Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Am I Sports Averse??

Perhaps I have not been completely honest when I describe myself as sports averse. I do get angry that the sports and the kids involved in sports at my daughter's high school get all of the recognition and praise. The orchestra, band, choir, and theater programs continue to win award after award at the state level with barely a mention. I'm not talking about just our local newspapers but these kids are completely ignored by their own school. The kids are talented and devote themselves to their passions no less than the kids who play football. Yet, a fraction of the money goes to peforming arts compared to sports. It is shameful.

Also, I get mad that the Husky football coach at the University of Washington has an annual salary of over a million dollars. And yet my husband, whose work in cancer research and his oversight of all research monies at UW does more for the benefit of humanity. But, he gets a small fraction of that amount in salary. Sure, football brings in money to the University but the UW is number one in the nation for research dollars received by a public school. This bugs me--a lot. People are avoiding cancer and surviving cancer more than ever before because of the work done day in and day out by devoted scientists and doctors like my hubby.

I admit, I have a chip on my shoulder when I see people I love being slighted. It is not that we should not honor sports, but we should value the equally important gifts and positive contributions made by scientists and artists. My shoulder chip started in college when I took a Current Events/Government class which because of the time of the class included several members of the football team. Because of my grades, I had a puny academic scholarship. But these guys all had full rides. Rarely did these guys even come to class and when they did, they did not participate nor did they even know what we were talking about. The Vietnam War and Nixon were tops on the agenda. Zoom--right over their heads! I worked hard in that class and got an A; I suspect the "guys", without opening a book, got B's. It seemed so wrong to me.

Ok, now that I have all of that out of the way, I do enjoy watching sports where people have perfected their talents and are reaching for their goals. So maybe I am not so sports averse after all. I like learning about the personalities involved. When my husband and I were in high school, neither one of us were the least bit athletic but we each enjoyed limited sports participation. I was on the track team and he was a competetive trap shooter. Also, we enjoyed watching our teams beat everybody in the state of Montana mainly because of one person--Pat Donovan. He was the most popular boy in school and the talented star athlete of every single sport. He took our basketball team to state two years in a row and we won the year I was a senior. Evidently, his discus record still stands.

Pat went on to Stanford with a full ride football scholarship. I did not mind because he was super smart and deserved such a thing academicly as well as athleticly. He did not waste his education and I knew he wouldn't. After college, Pat played successfully for the Dallas Cowboys for many years. Needless to say, the Cowboys were our favorite team until we moved to Seattle. Evidently, Pat is now a highly successful business man and resort developer in Montana.

As an interesting sidenote, one of those full ride guys at Montana State University was Sam McCullum. He was NOT in that Gov class that made me so mad; I did not ever know him. My husband and I knew who he was because my junior year in high school (1970) when our basketball team led by Pat Donovan played Kalispell for the hotly contested State Championship, they beat us partly because they had Sam McCullum. We noticed as students at MSU that Sam, a member of our nemesis basketball team, played MSU football. Imagine our surprise and delight to learn he was playing for the original Seahawks when we arrived here. He remained in Seattle and also became successful at business after his football years. According to this recent article in the Missoula, Montana newspaper, his kids went to Stanford and not his alma mater, MSU.


Now that I have laid this foundation to say I am really not sports averse, the next big event is the Torino Winter Olympics. Like I said, I am interested in the personalities with whom I identify and admire. Stay tuned.