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Our sports are all screwed up

More than two years since I posted on this site. I doubt anyone is even reading here anymore. Not that it really matters, as in these past couple of years, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and soul searching as to where my life is and what’s truly important, and I actually have found sports to be having less and less of an importance on said life. Last year, you could count the total number of Rangers games I attended on one hand, and I have no regrets about that. In fact, in April of last year, I traveled to California and spent 11 hours at Disneyland, and those turned out to be the best 11 hours for me in a long while.

I’m beginning to ramble without getting to the point here, but the point is that, taking a few steps back, I’ve been able to see things in a fresh light, and it made me realize something I was blinded to for a long time:

The more I think about it, it amazes me just how much our sports system in this country is screwed up and makes me wonder just how it’s been able to survive this long. For something where the whole basis is that merit ultimately wins out, the way almost all sports in North America are set up is almost the opposite.

Let’s start with how bloated the major leagues have become. Do I think the MLB/NFL/NBA/NHL have all grown too much and could stand to be reduced? After much consideration, perhaps I have. But the problem is, if you can’t expand the majors and there’s no system for existing lower level clubs to move up, you are unjustly telling many cities in this country “You can never expect to have major pro sports, no matter how much your city grows and would be willing to support them.”

This problem doesn’t exist in other countries because of promotion and relegation. If you want your area to have a major club, the way is simple: have your local minor club be so successful they will get promoted to the big leagues. You will prove to be more worthy of being in the top level next year than the teams that finished in the bottom of the top league.

This same system, of course, also eliminates the next biggest problem we have: A system where failure is rewarded. Instead of our major clubs being encouraged to win no matter what because losing can mean demotion, those that don’t have a realistic shot at a title are encouraged to lose on purpose to have the first shot at the best amateur talent. It’s doubly counter-productive because if you’re among the proven top young talents, your “reward” is to have to start your pro career in one of the worst organizations.

Of course, at least in some of those sports you at least get the chance to turn pro when you wish and grow and develop as a professional. But not in this countries two biggest sports. It’s long been debated about how fair it is for college teams to make money off athletes without directly paying them, but the only reason this is an issue is because the NFL and NBA refuse to develop talent themselves. There is no reason to not do this other than laziness and greed on their part. This has led to us, at least in football and basketball, tying the development of athletes into out educational institutions when, let’s face it, not a lot of those athletes are interested in education. Thus, millions of dollars are being thrown at school teams instead of minor league pro football and basketball that, frankly, I don’t see why they couldn’t succeed.

And let’s not get started about how these colleges are set up as to how they compete for championships. Actually, let’s do. You’re ultimately selected by completely subjective means, which ultimately comes down to whether or not the selection committee thinks you’ll draw ratings rather that how well you’ve really earned it.

The biggest irony is how many sports fans out there consider themselves to be conservative. Yet our entire sports system is run on almost the exact opposite of supposed conservative values that you can think of. It’s loaded with hypocrisy.

All of this tells me the bubble has to burst soon. With casual fans being priced out faster than ever before and the financial meal ticket of television on the verge of collapse as well, don’t be surprised if the next generation is finally the one that says No Mas, and the sporting world finds itself on the verge of an implosion.

Will I care? I don’t know if I have time. I’m planning another trip to Disneyland for my upcoming birthday right now.

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