Why I Stopped Watching College Athletics

It Feels Wrong To Watch College Athletics, So I Stopped

After years of watching college football and basketball religiously, I decided to stop.

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Growing up in Indiana, in a relatively small university town in a decent size, but the still small feeling county, college athletics were huge. Whether it meant going to live Valparaiso University NCAA Division I basketball games, or following Big Ten football and basketball, as well as what was happening with college programs across the US, many in my hometown were glued in.

For years I would watch as many college football games on Saturdays as I could, as I did not have to my homework on a Saturday. With Valparaiso University being my parents' employment, they took me to plenty of VU basketball games, so I followed that as well as the rest of the college basketball scene. With basketball being huge in Indiana, people are fervent supporters of Indiana, Purdue, as well as some Notre Dame (although ND is a football school) and Butler.

In high school, I remember hearing about the cheating scandal at the University of North Carolina with their men's basketball and football programs, and then they faced little sanctions compared to what some expected. Then I took an ethics class my freshman year of college where the professor posed the age-old question of whether or not college athletes should be paid (they currently are not). The discussions in there forced me to think critically about whether or not the "non-profit" NCAA has been exploiting student-athletes in the process of making millions at their biggest tournaments and via TV money.

Former Purdue football player Albert Evans, from the same area I grew up in, posted on a Purdue SB Nation blog in 2018 about the brutal life of a student-athlete. NCAA student-athletes, not just at the Division I level, face a brutal schedule and see little return, especially if they are not on a full scholarship, and most outside of D1 football and basketball are not. The academic return they do get may be in a watered down major or less than average since much if not most of their focus is on their athletic schedule.

For the big-time athletes who play for a top-level school's program, they are unable to make money off of their likeness, as in many college towns, football and basketball jerseys are sold with their number, but without their last name. Because of amateurism rules that the NCAA regulates to the nth degree, none of the money that the elite college athletes make for their schools goes to them, which in a country with fair labor and wage laws, seems a bit wrong to me.

I know that most college athletic programs operate in the red, and even in a pay-to-play free market, the non-revenue sports could not afford to give small stipends (which the major junior hockey league system in North America provides). Personally, I wish higher level non-pro athletics would be separated from education completely, so academic institutions can focus on education, while sports people can focus on running their independent sports programs.

I get it, college athletics have great history and tradition in the United States and millions enjoy watching NCAA athletics. Whether it be because of personal ties or local culture, as seen in the South where college football is almost religious, people will continue to watch. Though I've gone to a couple of events to support friends from high school, I personally cannot watch major sports on TV anymore as it feels wrong to me to contribute to a system that isn't completely fair to the ones making the entertainment possible.

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On June 22nd I Celebrated My 22nd

*Insert cliche Taylor Swift song "22"*

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It's about time I turn 22. I've been told that after your 21st birthday, the years begin to fly past you in a blur. I don't know if I agree, but I can definitely say that I don't feel 22. Sometimes I look around at all the people who are freshmen in college, or juniors in high school, and I begin to reminisce about when I was their age. One thing getting older does do is make you a skeptical, cynical person.

I've thought a lot about my birthday as another day that I get to eat cake because let's face it, I'm not really here for anything else, except maybe a shot. I remember celebrating my birthday when I was younger was much different from what it turned into after I turned 20. Back in the day, I would celebrate my birthday with a pool party. Pizza, chips, cake, and soda. A few balloons and candles and that was it. I'd only invite my closest friends and we'd have so much fun.

I miss that kind of birthday. The kind you pick out an outfit for days prior, the kind you get so excited for and can't sleep, the kind that makes you feel special. It doesn't feel like that anymore. What it feels like now is, "welp, there goes another year." This line is also applicable to New Year's Eve, but we'll cross that bridge six months from now.

My birthday is pretty uneventful. It feels like the spark is gone, the excitement is gone. I wish I could feel happy that I'm turning 22, but I also know that it's just a reality that we all get older and things like birthdays begin to feel strange. You're faced to realize that you're supposed to have gained another year of experience and intelligence in the aspects of life, but it's almost like you feel the same.

It's safe to say that this has been a bit of an existential-crisis-themed birthday, but I'm just a little scared of getting older. I think we all reach a point where you realize you aren't invincible anymore. It's time to see what's in store for the future, what your career goals are, where you plan to move to after graduation, how to eat better, and how to feel like you've reached your full potential. It's a bittersweet moment in my life, but I'm ready to see what's next.

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10 Netflix Recommendations

Here are some things to watch this summer that you may have never considered — in no particular order.

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I'm by no means a Netflix expert, but I believe I have some semblance of taste. I often find myself looking for undiscovered gems on Netflix, but they're kind of hard to find for a couple of reasons: 1) People are kinda bad at recommending things. Any list that recommends "Black Mirror" or "Bird Box" as if you've never heard of it before loses all credibility. 2) Movies/shows that are clearly a cut above the other content on Netflix tend to rise to the top of the cultural conversation.

With that said, I will probably put somehting on this list that you feel has broken rule 1. Fine — I get it. I'm not re-recommending the wheel here. Here's a list of ten things I've seen on Netflix before that more people should watch too, in no particular order.

The Netflist

1. "Boyhood" (2014)

This movie took 12 years to make ... that is absolutely astonishing on its own. In my mind this movie lives up to its perfect 100 Metacritic Score. I can't recommend this personal yet epic film enough. Patricia Arquette & Ethan Hawke turn in two of the most grounded parental performances ever captured by cameras. This is potentially a top 10 movie ever made.

2. "Dark" (2017-Present)

Me trying to figure out where the hell Season 2 of this show is going.

If you like gritty-weird-conspiracy-murder shows then is this the show for you. Heads up, however, this show is best consumed in its native tongue, Deutsch. Just read the English subtitles like a sane person, please. Now is the time to catch up on this peach of a show before Season 2 drops at the end of June.

3. "The Spectacular Now" (2013)

This movie has been doing some serious legwork for Shaliene Woodley and Miles Teller in my mind for like the past 3 years. I seriously wish I liked more of their work the way I love "The Spectacular Now." If you haven't guessed by my previous writings, I'm a sap for love stories of all shapes and sizes. This movie is worth a watch for the Kyle Chandler/Brie LArson bit parts alone.

4. "Extras" (2005-2007)

What makes this show special isn't the ludicrous amount of famous people (unfortunately no Ludacris, though) that make cameos as the complete opposite versions of themselves, it is the constant cast. Gervais' comedy is a unique brand that isn't for everyone, but this is great. Give thanks to BBC that this HBO show is on Netflix.

5. "Love, Death & Robots" (2019)

It was *so* hard to choose a GIF for this show because of its nature. Essentially it's an animated anthology series with a wide variety of themes and art styles that is connected by the over-arching theme of losing a left hand -- I mean, technology. P.S. I will be making a ranking of this shows episodes at some point in the future.

6. "The Keepers" (2017)

This is for the True Crime genre fans out there. "The Keepers" also fills the niche of Church-Conspiracy a la "Spotlight", which is a favorite sub-genre of mine. Amazingly told and beautifully filmed, but be warned: this show could leave you a bit disappointed if you needa happy ending.

7. "Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist" (2008)

This is as tumblr as any article I've ever written has gotten.

Based on the novel with the same name, this indie Rom-Com never quite lives up to its potential, but it's a solid movie with Michael Cera — what more could one need? Oh you definitely needed more, how about a small Andy Samberg cameo? Thought so.

8. "The Innocent Man"  (2018)

Oddly enough, this True Crime Docuseries is based on a nonfiction book written by the incredibly prolific John Grisham. What sets this apart from other pulp in the genre are the chilling reenactments — some of the best I've ever seen. We're talking "The Jinx" level detail.

9. "All the President's Men" (1976)

How important I imagine I look when I write about Super Smash Bros.

Honestly it's ridiculous to have this classic, that is almost universally renowned as a masterpiece, appearing on this list. My reasoning is that there is a new generation of people on Netflix that I fear not only haven't seen it, but will never have any interest in this movie (or other classics, for that matter). This movie is a cultural landmark and as we go through a corrupt administration now, it's nice to see how they dealt with it in the 70s. Psst, journalists are heroes. Tell a friend.

10. "The Autopsy of Jane Doe" (2016)

Me and my girlfriend watched this a few nights ago. At least I think it was a few nights ago, I haven't slept since. Director Andre Øvredal is directing the upcoming "Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark" so prepare for that by watching some of his earlier work.

Follow Alejandro on Twitter and Instagram @AtSignAlejandro or @WhyNautsComedy for more content.

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