By Justin Brisson > Freshman > Journalism > University of Missouri
The majority of male Americans are addicted to sports. I don’t have to have an intervention to know that I have a problem. I don’t just want to watch, discuss and analyze sports — it’s a necessity. For Americans, I believe this reverence for sport is due to one major factor that sets it apart from almost every other institution in the world: sports take place on a level playing field of competition.
Or at least they are supposed to occur on a level playing field. In war, enemies don’t give a damn about their opponent — and the battles being fought can mean life or death for thousands of lives. In politics, opposing parties try their best to slander their opponents. In social life, the myth of a level playing field is laughable at best. If every tax-paying citizen had the same opportunities, then there wouldn’t be an increasing financial gap between the upper and lower classes of society.
Success fluctuates, but dedication is constant.
But in sports, the same set of rules for all players, coaches and teams, means the same opportunity for everyone. Americans are particular suckers for this idea of common equality because of the many struggles the nation has faced in its short existence. The sporting world was originally the materialization of the virtue of equality. Every man could attend a sporting event, and anybody could succeed, no matter what background you came from. This kind of "build your own legacy" mentality is as American as apple pie, hate crimes and Tumblr.
Unfortunately, like the idea of complete social equality, the idea of a level playing field for all athletes is more of an idealistic notion than an actual reality. Yes, the rules of each sport are applied to every team in every game, but not even the rules are applied consistently. Referees are just as human as the athletes and the spectators. Judgment calls are made in every game in every sport, and not every official interprets rules the same.
If every team had the same owner, the same fan market, had the same players, played the same schedule and was based in the same location, then everything would be equal. Every owner has a different business model that he applies to the functioning of his organization. Every city has its own unique fan base. Each team has different players with their own attitudes, abilities and ideas. And in most sports, each team plays a different schedule than every other team.
Sports fans face an increasingly tough reality — that not all is created equal.