Torch, Summer 1980

IS THE DRAMATIC RISE IN THE POPUIARI1Y OF ATHLETICS BAD FOR THIS COUNTRY? This topic has been discussed and is being debated across the land.There is no denying the facts: the popularity of professional as well as amateur athletics is on the rise. While in Chattanooga recently, I was impressed with a cable 1V sports network that had around-the-clock coverage of sporting events. Almost every day of the year, one can read about some major sports competition, listen to a game played miles away, or watch his favorite athlete on television. Recently, the U.S. Hockey Team cap– tured not only a gold medal at the Lake Placid Winter Olympics, but also the hearts of all patriotic Amertcans. What has been true in spectator sports has been duplicated in the realm of participation sports also. The interest in activities such as golf, tennis, racquet- spectator, a participant, father of a par– ball, and jogging has made a multimil- ticipant, and a coach. I have seen, par– lion dollar industry flourish. Participants ticipated in, and coached all levels of seek not only top flight equipment but athletics both nationally and inter– coordinated, stylish clothing to enhance nationally. In fact, my entire life has been the sporting image. It seems that nearly immersed in the learning and teaching everyone is either an enthusiastic spec- of athletics. I can testify that there are tator or a participant. numerous benefits in sports for the spirit, Why this phenomenon of "athletic the mind, and the body. However, mania" is taking place is open to ques- through the years I have seen a tion. Perhaps it is the expansion of free dangerous attitude arise which promises time for the average person due to a to poison all the good found in athletics. shorter work week. Maybe it is the With the increasing popularity of both mechanized age in which we live that spectator and participation sports has causes us to need this outlet. On the come the "win-at-all-cost" attitude. This other hand, it could be that people lack a is manifested by the overt violence which challenge in their everyday lives. No seems to be such a vital part of the team matter how you look at it, athletic activity sports today. Have we gone full cycle, is enjoying a popularity unprecedented moving back toward the days of the in our nation's history. .Roman Coliseum all over again? Do we Athletics have been a part of my life as as spectators demand this type of perfor– long as I can remember. I have been a mance from our heroes? What has hap-