Only A Game

It's that time of the year, again. The time when the Minnesota Vikings are making a pass at the NFL playoffs and when their management and local politicians and our completely useless media are campaigning for $750 million of taxpayers' cash.

At the beginning of the season, I was slightly sucked in because I sort of like Brett Farve. I like him because he's an old guy still competing in an young guy's game. I like him because he says what's on his mind in a sports world full of clich├ęs and boilerplate sports jabber. Farve is more interesting than the whole pack of sports writing talking heads and our local columnists. However, leveraging my fondness for this old guy's tenacity into making me pay for a stadium for a near-worthless corporate entity that is part of a monopoly pack of gangsters is an unlikely sell.

Sports fans are idiots. Because we can be fooled into identifying with guys who have no more in common with us than our relationship to superheroes, we can be fooled into thinking we have something to do with these mutants' successes. Our shouting at the television screen or screaming in the stadium has nothing to do with their abilities. If these guys were playing on an abandoned field in outback Alaska, they'd still be competitive, beyond normal abilities, and they'd be finding a way to make more money in obscurity than the rest of us make anywhere we apply our meager skills.

Nothing any athlete can do can overcome the desperate need every city has for a superior education system, modern transportation, efficient and affordable energy, and a profitable business sector. Pro sports does practically nothing for the business sector. Pro sports take funding directly from education, transportation, and research. Pro sports decimate everything important in a city and leaves the city with massive debt, undevelopable property, and a lower urban and state IQ.

The best thing a struggling economy can do is to abandon any public support to unnecessary distractions. Pro sports are several steps below unnecessary. Sorry, Brett. I’d love to see you go out on top, but I’d rather you did it in Green Bay or any other city than Minneapolis. We can’t afford your success.


  1. Anonymous12/29/2009

    Question: When did sports figures become "heroes"? To me a hero is someone who runs back into the burning building to save a 90 year old man/woman. A hero is someone who fights off a company of the enemy all alone and just to protect his buddies who are laying wounded. A hero is an pacifist who stands up for right without violence to free his nation from another nation's control. To me a hero is someone who does extraordinary things in defense of others, not some overpaid, over-developed Neanderthal dukeing it out on a football, soccer, basketball or other field of inane combat. I cringe any time I hear the word "hero" applied to sports figures. I'd want my kids to look up to the Gandhis of this world, not the Favres. I suppose that in a literal use of the word a hero can be the person in just about any event that rises above the ordinary, but I really want to believe that the heroes my kids and their kids look up to have accomplishments that are so far above the ordinary as to be almost god-like.



  2. Hero:
    1. a man of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities.
    2. a person who, in the opinion of others, has heroic qualities or has performed a heroic act and is regarded as a model or ideal: He was a local hero when he saved the drowning child.
    3. the principal male character in a story, play, film, etc.
    4. Classical Mythology. a. a being of godlike prowess and beneficence who often came to be honored as a divinity.
    b. (in the Homeric period) a warrior-chieftain of special strength, courage, or ability.
    c. (in later antiquity) an immortal being; demigod.

    I guess sports guys would qualify for 4,b. Sports are war-substitutes. As a substitute, sports seems to be ineffective since we seem to need both substitutes and the real thing in the US. The corporate media works hard to remove real heroes from public view, since a real hero would be opposing everything the right wing media and corporate America stands for. Sports, like religions, are the opiates of the masses. As our society degenerates we will require a lot more opium and a lot less reality.