time I was a teen, it was clear that I was more a fan of baseball and football, given that, since I grew up near Grand Rapids, a good three hour trip from Detroit, and the Tigers and Lions marketed themselves to the whole state, and the Pistons and Red Wings did not at that time, probably because the Wings could fill their stadium without it, and the Pistons just were inept at marketing at the time. Detroit
Becoming a believer in Jesus in 1968, I realized that football was my best sport, although still quite average. I also realized that the professional level was extremely violent and the way people were treated was far from ideal. That is still a problem to me, but, and this is no excuse, a sport with 16, and if it goes to 18 it will be no different, games can be easily followed by an adult busy with working, whereas the 162 in baseball, 80 plus in basketball and hockey are impossible to follow all of unless a kid or retired. In 1985-6, the Pistons were the top team in basketball, but played the game with a type of thuggery that just didn’t feel right to most people, and the blunt truth is that the team had a bunch of moral zeros playing; the day they won the championship, 5 of the 12 players had paternity suits filed against them somewhere.
The rise of cable TV has effected sports. My job just reminded me about 976 phone numbers; in case you didn’t realize it, they still exist. The one time I used one was to hear a
sports report. Today, with cable TV, I can find out more than I could possibly wish to know, including a European sports channel which includes sports I’ve never seen, and professional teams of which I have no clue what city they play in. Detroit
A few years ago, ESPN, here in the
, started covering the top 150 high school players in football and basketball, are what colleges they committed to play for. Now, this part, to a degree, I get. Even if the colleges lose some money on sports, the schools being consistently mentioned on TV feeds the egos of college presidents, boards of directors, alumni (most of which, unlike myself, make above average incomes), and faculty members, and then make it easier to attract better faculty members and the research faculty have an easier time of getting grant money out of the federal government. The trade-off of having a few college “students” who have no business being in college makes a strange kind of sense when it ties into power politics. U.S.
All this is to lead into something new that I saw ESPN do yesterday. Somewhere, there has been a summer camp for the best few (this year, 24) soon to be high school quarterbacks in the country. This year, ESPN’s Trent Dilfer, who about 20 years ago was the first player chosen in their draft, and had a OK, not great career, but did get to be the winning QB in a Super Bowl, was a part of this camp’s staff, and ESPN filmed the camp, coaches discussions, etc., and made the camp into a reality program. Now, its not even that these 24 are going to get better scholarship offers, because it appeared that most have already committed to a large university (gee, I didn’t send out a college application until early my senior year, and I remember how angry my dad got trying to figure out all the information the scholarship application demanded—but it was worse then than now).
It’s just weird. That a few high school kids, albeit talented, get put onto a national pedestal, because it helps a large corporation make money (ESPN is owned by ABC, which is, in turn, owned by Disney), while another portion of our educational system and society is all messed up, as documented by that same ESPN a day later by showing their documentary on the social problems that spawned the attitudes about University of Miami (FL) football in the mid-1980’s to late 1990’s and what that said about racial divisons in the U.S.