Back in the day, it felt like those who played pro sports played, because they wanted to play. They really wanted to compete, score and win. Nowadays, it seems like a lot people go into sports for the money more than for the passion. Maybe I am just a bit more jaded, but it does not seem like some of them are trying enough. Teams get to travel into foreign countries (mini vacation), they get to play and, on top of that, they get paid. Sure, they would be paid more if they won, but they still get paid decent money, even if they lose.
We just came out of soccer World Cup not too long ago. Participating in the tournament (getting through) rewards each team with $8 million. Making it out of the group (2 teams out of 4), adds another $4 million. What is that in the grand scheme of things? It does not seem like nearly enough of an incentive to want to put in 100% more effort. I was even more surprised that the team in fourth place gets $22 million, while the team in third place gets $24 million. Second place gets $28. [Source: Goal.com] Sure, any additional million is nice, but for them, it’s like 10 bucks here, or there for us.
Before you say anything, I know that athletes train and work hard (most of them). However, I do believe some of them have become primadonnas, just because they can. If you ever watched a soccer match in the recent years, you are aware of players falling to the ground in hopes of getting a free kick, or a penalty kick. Why is that? It is because soccer player’s legs are their greatest asset, and so referees do not want to be responsible for putting them in jeopardy. You can see the players rolling around on the grass, acting like they are dying when they have been barely brushed by someone else.
Today’s story comes from the world of female basketball. The WNBA team from Las Vegas decided to not show up for a game. They decided to not play. That has never happened in the 22 years the league has been up and running. What does that tell you? That this team really encountered something terrible, or that they are spoiled brats? Let me explain.
The team cancelled the game an hour and a half before it was scheduled to start, because they were travelling for over 24 hours. A trip from Vegas to DC that lasted over 24h? They should have just rented a bus… Their plane kept getting delayed, and then it got cancelled. They then had to split up into groups and take different flights to get to their destination. They spent all that time at the airport/ on the plane/ in tight spaces. Or so they report. They have not slept in a bed. They felt too tired to put their body in “jeopardy”, so they called off the game.
I am sorry, but that is hard for me to believe, that such stars had such terrible travelling conditions. Could they not get a lounge at the airport? Could they not sleep at the terminal? They complained of improper nutrition. There are so many different bars and restaurants at the airport, it is not like they could not afford it.
The opposing team had no idea until the very end. They trained to the very end. Did they not put THEIR health at risk by exerting themselves, while the other ones sat around at the airport/ at the hotel waiting for others? And how fair is it to the fans, who bought tickets (and showed up) to a game that never occurred?
We all have issues that make us want to call in sick – bad weather, bad traffic, a sick child, etc., but we are not always able to accommodate our excuse. Even if it is a valid one. So what makes athletes so special that they CAN avoid their work? Have you ever studied all night and then had to go take a test? That was putting your health at risk. Have you partied all night and then went into work? I am sure you were tired, and therefore putting your health at risk, but you did it.
Some games can be brutal. But that is part of the deal. Just be more careful, if you’re tired and/ or fatigued. Could that make you lose the game? It might. But at least you would have given it a go. The seasons are known to be busy for the players. With back to back games all over the country. Again, that is part of the deal.
It has not been decided yet if the opposing team will get a win out of all this. However, there does not seem to be a way for the teams to meet again in the next week, or so (remaining time of the season). If it is ruled that they forfeited the game, they must have less of a chance to take part in the playoffs. They must have thought about THAT. Why does it not matter to them?
There are whispers that the team called off the game to bring the issue of chartered flights into the forefront. At this point in time, there is no such thing for the WNBA, but many have spoken out about it over the years. They feel important enough to not want to travel with the regular people.
What does it take for you to call in sick?
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