By Katrina Gabrelian
Sports have become the center of attention for people all across the globe. Sports are a great way to have healthy competition and camaraderie with both players and fans. However, people often go to extreme lengths to prioritize sports and athletes more than they should in society.
Today, sports players are paid millions of dollars just to throw a ball around for an hour or so in front of the audience. While throwing that ball or scoring that goal requires physical skills, the true heroes of our society make significantly less money. According to the Consumer Business Channel, Russell Wilson, the current quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks makes 35 million dollars per year. However, the average salary of a surgeon is 221,000 dollars and even lower are teachers who make an average of 49,000 dollars.
People get really involved when it comes to professional sports teams, as seen by the amount of money we are willing to pay them. Oftentimes, fans invest so much time and effort that they feel they become a part of the team. You often hear people say, “We won the game” or “We could have done better.” However people fail to realize that the only thing they accomplished during the game was finishing an entire bag of family size chips by themselves. Where is this same investment in our firefighters or our police officers?
As a society we are paying athletes more than those we trust to keep us alive or those who we trust to shape the youth of America. The gap in pay shows the way we prioritize sports over other professions who spend years studying and putting themselves in debt in order to better our society.
While professional athletes put in years of practice and often suffer physical injuries as well, should we paying them 67 times more than surgeons? Playing sports takes a special skill that many have spent years perfecting. However, other professions such as teaching and any position in the medical field require members to start from the ground up. Many spend years going to school before being able to actually practice their profession. There are plenty of athletes, however, that have moved on to professional leagues with little to no college, rather succeeding because of talent and dedication.
In addition to paying players such a high salary, different stadiums and teams charge fans an absurd ticket fee in order to watch sports games. According to Seatgeek, the average price for a ticket to a National Football League (NFL) game costs around 151 dollars. However, this may change according to the proximity of the seat and the profile of the team. For example, this price changes dramatically for the New England Patriots. The average price of a ticket to the Patriots game is 777 dollars, according to a chart provided by TicketIQ.
As a society, we focus a lot of money on national sports teams. However, this can also be seen on a smaller scale. In schools all around the country sports have been prioritized over arts programs from as early as elementary school. As soon as funding gets slim, arts programs are always the ones in jeopardy, not sports programs.
According to a study by the Knight Commission, annual spending on sports by public, non-profit universities has surpassed 100,000 dollars per athlete, which is around 8 to 12 times more that is spent on academics for full-time students.
The focus of schools has shifted from academics to sports. Many universities and high schools highlight their sports programs because it boosts their publicity, therefore boosting their money. If a school has a good sports team in a specific division, they are considered to be higher than other schools that do not have popular sports teams.
We should pay more to those who provide a greater service to our society. Firefighters and police officers and other similar jobs of service risk their lives every day in order to keep the people safe, yet they do not receive as much praise or money.
We must refocus as a society and put less importance on entertainment and more importance on public service and academics. Otherwise, what kind of world would we be living in if scoring a goal means someone is more valuable than somebody else who can perform a successful 20 hour, life saving surgery?