I live in a house with four guys. This might seem atypical. Picturing a stereotypical guys house, one might expect a messy house, full of beer and takeout containers, unorganized, dirty clothes, and a bunch of guys just watching TV, playing video games, and screaming at sports teams as they pass through. Though many of those things are true, the main thing that isn't is the sports.
Actually, I'm probably the only one that follows sports in any traditional fashion. I watch the games, keep up on scores and stats, and have a consistent stream of sports updates streaming in on my phone. I love watching sports, even though I've never actually participated in any. Since I was six years old, I remember watching football with my dad. My dad always enjoyed having me there with him watching the games on Thursday, Sunday, and Monday. Sometimes my mom would watch and it would be a full family event.
I still remember the first player's name I ever learned was Larry Fitzgerald, wide receiver for the Cardinals. I remember there was a spotlight segment on him where he promised his recently deceased mom that he would complete his college degree, a feat which he recently completed. The segment went on to tell about his philanthropy work, one of which was in tribute to his mother who died from cancer. Later on during the game, I remember watching the teams and slowly learning the difference between quarterbacks, cornerbacks, wide receivers, and linemen. I'd watch every amazing throw, block and interception, in awe at the players' physical prowess. Any time that a player would be injured, both teams would crowd around and pray for the player. Players who came from low-income areas are able to buy their families houses and cars, fulfilling a lifelong dream. As I watched, I grew to appreciate the plays, the game, the players as people, and the family and community aspect of the game.
To me, football was more than just the game.
Now as I've grown older, I've started following the game closer, watching the draft and predicting the picks and the free agency signings. I've analyzed plays and judged what should be done in the future. I've branched out and started watching other sports, namely basketball.
But as I've grown older and the time has passed on, it's become more apparent that the games are not just the games or the players. Political divides, the national anthem kneeling, sexual assault cases, and drug use, among others, have plagued NFL and other leagues. These are terrible issues that should be dealt with (but haven't been properly attended to). They should be dealt with more intensely and effectively, because it injures the league as a whole and are issues of injustice. When I asked my roommates why they didn't watch sports, they said that it was just a bunch of macho type men and boring. They noted the problems with the league. These issues pollute the perception of sports.
Instead of seeing all the articles on the Odyssey Sports page about the national anthem and the peaceful protests, I'd rather actually see something about the players or predictions for the season. We need to get back to the game.