Are Sports Essential?

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Jacob Smith

During this time, the stadiums are empty waiting for sports to resume (Photo courtesy of Jacob Smith).

In the times we are currently in, many people have found themselves with hours of free time and are unsure what to do with themselves. On top of that, many people are under the shelter in place order, so we cannot go out.This leaves many people looking for entertainment, but many televised events can no longer take place due to the coronavirus precautions. Quarantine has  made many people want sports. The NFL Draft this year became the most viewed draft of all time and the Last Dance, a Michael Jordan documentary, has become a huge success. People have even started betting on video game simulations. Florida has even recently declared WWE and live sports essential. This leaves us with a question, are sports essential?

“The game of basketball has been everything to me. My place of refuge, place I’ve always gone where I needed comfort and peace. It’s been the site of intense pain and the most intense feelings of joy and satisfaction. It’s a relationship that has evolved over time, given me the greatest respect and love for the game.” said Michael Jordan in his Hall of Fame Induction speech.

One reason why sports could be considered essential is the lessons we can learn through sports. Sports can teach us important lessons such as perseverance, teamwork, and the importance of hard work. The athletes who participate in live sports are gifted professionals who have been training their whole lives for these critical moments. There are a lot of lessons we can learn from professional athletes. Some of them have risen from their circumstances and worked to get them where they are today. Watching these athletes can create bonds between family members and friends. Athletes can be learn from amateur sports as well. Teams can often feel like a second family and sports can improve the character of the players. There are a lot of positive lessons we can learn from sports which might be what we need in quarantine right now.

“Sports creates a bond between contemporaries that lasts a lifetime. It also gives your life structure, discipline and a genuine, sincere, pure fulfillment that few other areas of endeavor provide.” said basketball player and coach Bob Cousy famously.

Another reason why sports could be considered essential is the entertainment that sports bring. As stated before, the NFL draft has become the most viewed NFL draft, a title previously held by the 2014 draft. This shows the longing for sports. Sports can be a great way to entertain yourself because you really never know what could happen. Anything can happen in a sports game which can lead to varying outcomes. There is no team that can’t be beaten and no team which can’t win. Furthermore, the emotion that comes with being a sports fan makes following sports one of the interesting forms of entertainment.

“I enjoy watching/playing sports mainly because it lets me bond with the people in watching/playing and I appreciate the skill and work that goes into playing [the game].” said sophomore Geoge Cerimele.

But while lessons and entertainment are important, is this enough to make sports considered essential? No, it doesn’t, until you factor in a third element. This element is the impact of sports on the economy. Sports are a huge industry that rakes in billions of dollars every year. One example that shows the value of sports teams is the purchase of the Carolina Panthers. The Panthers are an NFL team that was purchased for 2.2 billion dollars. The Panthers are one of thirty-two teams in the National Football League which is only one of the nation’s national sports leagues. An article by Neil Paine estimates that the National Basketball Association (NBA) earns around eight billion dollars per year. This is only a portion of the revenue made by professional leagues. This doesn’t even consider college, high school, and even younger sports leagues. All of the equipment has to be bought, fields and courts need maintenance, and fuel is needed for transportation. Even without selling tickets, which only make up around twenty percent of revenue according to the same article, sports provide revenue for the areas they are in. The teams need a place to eat, practice, live, and transportation. All of this creates jobs for Americans and stimulates the economy. This is the main reason that sports should be considered essential.

“The sports industry as a whole brings roughly $14.3 billion in earnings a year …The industry also contributes 456,000 jobs with an average salary of $39,000 per job.” said Gwen Burrow in an economic report in 2013.

As the future of sports is being considered during this pandemic, we should consider the positive effects that sports bring. Similar to the NFL Draft, these games should see record numbers of viewers on television, even though the stadiums may have to remain empty. We should remember the impact that these games have on our lives. Sports provide a connection between us. They are powerful teachers and great stimulators for the economy. On top of this, sports resuming may encourage the public that the end of this situation is near. Sports would bring something new to a nation of people who are in desperate need of hope.