Friday, February 13, 2009

Sunday Scribblings - Sports - 2/13/09

When I saw the prompt was sports, there were several ways I could go. I could talk about how my life has been defined and enhanced by sports. I was a competitor in my younger years,
then became a coach, critic, and motivator, as my children participated in a variety of sports,

and now am pretty much reduced to being a fan, unless you count golf and bowling as sports.

My poor daughter, Carly, by virtue of living with three guys, had no choice but to play sports as well.

Lucky for her, she was a good athlete, but in high school switched to cheer leading. Carly was good enough at that to compete in the national championships at Disney World.

She has continued this competitive family tradition with her son, Carson. She has exposed him to several team sports to let him discover which ones he enjoys, if any.

My granddaughter Maris has already shown some talent. If nothing else she has learned to pose like an athlete.

I know a lot of bloggers consider themselves academics that are above sports and will predictably rail against athletic folly but they were and are a very valuable glue that helped to hold a broken family together. Don't get me wrong, we did not obsess with sports at the expense of academics. All three of my children graduated with honors from college. I was always of the belief that the best way to keep kids out of trouble is by keeping them busy with activities. In a military community, sports were always available. All three of my kids possessed aptitude for physical competition. After hauling their trophies all over the world, I gave most of them away to the Special Olympics, keeping only those with special meaning.
I could have written about that but I decided not to.

I could have talked about how professional sports have been ruined for me by the money, drugs, attitude of the players, and corruption. Here are a few facts that will illustrate my disillusionment with where professional sports have gone.

4th place in a single major PGA tournament pays more money than I have earned in my entire life (I checked my social security statement).

2nd place at a major PGA tournament pays more than Arnold Palmer made in his career.

Alex Rodriguez makes more money in a 3 game weekend series than I have made in my entire life.

In 2008, playing in only 6 events, Tiger Woods won more prize money than Jack Nicklaus, the greatest golfer of all-time, earned in his entire career.

David Beckham made $13,000 per each minute he played for the Los Angeles Galaxy. He was paid $32.5 million dollars and played a total of 2,500 minutes.

Carl Pavano was paid $40 million by the New York Yankees and pitched a total of 26 games, winning only 9 of them. That is over $4.4 million per win.

The minimum wage of a major league baseball player who is a bench warmer and may never actually get on the field is $390,000.

The minimum wage of an NFL rookie, who may never get into a game is $295,000.

The minimum wage of an NBA rookie, who may never get into a game is $442,114.

The minimum wage of an NHL rookie, who may never get into a game is $450,000.

Is it any wonder kids are drawn to steroids in order to compete at a high level?

But I decided not to write about that aspect of sports either.

What I have decided to write about a sporting event that I recently attended that restored a bit of my faith in professional sports. Though I am not a hockey fan by any means, my daughter and grandson recently treated me to a professional hockey game in Winston Salem. The Twin City Cyclones participate in the Southern Professional Hockey League. Yes, they have hockey in the south. I was surprised too.
It is, however, the absolute bottom of the professional hockey barrel. These kids play their hearts out with absolutely no hope of ever lacing them up in the National Hockey League. They are definitely not doing it for the money or glory. They play in front of about 1,000 fans. The league enforces a $5,600 a week salary cap which is split between the 18 players on the roster. The league minimum for Canadian players is $275 (hear that NHL). They can pay Americans less than that (we evidently suck at Hockey). Players are provided a place to live and some local restaurants give them discounts and that is it. And for that they get the absolute stuffing beat out of them. They undoubtedly play for the love of the game.

As a non-hockey fan, I was entertained every bit as much as if I were watching the top tier of the NHL and had a lot better seats. They have a mascot, though I am not entirely sure what it is. It is some kind of blue bird. How that relates to a cyclone is anybody's guess. But it nearly got ran over by the Zamboni, further adding to my enjoyment.

We attended on Humane Society Night and if you brought a dog your admission was free. They had dog shows on a carpet rolled out on the ice between each period. Skooter would not have approved and would have made a scene. The Cyclones even gave my grandson a puck and would have autographed it if we had desired.


Anonymous said...

that was a longgggggggggggggggggggg one :)
but a good one :)
chk mine at

linda may said...

I am glad to see you not writing about sports. He he.

Sweet Talking Guy.. said...

Wonderfully entertaining and informative post!

Anonymous said...

Oh this is totally not what I expected. Very good. By the way, not sure if skip-its is truly a sport. Not many professional jump ropers out there. :)It was fun though. Love ya. Carly

myrtle beached whale said...


I usually keep my posts short so people will actually read them but this one caused me to ramble on a bit.

Carly: I am sure skip-its is more of a sport than Texas Hold-em, which is broadcast on ESPN.

Michelle said...

Excellent post... I appreciate you putting professional sports salaries into perspective. I knew they made disgusting amounts of money, now I know just how much.

myrtle beached whale said...


In many cases an 18 year old is given millions of dollars and adulation, then we are surprised when they lose their mind.

Linda Jacobs said...

This was fun to read and disgusting about the money!

I enjoyed looking at the pictures, too1

Tumblewords: said...

Reflective post nicely done.

keiths ramblings said...

Fantastic post, and from someone who could not be less interested in sport is saying something.You touched on my pet subject - the indecent amount of money sloshing around so-called sport. UK football is big business. Manchester City recently bid £91million ($130 million)for a foreign player and the offer was rejected!I feel a new post coming on.

rosey said...

I just love the photos of the kids playing sport. In my post I've gone back to my school sports days. I just loved your piece

Redheels said...

Those salaries just slay me.

Your post surprised me. I enjoyed it and the pics were great too.

floreta said...

lots of things to think about. its good that your family can bond with sports. i also agree that activities keep kids out of trouble.. the strongest being sports and music.. i am also disillusioned by sports salaries. do they really have to get paid that much? it's ridiculous..

Regina said...

No one could possibly do ANYTHING that well to warrant the kind of money given to our pro sports players. I love when they say that their careers are short, so they ned to make as much money as possible in that short time. Then they retire, and get lucrative contracts as doing the color commentary on TV. Yeah, it sound rough. Don't know how they manage. And no, it is not surprising that people are willing to cheat to get there, or that they become jerks once they do.

Stan Ski said...

Blow football is about all I have the energy for these days.

Fledgling Poet said...

I really enjoyed your post...that hockey team you watched in Winston-Salem is so inspiring. I wish I could say the same for the professional athletes that make gazillions these days...