Pro sports lack purity, passion
Published: Thursday, May 25, 2006
Updated: Tuesday, January 18, 2011 15:01
As the NHL and NBA playoffs wind down this month, I find myself disinterested with who will be crowned champion. That's because the pro game has evolved into something that I detest.
I still root for my Bay Area teams, but it's just not the same as experiencing collegiate athletics.
An integral part of such an experience involves the environment. In college, if an underdog upsets a powerhouse, it's huge news. All you need to do in order to validate that point is watch what happens when the Duke men's basketball team loses a game.
In the professional arena, upsets like that are taken for granted. Wildcard teams in the past few years from both the American League and the National League have gone on to win the World Series, but it is usually unimportant.
Only one percent of collegiate athletes will ever turn professional. We can infer, then, that nearly all care deeply about their team and school, since they'll never compete at the same level again.
Professional athletes have been quoted as saying that they don't care about their team's outcome as much as the fans do. If they don't care, then why should we?
Also, they generally do not care as much because they are paid to play. In their defense, my work ethic would probably become lackadaisical if I got a paycheck regardless of my performance.
College athletes, on the other hand, must perform in order to play. They play for the love of the game, the camaraderie of the team and the opportunity of success. You know this simple truth based on the enthusiasm and passion that collegiate athletes put forth.
When was the last time you saw the majority of professional baseball players run hard down the line? At the Giants-Cardinals game on May 22, only one player -- David Eckstein -- ran hard after hitting a routine grounder. This is a vast difference from the college game, where many of the top division one players sprint to first base even after a walk.
People that generally enjoy the college game more than the pro game will tell you that because it is more pure. And unfortunately, the purity that once existed in pro sports has evolved into the form of steroids (the asterisk era in baseball), gambling (Pete Rose, anyone?) and greed (how many strikes and lockouts have we had in the past 15 years?).
Luckily, we get to witness college sports firsthand, which is why I would urge all students to enjoy sports in their most pure form. While it lasts, of course.
Contact Mike Kaufmann at (408) 551-1918 or firstname.lastname@example.org