The sports industry is a bad sport

Brenna McNamara

I am probably the most non-athletic person you will ever meet. Growing up, I was busy trying to be a Spice Girl while my younger sister was beating neighborhood boys in basketball. As president of the Kool Kids Klub, I thought I was going places. Wrong assumption. Here I am, angry at the spastic Ohio weather, while my sister is at a condo on the Myrtle Beach shoreline for spring softball training.

I’ve been raised on television to believe that one day I’d be a millionaire or famous. But I won’t because I’m not an athlete. And I’m slowly learning that fact. And I’m very, very pissed off.

I’m angry because athletics receive so much attention. I’m angry because softball tournaments double as my family vacations. I’m angry because Division I NCAA athletics dance behind a mask of “amateurism,” when in reality they are one of the biggest entertainment businesses in our country.

Lets not kid ourselves. The NCAA drew every Ohioan to the television Monday night. Seeing that college sports is one of the biggest commercial and entertainment enterprises, I think its fair to say they are breaching professionalism.

People knew college sports were changing in the 1930s. Here we are 70 years later still fooling ourselves. Obviously they are a fascinating form of entertainment that brings about a community; however, sports’ good-natured origins have been manifested into a greedy, corporate industry, instilling pressure on athletes, arousing harsh competition and promoting the opposite values that they originally sought to create.

I believe sportsmanship went out the window long before coaches began punching umpires or killing them. Possibly sportsmanship is a vague, idealistic term that can never be achieved. I guess even Hercules would have taken his scholarship to a Division I school and paid no notice at Socrates who hit the books but couldn’t throw a diskette.

At least Socrates luckily isn’t around in the era of television, because I bet he’d be mad he didn’t have a segment dedicated to education every night on the news.

Kids are being groomed to be future athletes at increasingly younger and younger ages. They join travel teams to be with “the best,” looking down on mere grade school teams. This leads up to the vicious high school level where the school recognizes them as one of their finest simply because they get their name in the paper if they win state competitions. Their student athletes are revenue, revenue, revenue. Kids play hard to receive scholarships. If they get them, they use those scholarships to play even harder during college. So much money is spent on equipment, lessons and tournament fees along the way to receiving these prized scholarships. Parents donate money for the good of the school’s athletic program. Or is this for the good of their child’s playing time?

In the end, this turns out to be a meaningless rant from someone who’s bitter she can’t even throw a Frisbee like the rest of her friends. Whether high school softball or Ohio State’s loss, people will be obsessed with sports. And I will wish I cared. Especially when I see the almighty King James walking around my local Summit Mall in Akron -ÿmaybe I could make some money off of that autograph.

Brenna McNamara is a freshman pre-journalism major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].