Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Elitism of Pro Sport

It’s said the higher up the corporate ladder one travels, the easier life becomes. So a president and CEO of a large corporation has an easier working life than say, the receptionist answering calls at the front desk.

It appears this holds truest for professional athletes - only difference, they get paid big bucks to play kids games.

I was at the Rogers Cup this past weekend, and saw first-hand just how spoiled professional athletes are. The Rogers Cup is one of the biggest professional tennis tournaments in the Canada, and the world. It isn’t Wimbledon, or the French Open, but it still draws the big name tennis players from all over the world.

The Rogers Cup runs all week, but began on the weekend. Tennis is a very demanding sport, causing you to have to run, jump and swing. But if y

The US OpenImage via Wikipedia

ou’re a pro athlete, you can sit in the shade, no matter where you are - they have people that open up big umbrellas during sets, just you. Need a towel to wipe off the sweat - no problem, they have people that will toss you a towel whenever you want - they’ll probably even sponge you off if you asked them too. Hit a ball past the line? Don’t worry, they have people that will pick those up for you, so you don’t have too. Just about the only thing they don’t have for you is someone to actually play the game - you still have to do that for yourself, even at the pro level.

This elitism holds true in many professional sports. In the major leagues of baseball, when the umpire calls for more balls, he doesn’t have to go to his gym bag to get them, a ball boy will come running out with a handful of freshly minted ones.

When a ball player breaks his bat, that same ball boy - now called the batboy - will bring out a brand new bat.

Must be nice to have those perks at the professional level. I’ve played the odd tennis match a while back, and although it was a long time ago, no one ever brought out an umbrella to cover my head from the sun, and there certainly wasn’t anyone offering me a towel.

I remember many years ago, when professional baseball players walked out and went on strike, complaining about pay, job security, the usual suspects in a labour dispute. As the strike went on, and forced the cancellation of

Major League BaseballImage via Wikipedia

the All Star Game, many fans lost interest - and rightly so.

Baseball is just as much a sport as any - it involves quick reflexes, strength and endurance. But it is also a fun and enjoyable game - one that even kids play. So when some older kids stop playing, because the millions they make to play this kids game just weren’t enough - understandably many fans will disappear in disgust.

When that strike first happened, that was my thought process - that they were overpaid spoiled brats. Now I see the world differently - thanks to the elitism of sport.

Oh they are still way overpaid to play that kids game, but it is the professional sport industry which breeds that attitude and fuels the fire wanting more.

By constantly doting on professional athletes like Gods, we’ve created monsters that expect to be treated like royalty, or else they throw a temper tantrum like a spoiled kid. And that is what they really are - just overpaid spoiled children.

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