Sport as Drug

Sport as Drug

It didn’t take long for the hypnotic cocktail of fandom, apathy, and indifference to kick in. It doesn’t usually take very long. Part narcotic, part anti-depressant, it relieves us of the intense brightness of the mainstream and social media spotlight, however short-lived, on the latest shock and disappointment. Eventually everyday patterns overtake the brief call for making a change.

I could be talking about a lot of things, but this narrative plays out most often in sports. It shouldn’t seem so long ago that the NFL conversation revolved around the physical and mental abuse of assault. But the show must go on, with or without Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson. The public demanded a progressive response, but that is easier to forget now that Peyton Manning has torched the league again, smashing the touchdown pass record. What about the anger vented at Commissioner Roger Goodell? I imagine the public relations advisors are feeling pretty good about cashing their checks.

For many of us, sport fires our synapses and juices our adrenaline. Whether as athlete, coach, or spectator, sport has a significant psychological and chemical impact on our bodies. Most of us have a limit though (often financial, sometimes emotional) that stops us from buying yet another team jersey, that stops us from watching SportsCenter for another hour, that stops us from having our lives all consumed. The balance differs within us, but for some there is no balance. For some sport is a highly addictive drug.

Like Roger Goodell, all consumed in his personal quest to reach $25 billion in revenue for the National Football League by protecting the shield but not the players, owners, and fans at the expense of it.

Like Adrian Peterson and Ray Rice, all consumed with competition, who won’t be embarrassed especially by those they love and will deal with it by dominating the way they do on the field.

Like fans, all consumed with an entertainment that helps them escape from the real matters in their everyday lives, who won’t let the people and sports they admire and devote their precious free time to convince them (despite repeated disappointment) that their time deserves to be better spent on other activities.

Leagues, teams, and players have a responsibility to themselves and their fans to provide the necessary resources to aid all those under their employ in managing their addictions. It is an investment worth protecting. Sport is worth our time and effort, but just like everything else, in moderation.

 

Author Description

JB Hacking

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