It’s Super Bowl week and I’ve hardly remembered that it is. No, I’ve made plans to watch what may be a football game. Although, no one may not really notice the actual game with everyone talking about the WAGS (an acronym meaning wives and girlfriends of pro athletes) of all of the players in this year’s game. Thus the reason why I care less about pro football with each passing season. I’ve never been one of those guys who worshipped other people. Whether it be men or women. I never grew up wanting to be a pro athlete. I’m a man of the sea and looked forward to being in the Coast Guard as a tike. I think it emasculating to wear a sports jersey with another man’s name one it. YOU SHOULD TOO IF YOU ARE OVER 8 YEARS OLD! I certainly didn’t care about athletes from my favorite sports team’s personal lives. I STILL DON’T! IF YOU HAVE A BRAIN OR SELF ESTEEM……….YOU SHOULDN’T EITHER! Evidently a large portion of America doesn’t have either.
There was a time I loved pro football. I’d watch all 3 days of the draft each spring. I’d catch news reports of roster changes and free agency out of season then take it in on Sundays each fall. That was mostly in my 20’s and 30’s. I still watch it. I follow my San Francisco 49rs and my other scrappy team the Buffalo Bills. Yet, I strictly see it as entertainment. I don’t feel I’ve lost the game vicariously through people I’ll never meet, if the opposing team has more points after it’s all done. I certainly don’t follow off season news anymore. I simply turn on the t.v. in the fall and turn it off once the final whistle blows. I even do that less and less with each passing year. I only root for teams from cities I have a connection to. I worked in San Francisco doing mission work just last January and love to adopt cities like that with love. Sports viewership is an easy way to do that. That’s what will be on my mind come Sunday, not Christian McCaffrey’s fiance. Just a representation of a city that’s a part of me. Sure those men are better football players than I’ll ever be. I don’t think all of them are better athletes in every physical endeavor out there compared to me. I guess it helps to realize my brother and I held Alabama state records in competitive swimming for 20 years as to why I’m not as mesmorized by male athletes like other adults are. Do I think they deserve accolades, sure. Do I feel they are more valuable to society than me? Absolutely not! I save my wonderment actually for female athletes these days who are bucking the status quo.
This whole essay was partly my fault. Like many men right out of college and single it was easy to watch a show and see a sexy actress and then want to know more about her. Due to being lonely and trying to find yourself in the adult landscape of socialization. So, you followed on social media. In your mind you started thinking what do I have to be or do to have a women like that. Then cognitive dissonance came in when you read an article about her engagement to a pro football player. You realized sports were that thing you could escape to when that date the night before did go bad. To escape that thought that you didn’t measure up in some way and you were a failure, when it came to the opposite sex. You were confronted with the fact pop culture was stealing YOUR SANCTUM OF ESCAPE from all of that by reinforcing it right in front of your eyes. Telling you that you don’t measure up because you are not a pro athlete with a beautiful singer, actress or model on your arm. Taking away that very thing you could run to, when other parts of society tried perpetuate this lie. This is why about a decade ago I quit being the sports fan I used to be.
It was then that my life changed dramatically for the better as I started realizing valuable people are those who: Are honest to their wives, are firefighters and policemen who serve and protect. Are military men and women who serve on the front lines. Are public servants in office who really want to change society for the better. Are teachers who give a damn. Are once derelicts who were homeless and now may be a pastor. Are single parents or are single people fighting loneliness with the capacity to still love. Are thousands of Americans who come home after an honest day’s work to love their families. Too bad pop culture doesn’t canonize these types. This is why ‘pop culture’ is garbage.
Last night I attempted a social experiment I was afraid would come true. That being, if I just typed in ‘San Francisco 49rs’ on Google to review a roster report I’d probably instead get news about WAGS. Sure, enough 2 out of 4 articles at the top of the scroll were just on that, with People Magazine having a prominent article about the subject. NFL owners knowingly encourage the dynamic as it markets to a niche of society who are not fans yet. Of course that drives revenue for their bottom lines. Conspiracy theorist believe the Taylor Swift and Travis Kelcey romance was staged by the NFL or by the far left. It was organic, unfortunately through fellow University of Florida Alumnae and sports announcer Erin Andrews, who set them up. Yet, what does the future hold in this regard? It could prove conspiracy loons correct in the event the NFL does try to foster relationships between players and female celebrities to drive more interest. Hollywood has done it for years. One reason the divorce rate is high in that community.
Three years ago I put down money as a group funding source for Angel City FC by purchasing season tickets and donting them to a homeless shelter I served in during the summer of 2021 in Los Angeles’ Echo Park. Their new pro soccer team in the National Women’s Soccer League. With Los Angeles being another city I’ve served in with mission work, I pull for their sports teams when I can. It was so satisfying to know that I was promoting women’s sports. It was as comforting to know that I could follow news about the NWSL and never have to worry about reading an article about some player’s boyfriend or husband! This is why I’ve loved attending all of the universities I’ve been lucky to attend as a full alumni or adult learner. I’ll encouter no ‘WAG’ news when I try to find out about the University of Alabama’s women’s gynastics team(actually the best athletes on UA’s campus). I won’t have People Magazine trying to tell my I’m a ‘nobody’ when I check in on the Univeristy of Florida’s women’s soccer team. Then there is my beloved Duke Men’s basketball squad, just pristine love for a university that helped me in my adult educational journey these past three years.
In the end America’s obsession with the ‘WAGs’ reality is more than a annoyance. It is something that can further escalate the assualt on American manhood uintentionally. Telling little girls that men are not men or are not worth selecting unless they are star athletes! Informing men that if God did not gift you with these sets of skills in life, the best you can do is play the role of ’emasculated waterboy’ in the stands, all the while taking your money to perpetuate the issue even more, through consumerist sports ‘fandumb.’ Informing little girls they are not as valuable unless they are beautiful or well know for a trait that doesn’t last. Telling couples everywhere that their relationship, their love for one another is NOT as important because they don’t have certain superfluous status in society.
God’s Word states it emphatically about our current state of affairs and what we hold in esteem as a culture.
“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to those who are being saved, it is the power of God.”
I Corinthians 1:18
“For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.”
I Corinthians 1:25
We’ve become a culture now debasing itself in the idolatry of ‘the fleeting’ and the banal. Christ is the only answer to such futility. Let’s work as parents, uncles, aunt’s teachers and pastors to make sure our value trees are correct. If not we run the risk of even more societal disfunction. Not like a pro football game or a ridiculous news article, you can’t just turn that off or make it go away as easily.