The Super Bowl has come and gone. With its passing comes baseball spring training and the hope that the 2007 football season will be half as exciting as the 2006 season was.
But we should expect more from the NFL and organized sports.Instead of being seen in the national media for breaking records and signing contracts, athletes and sports franchises should be in the public eye on a regular basis because of their acts of goodwill and charity. Once the smell of sweat has left the locker rooms and the echoes of victory have faded from the stadium hallways, only the most hardcore sports fans will be left with the feeling of pride and excitement that comes from knowing that their team is the best. The rest of us will settle for watching NASCAR.
But this time of football-free boredom could be seen as a grand opportunity
for fans. Instead of engaging in uninhibited binge drinking or watching
the “Aqua Teen Hunger Force” marathon
on Cartoon Network at 3 a.m., fans could be using the long stretch of time between sports seasons not just to benefit themselves, but others.
Imagine people dedicating their Sunday football nights to helping in a soup kitchen instead, or trading their attention to the pitcher’s mound for volunteer work at a community outreach programDiverting all of the energy and excitement about sports entertainment into helping build up communities would be an amazing feat. But why should Temple students bear the burden of trying to change the world around us?
We should expect more for our efforts. We can at least expect more from our leaders who demonstrate the motivation and commitment that is needed to strive for such lofty goals.
We’ve been watching them on television, cheering them on as they make touchdowns and throw the final pitch to win a shutout game. What we don’t see are athletes on the evening news cleaning inner-city playgrounds or serving food in homeless shelters. We don’t hear athletes on ESPN radio telling audiences that they have just made substantial contributions to the Make A Wish Foundation.
Granted, there are definitely athletic
public figures who help within their communities. Athletes and their teams could do more in the way of leading when it comes to being involved in the community
and benefiting the greater good. All too often we see them signing multi-million-dollar contracts to run faster or hit harder than the next guy, or on television advertising the latest Nike shoes with their name on the heel.
Right now it would be a fantasy to think that sports fans could be more overjoyed to know that the Red Sox spent more hours than the Cardinals helping the Red Cross.
It would be unbelievable to think that some day there could be riots in the streets, not because the Flyers won the Stanley Cup, but because they donated more to the Ronald McDonald House than the rest of the NHL.
One day we could have more in common with our sports heroes and have one more reason to take pride in knowing that our team is better than all the rest – not because of what they have won, but because of what they have given.
Gabe Mink can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.