Families used to stand in line for hours in preparation for a face-off between high school rivals. The courts and fields used to be absolutely packed, and the intensity of fans could not have been more evident. In the last decades, high school athletic games were more than just something to skip on Friday nights. Attending was a way of life, and each game was an event that would be talked about for the next week.
Now, students have play-by-play access to local scores and footage. They do not have to go anywhere besides Twitter to check game highlights, and they can “cheer on their team” by retweeting congratulations. On a national level, television and smart phones have brought this generation an unparalleled view of the professional sports world. 24/7 replays and commentary accompany the endless number of games. There are dozens of channels dedicated to athletics alone, and athletes have never been in a more demanding and blinding spotlight. Instead of football playing just one day a week, there is Thursday night, Monday night and Sunday NFL games, and if that is not enough, Saturday offers college competition. Students are now more interested in televised sporting events than the local ones. They are more likely to sport an Indianapolis Colts jersey than a DC Panthers one, and discussions are more likely about who won the college basketball game than who stood out on the court at DC. However, I am not bashing this influx of technology. I absolutely love to watch NFL games and ESPN, First Take and Sportscenter, to keep up with my fantasy football team and the latest scores. Fans who keep up only on their phones or Televisions miss out on the passion of competition that is felt while present at games.
There is just something about being in the moment of a live face-off. About sweat, and passion, and tenacity. About camaraderie and teamwork. However, we do not appreciate these qualities anymore. Perhaps with all of the technological advances, we have lost something more significant. True school spirit and appreciation for athletic accomplishments has diminished. Students no longer sit side-by-side to support one victory. We no longer yell and become part of the game. Real life is taken for granted, and tangibles have been replaced by virtual participation.
Why? Because high school sporting events are boring. We cannot fast forward to the final quarter or hear incessant commentary. The players are not celebrities or billion dollar markets, and the game will not be discussed in detail the following day.
Maybe we have come to a place at which we cannot return to the paragon of spirit of the past. But we must preserve the tradition of sports. We should appreciate athletes that play for more than money and fans who still love the game.