As we continue to push forward and fight the virus that is impacting the majority of the world, we are left to ourselves to keep safe and keep sane through these quarantines and lockdowns that have been implemented nationwide. In the past, when we had to deal with wars, other viruses, and issues that impacted society. Yet as Mike Bianchi over at the Orlando Sentinel wrote, we used to have sports to help us recover and keep us distracted from everyday life. However, with COVID-19, all professional sport and college organizations have shut down their seasons and activities, and now there is no diversion from this virus.
At the end of his written piece, Mike says when the time comes, sports will give us the signal it is okay, and we can return to normalcy. Here's the problem with his beliefs and many others like him. It is all just a distraction and a temporary one at that. When I was younger, I played sports, loved the competition from soccer, basketball, volleyball, swimming, and football. I couldn't wait till practice or game day, and I couldn't wait to sit on the couch and watch my favorite teams play, and still today, I love watching my favorite teams. Yet as it was for me and many others, with my practice or game done. My favorite teams on tv won or lost. Real-life sat there waiting. Did I finish my homework? Did I get my clothes ready for tomorrow? I have that meeting tomorrow with my boss, what do I need to do and say to get that raise? Again, real-life never left even while watching sports, and it will never not be there. So with people like Mike saying that sports are so important to our society, to provide us a relief valve, a distraction from everyday life, they are not really thinking outside their love of sports, or should I say the addiction of sports and athletes.
We have gotten to the point where we have allowed sports teams and their athletes to become idols but more like godly idols. We have allowed them to impact our lives and decisions to the point where if one kneels for the anthem and friends support him, we'll drop them like they were never friends and vice versa. We have gotten to the point where one superstar or multiple can make a political statement, and we think they are experts in fields outside of sports. We have fallen so deep in our addiction to sports and athletes that we ordinary people have made millionaires and billionaires out of them, with our hard-earned incomes just to watch them play. Yet a very small number of them actually do something good with their millions. We still blindly and loyally purchase tickets, jerseys and other sports memorabilia, select tv channels, and pay per view.
With this type of loyalty, and addiction really, do you honestly feel better when it's over? Do you feel like you have accomplished something in your life, or any of your issues have been resolved? I'm willing to bet that unless you're a gambler and made a big payday betting on a game, your problems, your bills, your worries were right there waiting for you. I'm willing to say that the feeling of purpose if you're lacking it was right there also waiting. Again, sports is just a temporary distraction, and it's a perfect one. I get it, it's a short period, where you don' have to think about anything serious and get to enjoy yourself! The Romans felt the same, watching the gladiator games while their empire and way of life were crumbling all around them, but hey, at least they were entertained and distracted! There came a day when the viewers left the coliseum and, on their way from home, realized invaders were knocking on their city doors. The sad part, they didn't even know about it!
I ask you to be honest with yourselves and look inward and see if all your troubles were or have been relieved through sports? If not, now I want to ask you if there have been any points in time, in your life where you have felt great about yourself, that you felt a purpose? If the answer is yes, now I want to ask if, with any of those times, were they because you helped someone else or others? It could be as simple as signing a petition to help free someone, or implement a policy to benefit a group of people that need help, or even just giving what was in your wallet to a person of unfortunate circumstances including giving them your lunch? I'm willing to bet that a lot of you felt like me when I did such things, you felt a sense of purpose, and you felt like you may have made a difference a positive difference. Now I ask you to compare those feelings when your team wins a game, and you have to go back to reality, how do you feel, and especially going back to reality after your team or teams lose a game? It doesn't feel the same does it? You have a feeling of completion or actual pride in doing something good for others compared to the temporary feeling of pleasure you get from sports.
In the end, I'm not saying sports are not a great distraction from everyday life and are not needed for entertainment purposes, or we should start ignoring them. I'm saying compare the short period of relief they provide you to positive and heartwarming actions you have taken and do more of those actions! With everything going on right now, with the coronavirus, quarantines, and lockdowns, think of activities you can do that still maintains social distancing but assists others! We have so many avenues to do this. You can start with the circle of friends and family you have and see if there are any that need help, as in groceries, medication from the pharmacy, other necessities, and bills like rent or car payment. If they do and are being affected by the crisis, you and others can easily pitch in to help them make it through the tough times. It's even more accessible in today's society with apps like Venmo, PayPal, and Google Wallet.
If there are no family and friends in your circle that need help, count your blessings but now look outside your circle. Look for others that need help, create social media pages for ones that truly need assistance to help them. You may even look at GoFundMe to see if there are people in need. Just a quick warning about doing this outside your circle, "Trust, but verify!" There are unfortunately people out there that if they get a hint of this going on, they will try to take an advantage, but don't let them stop you from helping those honestly in need.
Just like For Our United Republic wanting to unite people to pay off student loans, work to accomplish the other critical missions and to use the app in development once released to pay off even more student debt, FOUR is all about the people reaching out and helping one another no matter what the cause is. We have a difficult time ahead of us, and hopefully, it won't last too much longer, but let us not make it more difficult by just sheltering ourselves and not caring about our neighbors! We are all in this together!