The Hippodrome, a giant stadium that could seat over a quarter of a million people. Massive chariot races with only one rule. Win at all costs. These were the real superstars of ancient Rome. The stadium could hold up to eight times that of the, and many renowned charioteers earned vast sums and retired as kings among the people. As opposed to slaves fighting for their freedom. Rome, while known for its military exploits, was equally known for its appetites and distractions. This kept the people happy and let the elites get away with murder, literally. Every great nation or empire has given way to its appetites sooner or later. Is our country any different?
Football isn’t America’s only pass time. There’s still baseball, basketball, hockey, boxing, and many more. However, none of them can claim the level of fanaticism that football can. Over a hundred and fourteen million people watched the Superbowl in 2016. That’s only five million more than voted in the presidential election. If the choice was between a democratic republic and no football versus a totalitarian regime and year-round games. It would be a close call based on those numbers.
Human beings have always wanted distractions, and there is nothing wrong with that. Life is a challenging, scary, and tiring thing. A break every now and then is healthy and much deserved. However, total devotion to distractions or placing them above the essential parts of life. Such as family, friends, and even maintain a healthy self-interest in the running of the country. Athletes, in general, are usually paid huge sums compared to the average person. I’m not questioning that. The value of a good and service is and should be determined by supply and demand as these act as a natural counterbalance. However, the question has been raised, why should someone who just plays a game receive millions of dollars a year while a school teacher, policemen, firefighter, and postman barely make a living wage and work year round. Providing necessary services to the community. School teachers especially have been held up, as they should be, for shaping the minds of our children and thus the future of our nation. As such they deserve to be paid just as much as pro athletes, right? The follow-up question should be what type of people are you trying to attract to be school teachers with such large salaries? Do you want people who do it for the money or those who are fundamentally committed to educating children?
Do I really think football will be the death of America? Absolutely not. I believe that we put value in the wrong positions in society. Again, the need or desire for a good or service determines its value. However, we place greater emphasis on desire instead of need until it’s too late. We are known for our passion for fame and fortune in this country. It seems to be a greater sin to be a moral person of conscience who dies in obscurity than to be a person that possess neither and achieves wealth and fame. I’ll let keeping up with the Kardashians, and anything with real housewives in the title speak for itself. If we continue to hold up high only celebrities and athletes that only continue to enforce these things, then we will be doomed as a society. Instead of glorifying wealth or status, we should glorify those who instill morals and values in our youth and provide services that keep us safe and our republic running. There is nothing wrong with millionaire athletes who are famous. It becomes dangerous when they are held as the highest good and highest aspiration in the country while simultaneously living by a different standard than society. That excuses their bad behavior because of their talents or fame. We must start to ask ourselves more and more. What do we really want to be and have we forgotten what our nation was founded on? Will we continue in our efforts to live up the high standard that was set for us or will we just enjoy the ride until it comes to a crushing end, for us and for the world?
Don’t walk through life just playing football. Don’t walk through life just being an athlete. Athletics will fade. Character and integrity and really making an impact on someone’s life, that’s the ultimate vision, that’s the ultimate goal – bottom line.
– Ray Lewis