What are we talking about today?

Some days have themes. I don't necessarily post something in each of these topic areas every week.

Sunday: Church-related or spiritual things.
Monday: Running.
Tuesday: Books.
Wednesday: Transportation.
Friday: Green living.

16 July 2012

Trophy People

You might say I'm a bit of a sports fan.

I'm not a tennis player, but
I watch some on TV.
Normally, when someone says "a bit" like that, it's meant as a casual understatement. In my case, it's more or less true. I live in Texas, the land of American football, and I'm from Indiana, the home of basketball, but I don't spend much time with either sport. (Just to clarify: I love basketball and support my hometown-ish team, the Indiana Pacers, but I rarely take the time to watch a game. I catch the highlights after.) I watch tennis and soccer, especially European teams, and cycling when I'm at home while it's on. I'm pretty sure that most people who call themselves "real sports fans" would not consider me to be a member of the club.

On the other hand, one reason why I love the Olympics so much is because of the chance to see such a variety of sports in such a short time. I like to think of myself as a diversified sports fan.

Anyway! I get irritated sometimes about how the general public acts toward athletes. It's almost as though the general public feels ownership over athletes, as if we are owed al the details of their lives and nothing is permitted to remain private. For instance, last Sunday before the Wimbledon final, a reporter asked Andy Murray what he and his girlfriend had done for dinner the previous night. When Mr. Murray said, "None of your business," Twitter suddenly filled up with comments about what a horrible sportsman he is. Erm, no. It really isn't anyone's business theirs. His sportsmanship has nothing to do with answering personal questions.

Of course, for Andy Murray, the public have no problem finding things to complain about. It started long before that, with the English press berating him for saying that he supported Anyone But England in the World Cup (coincidentally, that's who I support, too), and him finally getting exasperated and pointing out how much time he spends in England and how many English friends he has, which led to a backlash in Scotland about him being so pally with the English. For goodness' sakes.

And we do it in the US, too: I've lost count of how many times I've heard people complain about athletes not "respecting the fans" because they look bored during a press conference or have to hurry away or whatever. Seriously? I like that athletes thank their fans and acknowledge that other peoples' support is an encouragement and a help to them. But I don't for one moment think that elite athletes owe fans anything. We aren't there during their hours of training, we're not the ones getting up early and working out to the point of exhaustion, and most of us aren't in the family/friends circle. They're not obligated to devote their spare time to their fan base.

I understand that the reason athletes get paid what they do is because people make sports valuable. Without fans, there'd be not ticket sales, no contracts, no prize money. Granted. But that still doesn't make their private lives public, and it still doesn't mean fans have first dibs on an athlete's moods or time. And I think we need to get that and be okay with it.

What do you think?


Liz said...

It's the same thing with any celebrity. People think they should know the minutae of their lives. We shouldn't. It's about the game (or the show), not the other.

I know I'm in the minority, but I really don't pay attention. I just don't care.

erica and christy said...

I love baseball, and being born and raised in Wisconsin, of course I love my Milwaukee Brewers. But when our closer, Jon Axford, lost the game for the team (for the 5th time this year, even though he had 40-some saves straight before that), he actually got death threats on Twitter.

Death threats. For a baseball game. Against the St. Louis Cardinals, the reigning national champions. Those aren't true fans, no matter what they say. They should be id'd and fined.

Not putting your entire well-being into a game where you're only a spectator is probably a good idea. :)

Su said...

@Liz: Yes, very true! I'm not sure it's worth it to be successful. :/

@Erica: That's insane. Death threats? Those are people who need a different hobby. And possibly stronger meds. Also? People who treat freedom of speech like that don't deserve it.