Monday, October 23, 2023

Some thoughts about American football

As I've stated in the past, for many, many years I was a fan of the Miami dolphins nfl team. I followed them and knew a lot about the players and became "the student of the game"… I started the first text-based regular discussion (later this type of thing would be known as a blog) about any nfl team. And later I started the first podcast about any nfl team. 

I enjoyed it a lot, but somewhere along the way, my interest in the team and the league on the whole waned. I think a lot of it had to do with seeing behind the curtain. I saw the ridiculousness of the business, understood how much money was involved in the league, and the players were merely commodities to the wealthy owners. Or perhaps they were more like chattel to be traded around. And injuries? Those are just part of the game. Who cares about the human toll if they're well paid?

To wit, it's a giant money suck that gives the fans something to cheer for. "WE are winners!" But does nothing to return that blind loyalty. It's very one way. 

And then you notice that everything is sponsored. Every owner asks their communities to pitch in and help make him more money through stadium improvements and the like. 

Heck, even the person performing the half time entertainment at the super duper big game has to pay for the privilege of performing. And meanwhile most of the work done before, during, and after the game is done by an army of volunteers who are lucky to get a tshirt and a sandwich - but they can say they helped. 

In spite of my thoughts to the contrary, I persisted in my work because I enjoyed doing it, and had built a name for myself. 

That is, until the current owner of the team - Stephen Ross, a wealthy real estate guy from NY - who listed Trump as an associate (dare I say friend?) - bought the team. He had no interest in the community. He didn't live here. He never gave back but kept asking for more. Prices went up (and to be fair they went up around the league) and the team became a plaything. The previous owner saw us web guys as "ambassadors" and let us be a small part of the team. This guy viewed us a nuisance and kept us at arms length but was pleasant in a way; it was free publicity for him. 

Anyway, that's when I stopped doing anything related to the team. I may have enjoyed the sport for a while, but I was giving away publicity for a guy I really, really didn't like and who stands so opposite from what I believe in. 

It's not just him. ALL the owners are like that because that's how the league is setup. 

And that's when I decided to just view it as pure entertainment. To not spend a single dime on anything related to the nfl. To not watch a game from beginning to end because it's too long and typically boring. 

The thing is, though, it's hard to let go of watching/rooting for a team you've been following for years. My only option was to stop paying attention. To sort of hate on them. To revel in their lack of success. To laugh when things went inevitably wrong. And boy did they. 

But this year…man oh man… I am reminded distinctly of what I hate about society in general and this league and team specifically. 

I stopped spending my money it. I don't pay attention. I encouraged others to do so as well.  But it's hard to pull yourself away when people around you are still fans and you're still the "football guy" - a moniker I can't shake. 

The team apparently is good this year. And that bothers me. For the simple reason that the owner - an admiral (see - always wins. Always has success. It doesn't matter what any of us do, think, or say. He controls everything and comes out on top. 

That's depressing and part of a larger issue in society, whether it's this, or a return to office, or anything else. 

He doesn't deserve credit or success. But he gets it. And fans pour more money into it. And it becomes a cycle all over again. 


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