Give Me My Damn Points!: America’s Selfish Attitude Towards Sports
It’s July 8, 2010. Millions of basketball fans and outsiders tune into ESPN to view Lebron James inevitable decision on what team he will join the following season. The anticipation has been building more than Dr. Dre dropping Detox as fans and "experts" alike have debated with their friends for months as to where Lebron would end up and why he’ll choose to play there.
Now the moment of truth has arrived, people are on the edge of their seats and Lebron makes his well-awaited announcement.
"In this fall, this is very tough I will be taking my talents to South Beach and joining the Miami Heat"
WHAT THE F***!!!!! This is probably what you yelled at your television screen. Unless you were this gentleman:
In one horribly articulated moment basketball's golden child turned into America’s public enemy number one. (It has also been documented that at this very moment Tiger Woods hit the dougie for the first time...performing the popular dance number in celebration of him no longer being the most hated figure in sports.)
Every different geographical location in the nation had a different reason for hating Lebron. Chicago scoffed at Lebron who looked to provide the key to a championship with an already well assembled squad, New York fans could not seem to understand how Lebron could ignore the bright lights, big city, and Amare Stoudemire’s proposal to Lebron to "Do something special" and Cleveland...well their anger cannot be articulated with mere words.
Why was everyone so mad? I mean this is about Lebron’s family right, his friends, making the best decision to win a championship right? Right?...WRONG!
This is about America’s selfish fascination and relationship with athletes. Every player who competes in a sport owes us something. If you get traded to a team in our hometown you better be ready to win a championship, because we need a reason to rock team apparel and brag to all of our friends about how our team won the NBA Finals, Superbowl, or World Series.
Team sports put extreme pressure on athletes to perform already, but then came the creation of Fantasy Football (and for some Basketball). The widely popular virtual competition puts friends against each other as they compete for bragging rights on who makes the better GM.
These matchups for ego, bragging rights, and sometimes cash have turned all who participate into unforgiving psychopaths with outlandish expectations. Each week we take our team of virtual soldiers onto the field, and hope and pray that they will produce enough to beat our friends so we can talk smack throughout the whole week. We yell at the TV screen, we slam our computer keyboards, often times yelling "GIVE ME MY DAMN POINTS!"
ESPN Alert: Michael Vick leaves the second quarter of his matchup with the Washington Redskins with a severe injury to his ribs. "WTF MAN, GET UP, GIVE ME MY POINTS!"
ESPN Alert: Austin Collie leaves his matchup against the Eagles with a concussion after taking a vicious blow to the head. "MAN GET YO ASS UP OFF THAT STRETCHER...GIVE ME MY DAMN POINTS!"
ESPN Alert: Detroit Lions lead the NY giants by 7 with 1:00 left in gametime. Looks like they’ll take a knee for the rest of the game to solidify their first road victory since 2008. "MAN F** YOUR FIRST ROAD VICTORY THROW A HAIL MARY TO CALVIN JOHNSON...GIVE ME MY DAMN POINTS!"
Sometimes I feel like the doctor:
Each and every week we put all consideration and empathy to the side, as we selfishly hope that athletes will give US a victory. It’s not about their families, it’s not about them being stand up guys, it’s not about their emotional and physical health, it’s about them producing enough so we can prove to our friends that we are smarter than them, and know more about sports than the Average Joes.
This is not just limited to Sports. We do this in most vehicles of entertainment. Look at when Kanye produced "808’s and Heartbreaks", or Common produced "Electric Circus" (although those two albums should never be mentioned in the same sentence). I’m sure when they were making the music on those albums it felt good to them. It was an emotional outlet, that helped them express how they felt at the time they recorded it. But because it was against the grain of what we are used to hearing, or what we’re used to them "producing" we felt disrespected and upset with them for their choice of self-expression musically.
Although we have extremely high expectations for all those who participate in these high-pressured forms of entertainment one can argue that they are in fact in the "Entertainment business." Their job day in and day out is to produce a product that is satisfying to the eyes, and pleasing to the ears no matter what personal hardships they have to go through to get there.
This is how we easily justify expecting the most out of these people. We don’t have to be concerned about their personal lives, and well-being, they just need to do their job and consistently achieve greatness the way each and every one of us individually defines it.
But who am I kidding? This is America! We can have whatever we want, whenever we want, our needs consistently being catered to is just part of the game. Because the customer's always right....right?
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