Going Berserk for the Right Cause

by Lee Ryan

The other day, I was on the elliptical machine at the gym. They always have four TV monitors going, at the same time. However, I don’t normally watch TV and am quite content to not have any earphones and just enjoy the silence or occasional clank of a barbell.

What I did notice is how the athletes are revered – almost to the point of being ridiculous. No, let me rephrase that – to the point of being really ridiculous.

I know about as much about sports as men know about women and visa versa, but something seems catawampus, as my grandmother would have put it.

Golfing, for instance; these men mince around in their pastel plaid pants, whacking a ball around a very large lawn. When they get the little ball into the hole, everyone goes berserk. They’re not saving lives, they’re not doing anything for the economy, they’re not doing anything, but whacking a ball around a lawn.

I’m delighted to finally see the number 12 disappearing, as well. It’s the fan’s way of taking some credit for the athlete’s success. It also ensures that more money will be spent to support the team - a brilliant marketing ploy.

These athletes, whether they play football, basketball, hockey or whatever, are making an astronomical amount of money for excelling in a hobby that has become a profession. They get international fame, if they’re good, but would switch their allegiance in a heartbeat, if they were transferred to another team. Today’s Seattle Seahawk is tomorrow’s Dallas Cowboy.

I can’t believe what people will pay to buy a ticket to watch, at a very long distance, a bunch of guys throwing or bouncing a ball around. Some of these spectators haven’t even paid their bills, yet. Where is that money when it comes time to vote to give our real heroes a raise in pay?

Why aren’t we standing at the fire stations and police stations applauding and going berserk as they head out to face a grueling, dangerous day of work? Or why aren’t we there to cheer them safely home, again, if they make it back alive? Most of what they have to deal with has to do with our foolishness, pride and mistakes.

These men and women risk their lives to save ours. They make our streets a safer place to live. They rescue our family and pets from burning buildings and they get paid diddly-squat for it – compared to an athlete. In a sense, our fireman and policemen are also athletes, as they train and prepare for the face-off with whatever we bring them, that day.

In another area, we have military that also risk their lives for our country’s safety and that of the weaker nations. In volunteering for the USO, I’ve met some of the most wonderful young people in the USA – respectful, smart and capable. They’re heading out to train or serve, and some of them are very young and a bit scared. What’s this I hear about the military pensions and healthcare being cut? You strip this nation of its military and you’ll find out how fast other nations will come in to pick our bones clean. Our military deserves more and it’s our responsibility to make sure that they get it.

No, I have no friends or family members who were or are currently policemen, firemen or in the military. I’m just someone who feels that an injustice is being done and am speaking up about it.

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