Thursday, July 9, 2009

Top 10 Sports Myths

10) Expansion ruins the sport. You get this one a lot in the NBA or NHL, where an unaesthetic team usually makes people wish for drastic corrections. But the problem is that the sports that used to sidetrack top talent (boxing, especially) have waned. The population, especially with overseas countries adding to the talent pool, has exploded. Training (cough, steroids) has made everyone bigger, stronger, and faster. It's much more likely that this is, well, a golden age. Get over your need to have the world go to hell in your generation.

9) Athletes are overpaid. Are you in the best 0.01% in the world at your job, in a way that can be proven with stats? Do people choose of their own free will to spend hundreds of dollars to watch you do that job? Are you likely to continue to be employed in your profession past your early 30's? Do you run any significant risk of crippling injury or paralysis from doing that work? And what percentage of the time do you sleep in your own bed?

If you believe in capitalism, you have to accept that athletes make what they are supposed to. And they might very well deserve to make more.

8) Athletes are less moral than regular people. A quick question to the monogamous among us... how many times have you been in a situation where an attractive woman wanted to service you sexually, seemingly without conditions, and made her intentions clear? (This happens to sports bloggers all the time, of course.) We're all kids at a candy store on this. Star athletes are just inside.

7) Fans want new stadiums. Not nearly as much as wins, really. Tourists, corporate tools, the players and the media want new yards. Fans want championships, and will gladly go to crapholes with bad amenities to get them.

6) People care about steroids. *Maybe* if you are a parent, and worried about your kid's health. Everyone else cares about them only if it gives them something to mock an opposing player with. No fan of a team that won a championship in the Roid Era is ready to give back their good feelings about it. Maybe cheering for an individual cheater like Bonds, McGwire or Sosa, but not a team.

5) Women's sports are on the road to economic parity. This gives me no joy, as the father of daughters. But honestly, let's look at the facts. The WNBA is the same niche money-loser it has always been, ten years into the subsidy. Women's tennis is popular when hot women are good at it. Figure skating is more celebrity than athletics. Women's soccer is no further into mainstream acceptance now than it was since Brandi Chastain disrobed in joy. Maybe we get closer in my lifetime, but there's nothing inevitable about it.

4) When one team wins in a city, the others follow suit.
Any time a city collects a ring or two, you hear this one trotted out... when what's really the case is that we always notice this when it happens, and never notice when it doesn't. (Oh, and there is also the fact that when a city has multiple championships, it's usually a plus market that, well, are just more likely to win a championship in these economic times anyway. Just saying.)

3) Ex-athletes and coaches are more qualified to analyze the games than civilians. How many times do we have to have this proven to be false before we accept the idea that it ain't necessarily so? Give me an announcer with a voice that I actually want to hear, who does the homework that a good journalist does, and doesn't feel compelled to trade in their past history of anecdotes. Please. We've had decades to see that jockocracy doesn't work, really.

2) Home field advantage exists. Not often, in this era of new stadiums where loud people are nowhere near the field, Road Fan is all over the place, and even the home crowd is often compromised due to fantasy league action.

1) Fans from Area X are more mean / friendly / smart / dumb / drunken / loyal than fans from Area Y. Please. With each succeeding year, regional dialects disappear, blogs and the World Wide Lemur push people into the same lingo, and we all become fatter and dumber. Boston Fan, who is supposed to be so knowledgeable and appreciative, reacted with distance and disdain to the Celtics as they lost Game Seven at home to the Magic. Dodger Fan, with decades of history and championships, rolled over for the return of Manny Ramirez like they were an expansion team. Redskins Fan sold so many seats to Steeler Fan, it was more or less a neutral site game. And so on, and so on. We're all the same now; self-centered, short-sighted, out for Number One, and booing is a nationwide pastime. Welcome to the bottom.


Van Lease said...

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pdb said...

My only nit to pick is with your myth that "athletes are overpaid". I think you're missing the point slightly - the "athletes are overpaid" sentiment comes from the fact that a utility infielder makes $3 million a year and a teacher makes $35K a year. Within a sport, players are not over- or under-paid, certainly, but relative to society as a whole athletes (and film stars) are tremendously overpaid.

DMtShooter said...

Good point. Let me go contrarian here. Of course teachers are underpaid... but

a) Teachers can work as teachers until old age

b) Assuming they don't suffer at the hands of a criminal act, they are under no danger of death or paralysis in the course of their day

c) People do not watch them on television, buy their merch, or track them in fantasy leagues; there is no additional monetization from their work.

d) Few, if any, have the leverage to get a much better salary; another school isn't going to bid for their services, a la free agency.

e) Teacher salaries are never high enough, and teachers are never good enough, when it's your kid in the school. Once you are past that worry, seeing a teacher with a six-figure salary paid for with your homeowner taxes might rankle.

Capitalism rules that the athlete get paid more. (And, I'd argue, taxed more on income. But that makes me a Dangerous Leftist in the eyes of many of the blog's readers.)

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