Last weekend, I watched a significant display of patriotism. At the Big Ten baseball tournament before the fourth inning, the ten thousand fans present stood and, with the players from the teams, sang two verses of “God Bless America.” Astonishing and appreciated was the respectful and total silence of the announcers during this tribute.
This display of patriotism is demonstrative of our deep and abiding commitment to our country — no matter we don’t agree on sports, religion, or politics, we share a love of country and freedoms.
I think this is what professional sports and the television networks have forgotten. It seems to me that I don’t see anyone sing or play the national anthem at sporting events on television because we have to sell some tires or beer or snack food. We don’t quiet down and show respect as announcers when there’s a patriotic display on the screen, because we have to share our opinions on the uniforms, the coaching, or the players.
I don’t watch a lot of professional sports, but it always seems to me that the patriotic displays are a tad lacking.
This has a disappointed me for a long time, because professional sports teams get so much money from their fans. The players are paid outrageous salaries. I realize they have amazing athletic talent and spend many hours a week training and playing. I’m not saying they don’t deserve big salaries. Big, but not outlandishly so.
According to Forbes, on average, professional basketball players (NBA) earn $5.15 million. That’s annually. Major League Baseball players make $3.2 million. National Hockey League players make $2.4 million and on average, National Football players make $1.9 million per year.
The average physician makes just over $177,000 a year. Bear in mind, this person spends years, sometimes a lifetime, paying off student loans for the nine or 10 years it took for them to become a physician. Most professional athletes got a full ride through college. I think our health is pretty important, comparatively, but these folks don’t begin to earn the salaries of a professional athlete.
We balk at passing levies to support teachers, when the average annual teacher salary is just over $55,000 a year. While I love my sports, I think the education of our children is more important.
I know professional sports players work hard. They provide us with much entertainment. But seriously, this is a travesty. We pay big money to see them play and then buy those $10 hot dogs, so they should get a fair cut. But, millions A YEAR? For that kind of money, I have always thought they should stand and sing our national anthem and the announcers should shut up while they show it, or better yet, sing along.
Then I caught the beginning of the seventh game of the NBA playoffs. I was actually thrilled to hear our national anthem and to see all the team members and fans standing and singing, too. It renewed my faith.
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Sue is a retired public servant who volunteers at a local elementary school and Hospice and keeps busy taking care of house, husband, son, and pets. She lives just outside of Troy, Ohio.