Wide World of Sports

I’ve read a couple of articles recently about how the current economical woes may affect—and already have affected—the world of professional sports. An article in USA Today was most interesting. The NBA’s Charlotte Bobcats has already layed off more than 30 staff members while its headquarters about 80 people. The NFL headquarters may follow suit.

These circumstances come just as some of our most notable franchises are building the stadium equivalents of the Mona Lisa. The Dallas Cowboys, for instance, are on the verge of completing the first $1B stadium to be open for the 2009 season. PSLs—simply the “right” to buy Dallas Cowboy season tickets—will cost would-be ticket buyers $8,000 for the first year and another $2,330 the second year. And this is in addition to the tickets themselves.

Player salaries, tickets prices, television contracts, and stadium vending have been on the rise for, well, forever. I’m sure I’m not alone in wondering where this money continues to come from. In the wake of recent financial revelation and report, I think we can all take a guess as to the origins of these dollars and feel reasonably confident of some degree of accuracy: like mortgages and credit, it’s a mirage. And clearly the economy can no more bear the burden of the professional sports infrastructure any more than it can infinite home value appreciation.

So what, right. The article points out that there are those who put their entertainment on the top tier of human experience are will continue to be willing—even at higher and higher prices—to shell out dollars for their tickets. And I will add that I enjoy football as much as the average person—if not more. But I wonder if a correction here wouldn’t be a good thing for our nation—and for us as individuals. I wonder if a correction wouldn’t lead to a more simple life that is more in touch with our hearts and values. As valuable as our games and favorite teams are to community, understanding the human condition, and stress relief, it could be that we have taken it too far. Perhaps the big game and our obsessions amount to little more than numbing the pain that is bound to come at some point. Certainly not a bad thing. But if this is the case, then our mis-applied passions do more to lead us down the dimly lit road of insignificance than to anything remotely close to an awakening and passion-filled life. So I guess we’ll see. These things tend to take care of themselves over time.

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