There are four basic ingredients to team sports that mirror the very same ingredients that are required for a good life. These basic ingredients are goal, order, skill, and cooperation.
Every sport needs a goal: The football player desires the end zone, the hockey player seeks the net, the basketball player aims for the hoop, while the baseball player hopes to cross home plate. Collectively, each team wants to win.
Secondly, order is clearly apparent on the gridiron, the red and blue lines on the surface of the hockey rink, the painted lines on the court, and the circuit that runs from first base to home. No athlete can long endure in his sport if he lacks the requisite skills.
Finally, cooperation is essential, whether it be the assists in hockey, basketball and baseball or the sacrifices that the batter makes to advance a runner.
The fact that life is difficult whereas watching sports on TV is easy, gives spectating a huge advantage over participating. A glimpse of some of the astronomical salaries paid to professional athletes indicates the immense popularity and success of team sports.
Mookie Betts of the Los Angeles Dodgers, has a contract guaranteeing him $365 million over 10 years. Giannis Antetokounpo has signed with the Milwaukee Bucks for $218.200 million for five years. Tampa Bay Buccaneers’quarterback Tom Brady recently purchased a $2 million yacht, which is a mere 1% of his estimated worth of $200 million. A Mickey Mantle rookie card has sold for $5.2 million, while a Wayne Gretzky rookie card netted $1.29 million. The COVID-depressed economy does not seem to have affected the stratospheric salaries of star players or lessened the enthusiasm of its fans.
The TV watcher allows no excuses for mishaps. He may fly into a rage over a fumble, penalty, foul or error. Fred Snodgrass, Bill Buckner, “Wrong Way” Jim Marshall, Leon Lett and Mickey Owen, to name just a few, have been immortalized in a Hall of Shame for making public miscues, often at critical times.
The viewer, however, may be a clever practitioner of excuses for his own failures. What is the goal of life? Do I invent my own goals? Does God exist? If I submit to order, do I thereby lose my freedom?
Virtue is a nice ideal, but the path of least resistance is irresistible. And as for cooperation, why should I sacrifice opportunities for myself in the interest of others who have little or no regard for me?
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