$29 for nosebleed seats at a recent baseball game. You’ve got to be kidding me.
Okay, first let me admit a few things. Baseball itself bores the hell out of me; I attended only for the social atmosphere and the opportunity to hang with some friends. And yes, I do pay (less grudgingly) $40-$70 for an evening of live theatre.
But I got to thinking… $29 for this activity is just ridiculous, and not because it’s not worth $29 of fun for some people. No, it’s because I’m being inundated with bazillions of blaring, garish ads all around me, I can barely see what’s going on on the field without binoculars, and these overpaid oft-steroid’ed babies down there are raking in millions of bucks per year. Frankly, if all was right with the world, I thought, these folks (and their managers and everyone associated with such a non-critical function of society) would make, say, $150,000 a year, tops.
My dad, the semi-retired award-winning teacher featured on CNN and in People magazine for his life-changing dedication to young people… he certainly never topped six figures in a year.
Firefighters, paramedics, Peace Corp engineers… how many of them make in a year what some whiny brats make in the stadium in one week or even one day?
Clearly, there’s absolutely zero correlation in our country (or, sadly, most countries) between intrinsic-worth-to-society and compensation.
You can argue that sports pulls us together, promotes harmony, makes our lives brighter. Pshaw. Maybe in a bygone era. How many of our current sports “heroes” can rightly be called, well, heroes? How many of them serve as shining examples to our kids? Are there ANY highly-paid pro athletes who clearly play for the love of the game, for the love of their fans, for anything other than more bling-bling? When I walked out of the ballpark the other day, I felt like I had just paid to be witnessing a long, drawn out commercial featuring plastic video effects, plastic runners, and plastic fans who dutifully cheered on cue whenever “Make some noise!” flashed on the ad-covered jumbotron.
It’s not just the world of sports, though. If we stopped paying [x] million per movie or per CD, would we really find ourselves without any willing and talented actors and actresses or writers or musicians? Would NO ONE contribute athletically or artistically without the potential for striking it rich?
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In my ideal society, people could still easily make a comfortable living as athletes, entertainers, artists. But the spectacle of a handful of people—and, frankly, often not-very-nice people at that—getting filthy stinking rich while the majority of others have to work two unglamorous jobs to make ends meet… that just really irks me.
And, hell, I’ll go off on a tangent here… why is America so addicted to Names? Why do we go see an unflinchingly horribly crappified movie just because it stars a star? Can’t we just get a poster of the guy or girl and put it up in our bedroom? Conversely, why do fine films languish simply because they’ve “got no star power”?
In a larger sense… why are we so addicted to fame, or, more specifically, the famous? Are our lives that meaningless and empty that we have to hero’ize and throw money at those who already have way too much adulation and moolah?
Blah. Unfortunately, I have no answers. Where people will pay, people will earn. And, as usual, we’ll continue to be blind to the long-term benefits of truly supporting (okay, subsidizing) careers that truly make the world a better place.
Until someday, we idealistic geeks and goddamn commie-pinko intellectuals take over the world. Maybe even in my lifetime… 😉
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P.S.—If, even after being subjected to this rant, you’d still like to see my photos from the baseball park, you’re welcome to 😀