The One Thing that Americans Love Most

Posted: December 7, 2014 in Rocks in my path
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

I recently got into what feels like a repeated discussion about the importance of things in America. Why? Because I’m tired of avoidimg this type of conversation like a plague. However, annoying people would not leave me alone. Honestly, I used to think that discussing my opinion on Americans and choices made by a group of people not representative of the whole was wrong. But over the years I feel that I’ve lived here long enough to not only observe but relate, and since quite a few people want to know what I think (God only knows why), I decided to share. But not just in a bar, at a dinner table or in some pre-arranged social setting. I decided to share on the interwebs where not only the people who agree with me live, but where fun creatures like trolls and haters visit on a daily basis. I wanted to be bold and brave and honest.

So what do I consider the one thing that most (again, not all) Americans love the most? Is it God? Food? Maybe love? Nope. From my observation, and this can be scientifically backed up, (but let’s face it, most things can be scientifically proven if you search hard enough), the one thing that many, if not most Americans love, is sports!

Just take a gander over to any one of the news stations, read  the newspaper, scroll through the social media feeds online, and I bet you’d agree. Yes, sports. No country loves sports, almost any sport really, as much as Americans. Where I was born, sure soccer and cricket worship is high and so yes I realize that I’m placing love of sport in this country over love of sports in another country, and hell many other countries who worship sports like a God, but in this case I see it as an obsession. A good and bad obsession.

Also for the record, I happen to think of sports as important and essential. However, the fascination with it here, in the way statistics are compiled, dug up, or reiterated over and over again, is incredible especially in light of everything that happens – good or bad. For example, a sports score will be shared on news outlets and social media in the midst of turmoil and then just as quickly, the topic will turn back to the issues on hand. But usually after the final whistle is blown. Recently, during the riots in Ferguson Missouri, even the prevalent news channels took a break from its sensationalization of the issue to share football scores.

It seems as though no matter what is wrong with the country or its citizens, if there’s a Superbowl, a Major League Playoff game, or an NBA final, even some of the most impoverished or trampled upon individuals will find a way to watch, and cheer their team on. Is that bad? Yes and no.

Yes it’s bad when a lack of thinking or doing is being covered up by watching. Yes it’s bad when the only thing that many impoverished kids have to hope for, or work hard towards, is being an athlete. For many children if they expect to “be somebody” or earn a decent wage, they’re taught they have to become an athlete. This is emphasized with the push on sports in schools along with the way student athletes are revered on school grounds. There isn’t always this type of maniacal push towards being a scientist, an engineer, a doctor, lawyer or even a teacher, etc.

Sure, the reality is that many athletes make more than a lot of people in the other fields but sadly and statistically proven yet again, not many children become the next Michael Jordan, A-Rod, or Ray Lewis. I say this not to discourage an up and coming athlete but to present a reality check and to hope that parents remember to emphasize the importance of education to their children. Hey, and if a kid becomes the next Tiger Woods or LeBron James, shouldn’t he or she be able to read his/her accounting ledgers and understand the marketing deals being agreed upon? I’m not saying to give up on dreams, just add education to the mix.

To look at the other side of the list, no it’s not bad when sports are promoted to encourage team work and explore or encourage ability. No it’s not bad when someone has a true affinity for a thing and love doing it. No it’s not a bad thing when a sport brings towns and cities and states together to celebrate good times and show support to their children and talented athletes no matter how good or bad they are.

But is the God-like worship of sports and the treatment of their stars like kings and queens really the number one thing that Americans care about? For many, it is. And sure for some it is not. But to say that sports love and addiction is not at the top of important things in America is to ignore facts.

How many schools have, and continue to retain sports programs while other equally important educational programs are cut? How many K-12 coaches, college coaches and education systems ask for a measly 3.0 GPA in order to be a student athlete? How many student athletes get preferential treatment on campus? How many people live vicariously through an athlete’s skill or distract themselves with sports to avoid thinking too much?

Again, to be fair, I enjoy sports as well. But I don’t follow blindly when there are other more pressing matters on hand, and I sure as hell don’t worship athletes. What I do enjoy is a sense of team work to accomplish a goal and have fun. I value movement and exercise. I value sports programs in schools as much as funding for the arts, and would reduce or cut ROTC programs in a heartbeat when sports or arts programs are threatened.

And I dare say that if a religious book claimed that their God played a sport, we’d be more inclined to wake up early to tune in on Sundays before football’s kickoff time just to get a running list of his prior stats, blow-by-blow action of his plays, and predictions for the teams that he cultivayed and affected over the centuries.

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Comments
  1. Lucas says:

    its interesting. Panem et circenses is as old as empires. Distracting the population with games and food. The team mentality goes for the United States as a whole as well. As one “team” against the world. Its true the cult of sports is prevalent in the psyche of the nation and i agree with your piece. To add lol.. my school only required u have a 2.0 GPA..that could be alll D’s…

    • I love the reminder about the distraction, Lucas! You’re right about that team mentality for the U.S. as a whole which brings me to the next post that I’m working on. Hint: It’s what I think is the second most loved thing by many Americans. And 2.0?? Hmmm…

      Thank you for reading and commenting.

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