By Bryan Hess –
Athletes are becoming more and more like Gods, especially as we continue to worship everything they do We go to their games and cheer them on, buy their jerseys and sometimes stand in line for a number of hours just for a quick “hi” and an autograph. But aside from their superior athletic ability, how are they any different from the rest of us?
I was recently at the Philadelphia Phillies game and saw Cliff Lee’s first game back as a Phillie after his incredible performance with the team in the second half of the 2009 season. As game time was nearing, fans started to become more excited, and when it came time for the lineup to be announced, everyone was on the edge of their seats.
It was kids’ day at the ballpark, and an extremely nervous young girl began to read off the Phillies lineup. She got to the Number 8 hitter, Wilson Valdez, and before she finished his name the crowd was on their feet screaming. I looked over and there was Cliff Lee walking in from the center-field bullpen. I felt horrible for the young girl who was trying to finish reading the lineup and was completely drowned out by the cheers of the fans. The standing ovation that Lee got didn’t stop until the National Anthem had started, but as soon as the singer finished with “.. and the home of the brave,” the crowd started right back up again and didn’t calm down until Lee’s first pitch crossed the plate for a strike.
After experiencing this incredible support for one athlete, I thought to myself, does he deserve it? Granted, when Lee came to the Phillies he started off 7-0 and went 5-0 for them in the playoffs. And I’ll admit, I have several jerseys and cheered along with every other fan who was there. But Lee is just the average guy, no different than you and I. When I got to the stadium and it seemed every other person had Lee’s jersey on, I had to wonder why he gets worshiped as though he is Superman.
People love sports, and love to watch them. Fans go and support their favorite team and even buy their favorite player’s jersey. But what are they doing to better the world? Everyday those in the service, police officers and firefighters risk their lives to make the U.S. a better place to live. What do they get? The occasional article in the paper if they do something extremely spectacular. It isn’t as though these men are disrespected, but the amount of respect they get compared to those of athletes is embarrassing.
The game continued, and the fans at the stadium continued to do their best to make me go deaf. When it ended, the players left the field for their cozy clubhouse to change and go home to their families, or back to their hotel. These players give us a break from our everyday stressful routine, but our lives would be even more stressful without those serving this country either in the armed forces, police force or firefighters. I’m sure there were many of them at the game but not one of them got the standing ovation they deserve.