Feb. 15, 1994 Today 350 reporters were camped out in Sarasota, FL. Why? What event could be so newsworthy that required 350 reporters - the size of a small town population - to cover it adequately? A typhoon? UFO? Another sighting of the Virgin Mary? No, none of those, although there is a certain religious fervor to the whole thing. Actually, what happened was Michael Jordan practiced baseball.

Baseball, like basketball, is a sport. We enjoy sports in our leisure time. But the problem is that major league, even college, sports have moved beyond being just a fun way to relax. They've become multi-zillion dollar obsessions. People in America know more about their favorite athletes than they do about geography or other "scholarly" subjects. That scares me. Truthfully, that scares me a lot.

Where are we headed as a society who takes games more seriously than we do politics? I'm wondering what would happen if the Bulls become the "Quad Squad" this year and, on the same night they sweep the series, the President of the United States (god forbid) gets assassinated. I tell you, news rooms across the country would find themselves in the midst of a crisis: which even should get the headline. I'd hope it would be our President, but I'm not so sure it would be. That's the significance professional sports have gained.

I don't know how it happened, either. Sure, sports are fun to watch, but isn't it a bit frightening that athletic superstars make 10 to 40 times more money than the President of our country?!? I mean, sure, all a President has to do is help run a country, but these athletes can hit a ball with a stick! (Take THAT, President Clinton!)

Maybe I'm overreacting, but I'm not a bit surprised that our country's future is looking a bit dim in certain areas. I wouldn't be the slightest bit surprised if a year's salary for a superstar athlete is more than the entire budget for some schools. It's enough to make a person want to drop out of school to make a nice buck shooting hoops. (I'm not saying no one should dream of doing it, but it's bad to rely on it only.)

At any rate, I'm just looking forward to the day when I can look up proudly, solute the Commander in Chief, and say, "Just do it, President Jordan!"

*This journal entry has been brought to you by NIKE. 'Cause NIKE understands that you can't REALLY play ball without $185 pump up shoes! (But that's another story!)

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