Saturday, March 26, 2011

No Football

I keep hearing about the possible football strike.  It is all over the sports news nowdays.  I like football; I enjoy most all sports and most of my friends are well aware of that fact.  And I really do like sitting down on a Sunday afternoon and watching the Vikings, for better or for worse.
But I am kind of in favor of the strike right now and for a reason that isn't what most other people are thinking.
Right now it seems that the owners and the players and even some fans are way up in arms over the football season and how the 9 billion dollars gets divided up and etc.  But why are we so involved in a game this way?  Aren't there more important things in life?  I realize that this is a job for hundreds of people every year and it is entertainment for millions of viewers but aren't our priorities a bit messed up when people are starting to get too involved in this?
Perhaps a strike would be best for everybody in the nation at this point.  I realize there is a long time until football  season but right now I can see quite a bit of good that a strike would do.
1.  The owners and players both might see that the world doesn't need football.  Yes, I said it.  The world does not NEED football.  We love it and I do too but it isn't necessary.  The people involved seem to think that the world will end if football doesn't happen.  It doesn't help that the media seems to feel this way too and are pushing the same idea.  There are sports writers out there begging the owners and players to compromise and play.  But they are saying it for the wrong reason.  The writers need a job and I am sure they want football so they have a job and I understand where they are coming from but the world doesn't have to have pro-football to survive.  Perhaps instead some of these football players may realize that their lack of education has left them a bit behind in the world in other matters and they may see that it is a good thing that they go to college instead of just playing football and being self-centered.  And the owners might stop feeding their own massive egos and talking about winning and go back to making the country a better place in the way they earned their millions in the first place and the economy might improve.
2.  We don't need football as fans.  I realize I am probably going to be blasted by many of my own friends for this statement but we really don't.  I said before I love watching but if I don't have football to watch I can easily find other productive things to do for 3 hours of my Sunday.  And so can other people.  In fact, we do it every Sunday that there isn't football in the offseason.  We might just do more of other things that involve friends and family and interaction and that isn't a bad thing.  And who knows, we might do things that help this country more than sit in front of a television for 3 hours getting fat because we are eating and drinking while we stare at a tv.
3.  The economy.  The economy isn't exactly great right now.  How much money do we spend on football?  Seats go for hundreds of dollars.  Season tickets go for thousands of dollars.  Hey, what can we be spending that money on instead?  How about paying off debts?  How about helping the poor?  How about making the world a better place to live?  There are lots of things that we could spend football ticket money on instead that would be much better for everyone involved.  Instead we toss this money during the season at people who really don't need it.  If the NFL is trying to split up 9 BILLION dollars and we are responsible for that as fans then we are obviously spending a ton on a leisure situation.  With that money we could wipe out a lot of debt in the United States.  Not all of it and not at a national level but our own state economies sure could use a good chunk of that if we used it wisely.
4.  Amateur sports.  Just because pro-football would die doesn't mean football dies.  What about high school, college, and other leagues?  You know, football played by athletes who play the game for love of the game?  As a high school teacher I get to experience first hand during the fall a group of student-athletes who don't play because they are going to make the NFL but play because they truly love the game.  They realize that very few if any of them are going to play in college and even less will make it to the pros but they play nonetheless because the sport appeals to them.  Just like the softball appeals to me every summer even though my body gets trashed and I spend money instead of make money on the sport.  But isn't that the best way to see the sport sometimes?  Played by those who aren't in it for a paycheck and fancy cars, houses and women but for those who bring dreams of a fun play and a win?  Isn't that an ideal we can all aspire too?  Not to mention the positive aspects of team work, integrity, and discipline which sometimes seem to take a back seat at the pro level.
These are just a few quick thoughts on the strike.  I love watching football and I really enjoy playing it with my friends.  But perhaps the strike isn't a bad thing after all.  Not only for football but for all professional sports even.  This country has enough stuff going on that a squabble over money by massive egos who bring little intellectual and sensible compassion to the table is really undesired right now.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

A Hobbit like path and a hard heart

I kind of want to re-read the hobbit.  I don't own it anymore.  I used to have a 4 pack set of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings and I enjoyed it a lot.  I took it to school one day and then they disappeared.
The reason I really want to read the Hobbit again is because of one part that really seems to put into perspective life for me and others.
There is a part in there that has the dwarves and Bilbo walking down a path.  Gandalf has instructed them to stay on the path no matter what.  Of course, they end up hungry and thirsty because they haven't brought enough stuff and they are tempted by elves in the forest having feasts.  So they leave the path to go find these elves and get themselves in some trouble for it.  And that is when Bilbo starts to show his true colours and helps save his companions and so on and so on......
I think my life has been like this in many ways.  I know that is probably what Tolkien was driving at and that I am just now figuring it out and that makes me slower than the average but it was really driven home to me the other night for some reason.
You walk down the path of life and you get hungry and thirsty.  And you know you aren't supposed to take these detours away from what God wants you to do but it is like you can smell and almost touch the things that life has to offer if you are willing to step from that path.  But once you step away you get into trouble.
I think the best part of this is that it isn't Bilbo coming to save us from our willingness to stray (although yes I could make a reference here to Jesus and it has crossed my mind) but it is more to me like God has rebuilt the path so that even when I wander I end up back on the road I am supposed to be going on.  Yes, I get some help too.  But it is like when I look into the darkness and see something tempting; sometimes I am strong and sometimes not.  And when I am not, God is right there building a new path that leads in front of me so as I go along I can step back onto the path and keep going so I will eventually make my destination.  I hope that makes sense.
I guess that is rather simple but at the same time it really struck me as an apt reference the other night.  I think I like it; as messy and disorganized as the idea is.

I realize that when you get dumped on enough that you tend to get cynical and a little hard of heart.  But I am saddened of a situation that happened to me last month.  I was planning on attending a get together and due to circumstances beyond my control I didn't make it.  Unfortunately, the host of this little party has been rather standoffish to me ever since I missed this party.  I have been told that in the past there have been others that have skipped and I realize that the host spends quite a bit of money on this get together.  I emailed and also talked to the host in person and explained the situation but they still do not seem receptive to giving me any sign that they understand and forgive my absence.  I feel saddened by this fact.
I guess that sometimes when you get dumped on enough you are looking for excuses and when someone gives another you tend to not respond in the friendliest of manners.  I feel sad for the host that it has come to that.
I think the lesson there is that the way you look at life is the way you will see it.  If you see the world as full of people out to get you, then when something happens you will see them plotting.  If you see the world full of good people who make mistakes, it will be easier to forgive them when the unexpected happens.  Hopefully we can have more of the latter than the former but sometimes I worry because I see a more "me first" attitude as we go along and I hope that there are still people out there who see forgiveness, understanding, and compassion as some of the most important things in the world.  We will see where this develops.