I love all sports … but has it become a cash cow?

Like hundreds of thousands of others I have always been a total sports fanatic in so many ways. Over the past 70 plus years I have been so lucky to have been able to play, coach, officiate, write about, and cheer for all sorts of teams and talented athletes in every game of sport played at home or on the road in Canada or around the world.

Of course I will just keep right on cheering with the rest of you, but what really bothers me now is the question of whether professional sports might be slowly out-pricing themselves away from their most valuable assets — their millions of faithful fans from all walks of life and ages. The greatest thrill of being a part of any game of sport, whether as a player or an avid fan is being able to be close and personal with all the action, at the rink, on the diamond, in the stands, or in the field. I was totally shocked last week when I read an article stating that tickets to the NBA Championship games between the Toronto Raptors and the Golden State Warriors at the Scotiabank Arena were starting at $800 U.S. and going way up into the thousands of dollars. I guess it’s only the rich and famous or those who are willing to take out a second mortgage on their home who can afford to go to these games and just about impossible for the average Jack and Jill to take your family out to the big game? Just for the fun of it I looked up the Toronto Raptors 2019 team payroll, which rings it at $136,293,831, but it’s really hard to find out their revenue, and how much do those billionaire team owners make from the sale of souvenirs, concessions, sponsorships, and liquor, as well as the TV rights each season? We will always love and cheer for the great teams, super players, and thrilling action in all sports, but let’s not put it out of the reach and enjoyment of the majority of the best and most loyal fans in the world by getting too greedy at the ticket wicket.

All I can say is we can be so thankful for television and all the rest of the electronic magic where we can relax and pick up the game in the comfort of our living rooms and don’t have to pay for parking or stand in line to purchase an $8 bag of popcorn or a hotdog and a beer for over $20. Of course at 76 years of age you might just call me “old school,” but I can always remember going to a Ponoka Stampeder Hockey game for $3, with free admission for volunteers and kids, the latter who got a dollar allowance from dad to spend at the concession stand. How great it is that all of us can still drop into the local rink with family and friends and watch a free minor hockey and curling game or many other reasonably priced sporting events up at the schools and around the community in the winter. In the summer we can grab our lawn chairs and head out to the ball diamonds, sports fields, and tennis courts to take in really good games of baseball, slow-pitch, fastball, soccer, football, and so on. Always remember with great joy and appreciation that a family that plays and cheers together stays together.

Now let’s have a little fun

Many of us have taken a fling on a cruise ship, where you meet lots of great people and characters and the living is easy, as long as there are no waves. I found an article the other day, written by a crew member and listing some of the “dumbest” questions asked by the passengers, complete with politically correct and polite answers.

Does the crew sleep on board the ship? Yes, we can’t afford to ship them to shore every night. Has the ship ever sunk? No sir, but some fool once said that the Titanic was unsinkable.

Can you please fix the microwave in my room? Sorry madam that is your in-room wall safe.

Why did we pay such a big fare to get an awful view of the parking lot? We are currently still in port, but over the next seven days you will get some of the finest views in the world from your patio.

I have an outside cabin, will I get wet if it rains? Not even I could come up with an answer for that question.

Why are the Ruins of Rome in such poor condition? They are several thousand years old and the warranty has run out on the building materials.

Hope that you all enjoyed your on-board meal, and no the crew does not eat the leftovers.

When we are at sea do you use salt water in the toilets? No we don’t, but if the trip gets rough sometimes a little gets in along with a few fish and it can be rather itchy. How far do the stairs go down before we are under water? Five decks, and then you might have to hold your breath for a while. Does the ship make its own power? No, we have a long extension cord.

Hammer’s note: the person that answered those questions was put on latrine duty for the rest of the cruise. Get on your best “going stomping” gear and ready to have a blast at the 83rd Ponoka Stampede from June 25 to July 1 and have a great week, all of you.

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