Posted by: chlost | October 8, 2010

Here, sports are not for the faint-hearted

I just don’t understand professional sports.

Okay, that ‘s not exactly accurate. I understand that there are those whose career is to play sports. That means that their profession is being an athlete. They are paid to play.  I get that.

What I don’t get is why there are so many fans of these sports. In Minnesota, it is the Twins and the Vikings who are the primary teams for the state sports fans. Baseball and football.

The Twins won their division, and are now pitted against the New York Yankees for the next level of competition in the quest for this year’s championship.  Last year, the same two teams played each other for the same next level, and the Twins lost-the Yankees went on to win last year’s championship.

There are grown men and women in this state whose lives are focused on these baseball games. There were approximately 45,000 people in attendance on a Wednesday evening to watch the Twins lose the first game. They paid a lot of money for the tickets to that game. I have no idea how many were watching the game on television. Many of these fans’ next day was consumed by reliving the game as well as their disappointment at the Twins’ loss. Why?

Then there is the football team, the Vikings. Their quarterback is now over 40 years old, and he came back to the team only after some of the other team members traveled to his home state and begged him to return. So far, it hasn’t made any difference that he is here. The team has many injuries, the other teams seem to have figured out how to be most effective in beating them, and the old guy is getting particularly badly beat up throughout each game. Why?

The answer, of course, is money. Lots and lots of money. So much money that a 40-year-old man would sacrifice his future physical well-being to come to this state and play a game of youngsters for another season. So much money that the Yankees can buy their way to championships year after year.

The part that is quite confusing to me, however, revolves around the fans. When fans talk about the team that they support, it is with words such as “We really played hard” or “The referee was against us on that play” or “We got robbed!”  WE. US. As though each fan was actually on the team, actually on the field, had actually personally played the game. 

Fans don’t seem to acknowledge that professional sports is a business. A business unlike any other, I will admit. Few other businesses are able to obtain public funds to build the facilities used for the business’ product. Few other businesses have their future employees fully trained and screened by publicly financed  training programs.  Few other businesses have the ability to be promoted through the “independent” media, with weekly updates on the progress of the business touted as the top “news” story. Few other businesses have found a market in selling the right to show their business product on national television. Perhaps if the New York Times had the fan base ans public support of the New York Yankees, the Times would not be floundering. Could the Times sell t-shirts (in both men’s and women’s styles), posters, caps and keychains? Could the Times get a Sunday afternoon television time slot to showcase its competition with the Washington Post?

Minnesota sports fans have had to learn to live with disappointment. The Vikings’ Super Bowl outings have been few.  No wins.  The Twins did win the World Series a few times, but the last one was 1991, I think.

Yet, every year, the fans allow their hopes to be raised. They believe that this could be “our” year.  Some truly deluded and die-heart fans even allowed themselves to think that maybe both teams could be champions in the same year!

And each year, their hopes are dashed, their hearts broken. My husband still buys into it, every year. My son, who never watches much of either sport in the regular season, becomes caught up in the post-season games. He scheduled part of his weekend to watch the Twins game. The loss.

Again, I ask, why? Why do this to yourself? Why allow this to be done to you?

There is so much more to get excited about, to be upset about, to care about in this world.



  1. What I don’t understand most is how the last guy on the team, a guy that usually doesn’t even get to play in most games, is GUARANTEED a larger salary than what we pay the President of the United States. Blows my mind.

    • Yes, and not just on one team, on all of the teams.

  2. I know I am rare but I have never been a fan of college or professional sports. I find them boring. So what if your team wins the Super Bowl or the Pennant, they just shuffle the players and do it all over again year after year. It’s a never-ending story. Boring!!!

    At least with the Olympics, someone has to go faster than the person last time. They don’t take the previous winner and make him start 50 feet behind the other runners.

    The fact that so much of our national attention, news, TV is taken up with someone throwing, catching, kicking or hitting a ball is tiresome.

    • I’m with you, but as my husband enjoys it, I try to share in it.

  3. Quietly (or in my case no so quietly) allowing huge chunks of family income and what should be family time to be spent worshiping on the alter of the “GAME” is wrong. Those of us who see this as a waste of resources need to stand up and say “Hell No.” Let’s teach our boys and girls another way to interact with each other that is not inherently violent!

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