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The NFL season started this weekend past. “Are you ready for some football,” rang out from my TV. Yes I was! The hoopla, the promotions, the build up, bombs even bursting in air, games on TV. I loved it. But there was a lingering flaw.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my sports. I’m a huge fan. But, generically, whenever I think of sports today, I get depressed. Not at sports in general. Not at a great game, a great series, a great accomplishment, a great highlight. Those are, well, great.

Played sports for years. Coached them too. Spent a helluva lot of money going to games. These days, I go out and watch friend’s kid’s games, just to see the game, the story, the effort, the teamwork, the competition. Still appreciate “the human drama of athletic competition” but …

The problem is, lately, professional sports are all about the money. Yeah I know it’s inherent in the name, professional sports. However, when you can feed a starving family for a month for the price of a game ticket these days …therein lies the sports depression.

Here’s why.

Trouble number one: The main trouble with sports today can be summed up by these two comparisons:

In 1981, the Tribune Company purchased the Chicago Cubs from the William Wrigley. The purchase price, $20.5 million in cash.

31 years later, the salary for Alphonso Soriano for the 2012 season was 19 million dollars. It was part of a $136 million dollar deal. ONE player’s salary for one year almost equaled the price of an entire team 30 years ago. The total contract itself is astounding.

Trouble number two: The proliferation of sports talk radio stations. Don’t get me wrong. I love them and listen to them regularly, but REALLY 24/7 coverage of SPORTS talk in DRAMATIC fashion with in depth analysis over and over and dare I say it, over again, as if the RESULT of a single game actually matters for the common good of mankind?? Never mind the hyperbole of the pre-game show.

After this weeks opening game between the Cincinnati Bengals and Chicago Bears, the talking heads went something like this:

In Cincinnati: The Bengals lost. Therefore, the world will be destroyed in 40 days, possibly by rain, maybe fire. 12 men on the field means fire. Look for fire.
In Chicago: The Bears won. The world will be a place of peace and harmony for 40 days. Noah can’t find the other mosquito.

In depth analysis on whether the zit on the quarterback’s forehead affected his passing with people calling in professing to be experts on the same subject?

“Hi, I’m Bob. I have an amazing zoom lens on my camera. The quarterback had a huge zit that made him lean to the left causing him to throw off his back foot.” Thank you, Bob.

RANTING and RAVING and SCREAMING IN LOUD VOICES that ONLY a hearing impaired person could appreciate? HE HAD A ZIT. BOB EVEN SAW IT. Spare me.

Trouble number 3: The violence. I challenge you to find ONE football game where someone does NOT leave the field injured. Need I include hockey? Further in depth analysis is not needed. I leave that to the sports talk shows.

Trouble number 4, ticket prices: See problem number one. The price of player’s contracts puts the price of tickets back on the fans. The common man (or woman) cannot afford a ticket.

For the price of tickets for a family of four for ONE game, that same family can have a nice weekend getaway complete with hotel and pool. Ok kids, do you want to spend three hours looking for Jay Cutler’s zit or three days at a water park hotel? Nobody voted for the zit.

Trouble number … well let’s stop here.

So, if you wanna see a football game this weekend, check out your local high school and drop $5 for a ticket. If you wanna see a zit, drop your wallet, and call in on Monday, then you know where to go.

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