The Roman poet Juvenal (circa 100 A.D.) wrote regarding the way latter-day Roman emperors retained power and control over the masses that were seemingly more than happy to obsess themselves with trivialities and self-indulgences while their once-great-and-powerful empire collapsed before their very eyes. He wrote:
“Already long ago, from when we sold our vote to no man, the People have abdicated our duties; for the People who once upon a time handed out military command, high civil office, legions–everything, now restrains itself and anxiously hopes for just two things: bread and circuses.”
I submit that a good many in America are, like Rome of old, carelessly frittering away their God-given liberties, foolishly clamoring for nothing more than government handouts and never-ending entertainment. Millions and millions of Americans (especially males) are literally intoxicated with sports. Sports are no longer a great American pastime; they are now a great American obsession.
Mind you, this writer has been a sports fan all of his life. I began playing organized basketball in the fifth grade; I was on the high school wrestling team; I played football in high school and college; and I ran track. Still today, I enjoy watching a good NFL game (yes, I’m still a Green Bay Packers fan), a good college game when the Gators are playing, a good NCAA men’s basketball game (especially during the tournament–even more so when the Hoosiers are in it), and any NBA championship series between the Celtics and Lakers (I root for Boston). And I even like to watch a round of professional golf once in a while (it helps me go to sleep when I’m trying to take a nap). But none of the above will interfere with anything that is important, and I am not going to plan my whole universe around any of it. If it is convenient, I will watch. If it’s not, I will read about it in the sports section of the newspaper. And I’m certainly not going to spend my hard-earned money following any sports team (even those I like) all over the country like some rock band groupie.
I am not talking about sports in general; I am talking about the way many American men have allowed sports to control and dominate their lives. With many, sports are not just a hobby; they are a religion. I cannot count the number of conversations between men that I overhear in restaurants, airplanes, boardrooms, and, yes, even church houses, in which every man in the circle is literally consumed with all sorts of sports facts, information, and opinions. In many such discussions, these men will talk about nothing else. To these men, there is absolutely nothing in the world more important than the latest sports score, announcement, or trade. NOTHING!
And there is also a very real psychological pitfall associated with a man’s intoxication with sports. I submit that an obsession with sports gives men a false sense of masculinity and actually serves to steal true manhood from them.