My view: Football blown out of proportion: Entertainment or lifestyle?

By Carson Ivory

For the Deseret News

Published: Friday, May 30 2014 12:00 a.m. MDT

Updated: Thursday, May 29 2014 8:28 p.m. MDT

Would you ever stand outside in the blistering heat or in the freezing cold to watch a group of sweaty hulks beat each other up? How about pay $300 or more to be able to watch all the man-fests you want? If you are a football fan, the answer is yes.

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Would you ever stand outside in the blistering heat or in the freezing cold to watch a group of sweaty hulks beat each other up? How about pay $300 or more to be able to watch all the man-fests you want? Would you support spending billions of tax-dollars to subsidize a company that can already afford to pay seven-figure incomes to hundreds of employees? If you are a football fan, the answer is "yes." Professional football is a waste of time and money. It breeds contention and ill will among fans, creates false idols and poor role-models for the rising generation, and sinks countless dollars into an industry that is for the sole purpose of entertainment.

How is football a waste of money, one might ask? Doesn't it generate billions of dollars per year on its own, through the sale of merchandise, just like any other legitimate business? Well, although enamored sports fanatics do spend an estimated $8.4 billion per year on cheap knick-knacks and overpriced food, teams like the Minnesota Vikings are still building $975 million stadiums with taxpayer money, even in the midst of a $1.1 billion deficit in the state. Imagine if we spent such money on things that return value, such as production, education or scientific research. Instead, we are pouring it into a corporation that is meant only to entertain. This counterintuitive misappropriation of funds seems outrageous, but it is the rule, rather than the exception.

It may be outrageous to pay billions of tax dollars to football teams, but even the money they earn independently is proof of the way Americans have blown football out of proportion. Many people spend upwards of $200 for Nike "Elite" Jerseys. To put that into perspective, that's more than a new iPhone. Not to mention overpriced concessions and souvenirs. The NFL sunday ticket can easily cost more than $300, or a week of groceries.

Some argue that football brings people together, that rallying behind a common cause allows fans to feel a part of something greater. However, football typically causes people to develop a viewpoint of binary opposition. My team is better than your team. We are better than you. If you're not with me, you're against me, and you're wrong. I submit that we should not be teaching our children such a confrontational attitude. I fear that if we continue to promote such behavior, it could have unpredictable consequences in the future of politics, business and education.

Caring so much about any sports team is hard to support logically. Imagine your favorite team wins every game in their season. What do you do? Celebrate, naturally. It's normal for people to take joy in accomplishment. But it's not your accomplishment to take pride in. If someone's favorite team lost every game, they would not suffer, nor do fans contribute to the success of such teams. Too many people use the success of the team they support as an excuse to act superior to the people around them.

I love friendly competition; I enjoy working together to accomplish a common goal. There are many great things about football; but this sport, originally meant to be a means of entertainment, has been blown far out of proportion. I urge everyone, fans and non-fans alike, to reconsider the way they look at football. Do you spend a healthy amount of time and money engaging in this recreational activity? Or is football crossing the line between a mode of entertainment, and a lifestyle?

Carson Ivory is a senior at West Jordan High School.

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