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Are these the times meant to try the souls of all of us sports fans?

By: Keith Kappes
Carter County Times

First, I begin this diatribe with an apology to that great American patriot Thomas Paine for paraphrasing a line he used in his political pamphlet, Common Sense, that helped fan the flames of revolution in 1776 that set America free from Great Britain.

Fortunately for us, those summer soldiers and sunshine patriots he wrote about did not shrink from their duty. In fact, those ragtag militiamen defeated the best army in the world.

I borrowed Mr. Paine’s stirring words to express my very personal disenchantment with what is happening in college and professional sports today.

I watched my Cincinnati Bengals get their butts kicked last weekend in the first pre-season game of the National Football League. Toward the end, I realized that I had recognized hardly any names of the Bengals.

I knew the world’s best quarterback, Joe Burrow, would not play because of a leg injury. But I never suspected that just one of the team’s 22 starters would even play.

Did the thousands of fans at the “game” know they paid good money to watch a glorified scrimmage with a bunch of unknowns? Most of them fit my personal definition of NFL – not for long.

Elsewhere, I did not understand or appreciate the disloyalty and pettiness of the prominent Americans involved in women’s soccer who cheered when our women’s team was eliminated from the World Cup.

Also, the incredible amounts of money going to college athletes through the “NIL” system is threatening to destroy the last vestiges of amateurism in intercollegiate athletics. At the rate athletes are being paid, why not just make colleges into farm teams like in professional baseball?

Worst of all, the madness we see in realigning college athletic conferences is the worst example of greed yet devised by humankind. TV networks are calling the plays with their fat pocketbooks and the colleges have become their pawns. Traditional rivalries no longer mean anything as the rich get richer and the others cry in the beer they sell at their stadiums.

Finally, I, too, wanted to cry last week when my Cincinnati Reds did not find better pitching before the trade deadline. We have some of the most exciting young players in the big leagues but not enough of them can pitch.

Contact Keith at keithkappes@gmail.com.

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