Odd priorities

First and foremost, I’d like to apologize for the long gap between posts. School has started again, and it takes up the majority of my free time.

I saw a bumper sticker today that made me pause and reflect. It said, “Soccer is where we live; life is where we spend time between games.” And I couldn’t help but reflect on the utter sadness and shallowness of that sentiment. Really? You’re that obsessed with soccer? It’s the central pillar in your life? Perhaps it’s time to rethink your priorities.

I would never argue that sports don’t have merit, please don’t misunderstand me. Athletics promote teamwork and cooperation, can boost self-confidence, and keep the body in shape. That’s all wonderful. But what this bumper sticker reminded me of today is that there are people who live for sports. Their entire lives revolve around sports. They attend every game, record every match, participate in every fantasy league.

It seems like such an American trope. Look at how much our professional athletes are paid. I’m not saying they don’t deserve that money; they generate massive amounts of income and get a paycheck accordingly. But if market forces determine the wages of athletes, what does that say about our market? What does it say about our society when the average teacher is paid $51,591 and the average NBA player’s salary is $5.15 million? Well, speaking strictly from an economic standpoint, it means that we as a society value NBA players about 100x more than we value teachers.

This is just a symptom of a larger shift in priorities. If you asked the average American to name just one current scientist, I bet they couldn’t do it. But can they name all of the Kardashians? Naturally. There was a time in this country when men and women of intellect were who people looked up to, who people found inspiration in. Now? People read TMZ instead of Scientific American. Our nation as a whole is losing its intellectual ability and curiosity. Over time things like innovation, discovery, and creation have been replaced by reality television and ESPN. If people took the fanaticism they have for sports and applied it to math and science, I can only image how much the world would improve.

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