Sunday, June 02, 2013

JOCK ITCH CAN BE COSTLY.



Growing up, I was like a lot of kids when it came to sports. Far from a jock, I was skinny, slow and hardly athletic. Still, my neighbors and I played hockey with a tennis ball (as well as touch football) in the street, baseball in sandlots and park fields, and basketball at my driveway hoop and on playgrounds. As much as I sucked at everything, it was still fun and kept me from turning into some fat ass little couch potato.

I also had my teams growing up, mostly from my hometown. The exception was football. I knew that I wasn't going to be linebacker material when I grew up, and looking backward, now realize that I had made a fan choice based on personal identity. One day I was watching an NFL game on television when I saw this skinny sort of average sized dude making the most incredible catches from out of nowhere, and somehow for six points in many cases. Fred Biletnikoff made me a livelong citizen of Raider Nation.

Otherwise, I kept it local. I remember games in the Fenway bleachers (when tickets were three fuckin' dollars apiece). In what would be unthinkable to many parents nowadays, a bunch of us kids, mostly under the age of 12, would take the Green Line to Kenmore and walk over to the Park, snaking our way in to seats right behind the Red Sox bullpen. I went to the occasional Bruins game, and though Celtics tickets tended to be harder to come by (at least when they were winning), I was in City Hall Plaza in '81 when Larry Bird pointed out to a sign holding fan that “Moses (Malone) really DOES eat shit!” Since moving to Sacramento, I've become a fan of the Giants since the days of Kevin Mitchell and Will Clark, and also the San Jose Sharks, especially after Joe Thornton made his way west. Although I've stuck to my Celtic Pride all along, I went to a few Kings games and really was impressed when they got that hair width close to making it into the 2002 Finals.

Despite that lifetime of memories and involvement with "my" teams over all the years, recently I have experienced something of a personal epiphany in my old age.

You know what?

Fuck professional sports, that's what.

I am never, ever paying one penny into a professional sports franchise, in any way, shape or form, ever again.

I just can't see myself giving any money to the racket of today's pro sports with a clear conscience, much less with any feeling of common sense.

The very concept of the rampant moneychanging, when I try to contemplate it, makes me want to puke. Millions of dollars paid to grown men just to play the same games that children in playgrounds and gym classes participate in just for fun. Hundreds and even thousands of dollars for just one ticket to sit around for a few hours watching millionaires play a child's games. Jacked up retail store prices for sweatshop produced replica uniforms that the millionaires wear in the game, just so that the spectators buying them can delude themselves into thinking that the franchise that they are maxing out their credit cards over is “their” team.

The real kicker for me is seeing how professional sports teams and their corresponding league capos shake down cities for arena and stadium funding, despite the fact that these teams are, for the most part, privately owned business franchises which don't create revenue or improve civic life any better or worse than any other corporate entity out there. The whole extortion racket to me is, quite frankly, anti-American. I'm not on the anti-tax level of the Tea Party mantra by any means, but I feel that there is a big difference between working people's tax dollars paying for small business loans, infrastructure improvements, et cetera, as opposed to handouts to rich assholes who are perfectly capable of paying the full price for pro sports palace construction themselves. The no-life goons who show up at rallies and troll comment boards for the wealthy pigs who carry out these money and land grabbing schemes are an embarrassment to the cities in which they live.

So, the hell with it. No more game tickets for me, no more team ball caps, no more team tees or jackets. The same idiots who will spend umpteen dollars on an authentic replica team jersey are probably on illegal file sharing sites ripping off musicians who barely make the average annual income of a dishwasher for their recordings. I need to be the black sheep separating from that flock, and stat.