I often hear complaints that athletes are extravagantly overpaid, citing some lavish lifestyles and multimillion-dollar contracts. I, however, contend that they contribute more to our enjoyment and economy than any other cohort of society – and are grossly underpaid; most are not paid at all.
Think what the Seahawks alone have contributed – to entertainment, sales and jobs – in new gear, tickets, travel, restaurants, hotels, clothing, tailgating, home parties, reportage, advertising, commercials, security and more – plus the extensive and expensive planning, preparation and execution involved.
The “sports industry” (from neighborhood playgrounds to huge urban stadia, from sandlot “pick-up” games through organized high school, college and professional leagues, from Little League to the Olympics and Super Bowls – every day of the year) may involve more persons, provide more jobs, and develop more societal good will and community enrichment than any other industry.
“Sports” depend upon special talents, organization, perseverance, coaching and civility (like other industries and institutions) – and succeed by individual performance, competition and sportsmanship.
So I say, “Salute and thank our military for our precious freedoms and security; but also thank our athletes for their wholesome entertainment, unifying community spirit and many jobs in our prosperous economy.”