*Televised sports are something that most of American society pays attention to because it provides an escape from reality, also because most people can remember themselves playing sports and envision themselves on the screen. But secretly sports is something that is a reflection of society.
One of the things that irks many in the sports community is the way in which a champion is crowned. While spectators revel in the upsets of the college basketball tournament each spring, they also lament that their favorite team, that had a great season, was felled by a team that got hot at the right time. Part of the argument against a Division 1A college football playoff was that it would decrease the significance of the regular season.
Professional sports are not much better. In the NFL there are at least two seasons in the last decade, which I as a New York Giants fan can delight in, where the best team that had the better overall season did not win the championship. The same holds true in baseball where a good pitcher can almost single-handedly win a series and in hockey where hot goalies frequently translate into a lower seed beating a higher seed in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
But what do all of these playoff systems have in common: they all generate large amounts of money – even for those teams that don’t play in them.
Similarly the election season has proven to be an elongated job interview for the handful of candidates that remain. And even so we are still months away from actually choosing our next president. The election season gives politicians, their staffs, and consultants the chance to impress us with how well they can deliver pre-planned talking points. This wouldn’t be such a problem except that most of these talking points are about what their opponents have failed to do, what the current president has failed to do, and what they would do instead.
What is missing from their speeches, and what I believe to be most important, is what these candidates have actually done when given any authority. It stands to reason that whatever Cruz, Kasich, Clinton or Sanders was fighting for as Senator or governor would be the same things they would think are important as president; in other words whoever has the strongest record of helping the greatest number of people should get elected. Unfortunately this is not how elections are determined. Even outside of Trump, who has no record to stand on, many of the questions ignore the record of the candidate.
What does all of the election coverage by various media outlets have in common: it generates large amounts of money.
From a certain perspective, I’m not sure I’m even upset at these developments. I like the sports playoffs (I especially like when the Giants win) and the champion of a given season in any sport is not important enough for me to push for their abolition (in fact I would maintain them for various reasons). Likewise if the mudslinging gets more people involved and invested in presidential electoral politics then I’d count that as an overall positive.
But I do hope that as time grows shorter that the real issues come to the forefront.
Trevor Brookins is a free lance writer in Rockland County, New York. He is currently working on a book about American culture during the Cold War. His writing has appeared in The Journal News. You can reach him at [email protected]