I just finished watching, “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel.” This is what I learned:
Qatar, the richest country in the world, buys athletes from all over the globe including the US, but especially Africa and South America, in order to compete on the international sports field. They have also bought FIFA, so they can host the World Cup in 2022.
Not only do they outsource their athletes, they also outsource their physical and menial labor force. The way they treat their migrant workers… it is like a republican’s wet dream. They come from other countries hoping for work to have a better life. Instead, they become the property of their employers. Their employers determine everything from when they work to whether or not they can leave the country, if even just to see their loved ones. They did show footage of some of them finally being reunited with their families – in red coffins. The reporter said every day, workers are sent back to their families dead. Four thousand migrant workers are expected to die while building the stadium for the World Cup.
I am not into soccer. But the more I learn about it, and about sports period, the less I like any of them. The first time I took note of FIFA was this year’s World Cup. What happened in Brazil is horrible. From what I’ve learned about FIFA since, they are known for leaving a trail of destruction wherever they go.
Money has muddied the integrity of sports and has made most, if not all, of them dirty in one way or another. It is disgusting and completely changeable. It just takes the fans to have compassion and to care about long term humanity over the thrill of a temporary win.
Everything has its moment; Nothing lasts forever; Change is inevitable, and all that good stuff.
Golf has traditionally been an elitist sport. Tiger Woods made it extremely popular, outside of its originally intended players and audience. Like anything else with money involved, it was milked for all it was worth. Golf became a booming industry, which it was never intended to be. Now, it has lost its popularity. According to the report, there has been a loss of five million golfers over the past 10 years. New players between the ages of eighteen and thirty have dropped, by 35 percent. A golf course closes every 48 hours. If this keeps up, there will only be “traditional” golfers left playing.
SFW? The elite can have their boring ass sport back! People only clambered to it because it was one of the unattainable pastimes of the privileged. A status symbol. When I was in high school we played golf. It wasn’t that hard. Get the little ball in the little hole. If anything it was annoying, because it was so mind numbing. I know, it is supposed to be some cerebral sport. But it made me sleepy—and I was good at it. If I can fall asleep playing a sport, it is because it has numbed my mind.
Aside from that, it is a gross and decadent waste of space. Golf courses take up entirely too much land that can have more productive uses like, housing, nature reserves, or parks.
People are trying to save the sport by changing the fundamentals. It makes me laugh on the inside to think of how angry that must make some folks. People do not like change. Especially, people for whom getting their way is part of their lifestyle.
Just when I was ready to throw in the towel on sports, the segment about the Wounded Warriors broke me down. Veterans who sacrificed body parts for our country formed a baseball team. They had a growing fan base which included children who were missing limbs. The kids became batboys and girls and did other things to assist the team.
Seeing the need, the Wounded Warriors helped create a little league baseball camp for children who either lost or were born without limbs. I cried throughout the segment, missing most of the story, so unfortunately I do not have much info about it. But, here is their website: woundedwarriorproject.org.
Last, I learned that Tony La Russa, a MLB executive and former manager, is going to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Bryant Gumbel brought up the point that 43 % of his wins are attributed to Mark McGwire, who has been denied induction due to steroid use. He basically says, either they should both be inducted, or neither of them should be. That sounds fair to me. I just read an article on the NY Daily News site that La Russa is in support of players who used steroids being eligible for induction; with an asterisks next to their name.
Overall, I learned that sports, just like everything else, has been corrupted by money, changes with time, and can be blatantly hypocritical. However, people can get together and use it help others and themselves become fearless, learn how to deal with loss, and the thrill of winning.