The misconception of sports

David Busch

A soft clap began in the back of the theater, and it slowly gathered in strength as more credits were shown. By the time I got up from my seat, people were giving a standing ovation to the movie. I listened in on the conversations that echoed throughout the parking lot as I walked out of the theater with the cool fall wind smacking my cheeks. Conversations were lighthearted, filled with joy – as if this movie was the secret lesson of life. The conversation with my brothers and me, on the other hand, was not about the movie – we weren’t so enthralled with it.

When I was settled at the bar, drinking a cold Red Stripe and watching the Ohio State game, my brother asked the bartender if he was a fan of the Cleveland Cavaliers. “No,” he said. He actually hated sports and all the money the athletes made. “They’re no better than me, and half of the time they do more harm than good,” he went on to say. Our conversation continued about sports, this time without the bartender piping in. My brother turned to me and finally made a comment about the movie. He said, “You know, Dave, if it wasn’t for basketball, who knows where some of those guys would have ended up. Especially LeBron.”

I agree. Basketball was more than a game for Dru Joyce, Willie McGee, Sian Cotton, Romeo Travis and LeBron James. Basketball was meditation, an escape, friendship and another life for these individuals. Each of their lives was hard – I can’t even imagine – and basketball, as Dru Joyce Sr. put, was a vehicle. Basketball enabled their escape from their hard and unfair lives.

The movie “More than the Game” was an all-American story: five kids growing up in rough neighborhoods, becoming friends around the dream of basketball, and transcending their situations. It’s the dream and the hope of many growing up in the inner city, and it is reinforced by the endless TV shows and reports about the intricacies of each athlete’s life. It is reinforced by this movie. Imagine what you could be or where you could be just by playing basketball? LeBron James and his friends lived that dream.

However, they were only five. What about the thousands of others who don’t get that escape out of poverty and crime that are constant characteristics of the inner city? What about the thousands of others who have the same basketball dreams but still find themselves working part-time jobs and dropping out of high school? Basketball isn’t that vehicle out; it’s a false dream – possibly a distraction.

The reality is that for those fighting a tough life in the inner city, sports are only a momentary escape – few succeed in gaining a scholarship, let alone succeed to the highest level.

Sports are thrilling and exciting. The silent moment before the buzzer beater, the outstretched arm for a touchdown – they’re indescribable. And in these moments, lessons of inner strength and teamwork are learned. However, in the end, basketball in this movie became something that it is not – an aspiring dream. The ultimate dream of sports in this country is the glamour and money that it offers and, thus, sports merely become distractions in life – not a vehicle like this movie tried to advocate. This movie missed the opportunity to say something better.that we should enjoy basketball for what it is: a game.

David Busch is a junior history and psychology major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected]