The Edwards Agency

Opinion

Reevaluate America's pastime

reevaluate sports Many of today's feelings of depression, isolation, and loneliness can be attributed to a society that has become harmfully impersonal. The fast-paced advance of technology and the undeniable knowledge that money motivates the world has left us with one desperate question: Where can we find common ground among ourselves?
   A hint of the Olympic fever that swept America or a glance at downtown traffic during a Mariners game will provide an easy answer: sports. Sports have the uncanny ability to unify the public to the point of sacrificing time off from work, incredible amounts of money, and valuable free time.
   Surely most people remember last year's "Refuse to Lose" slogan that wove its way into every conversation, billboard, and rear car window. With so many people wishing for a common goal, one could say that sports have provided the bond that can link people across the country.
   I, however, could not say this. I think we have to recognize a certain mass hysteria that is undeniably associated with all spectator sports. Although our strong public reaction may seem like a solution to all things artificial, sports are, by very nature, artificial.
   Who are our heroes? Are they the men and women who show integrity and work on reforming the ills of our world? No. America's heroes are the ones that can run the fastest, hit the hardest, and, above all, win the most.
   I am not trying to rob anyone of their role models. In fact, I admire and respect Ken Griffey, Jr. very much. But I respect his good-natured manner and his dedication to helping underprivileged children--not his abundant home runs or his RBIs. This is why, when a Bothell woman writes to the Weekly expressing her belief that "sports teach lifelong lessons," I tend to think that a person will learn a lifelong lesson in any environment, and that the commitment to pitching has little to do with it.
   For me, the most frightening aspect of sports is the weight placed on physical accomplishment. Spectator sports are another example of how more weight is being placed on the body rather than the mind.
   If there was a political cause or a community project that sparked this much popular support, I would not be as concerned. But the people of the Eastside and Seattle seem more stimulated by the thrill of competition than by social injustice.
   My final point is the one that has affected me the most as a high school senior. It is the fact that high school sports often breed violent attitudes, sometimes to an extreme degree. When on a high school sports team, having emotions is a disadvantage. Barked commands and incentive for violence are all part of the high school sporting experience.
   In 1994, an article was written in the New York Times about how high school teams had to abandon the handshake after games; they were so antagonistic and passionately committed to winning at all costs that they could not engage in a civil greeting.
   The subject of sports often produces irate reactions from people. When the idea of sports is challenged, people often feel that their fun is being taken from them.
   I am not trying to steal anyone's fun, I am simply asking for America's pastime to be reevaluated.

Nick May, Woodinville