Panem et Circenses

I don’t get it. I understand that pro athletes have great
abilities: speed, agility, stamina, whatever their particular sport
demands. I’m not knocking that ability; I have a great respect for their
discipline and determination. But when it comes to professional,
televised sports, what’s the big deal? What benefit, besides great
entertainment, are they providing to the world? How are their sports
playing abilities contributing to a better future for mankind? It’s good
entertainment, but I think pro athletes make way too much money for
what they do. Why can’t we spend some of that money on medical research
or public infrastructure or social services? Because public good isn’t
exciting?

So what’s the big deal? When I watch football I see a bunch of
(over)grown men in two different colored uniforms running up and down a
big field fighting over the posession of a little ball. Basketball, a
bunch of tall men trying to get a round ball through hoops on
alternating sides of the court. Baseball, a lone guy trying to get rid
of a ball and run in a diamond pattern before another bunch of guys gets
the ball back to the starting point.

What if they had a game and nobody came? Or watched? Is the
improvement of our situation to be eternally postponed by the
pacification of the masses? Are we but a modern Rome whose citizens are
concerned only with bread and circuses?

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Author: PhilRW

software engineer, pianist, polymath

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