I've been doing a lot of thinking lately about sports. Sometimes it helps to look at a thing from afar, to really see it as it is.
Let's start with the assumption that professional athletes are more trouble than they are worth. They make tons of money, which most of them waste on frivolous, if not unlawful, pursuits.
But what do you expect? Any parent knows that you don't hand a kid just out of high school or college a couple milliion dollars (even if you had it!) to spend the way he likes. These athletes don't even have college loans to pay back, so off they go, spending willy-nilly on things that are going to get them in trouble.
You always read about really rich people who set up trust funds for their offspring. But the smart ones put conditions on the money, such as not being available until the kid turns 35 or so. Just think if the NFL operated like that. The players would get an allowance to get them through their twenties, and about the time their bodies were starting to wear out in their thirties, they'd get a ton of money. By then they'd be too old and arthritic to get into a lot of trouble, and they'd have the money to build home theaters where they could watch old game tapes the rest of their lives.
Pro athletes wouldn't have the money for steroids or fast cars and faster women, so they'd be more apt to be good role models for our kids. They wouldn't have much of a social life, so they wouldn't mind signing autographs for hour upon hour at the mall. They might even smile while they're doing it, in case some kid's mother would spring for an ice cream cone.
Of course it wouldn't be much fun being a sportswriter, but I call on the fine people of that profession to make the sacrifice for the good of society.
We could even take this idea a step further. With the marvels of digital imaging, why even have pro athletes at all? We could still have sports on television, but instead of spending the money on a handful of physical freaks of nature, the big bucks would go to people who've spent their youths studying hard and become masters of computer art and script writing.
Think of it. Why leave it to chance to create dramatic moments in the game? Just script it in! Why should the rich New York Yankees get all the good ball players when a talented writer can put an A-Rod or a Barry Bonds on any team? And when the public gets tired of a player or his jersey sales take a dive, just write him out! They do it on soap operas all the time, and they are quite popular and enduring.
So, I'm forwarding this idea to Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig and the new NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. I'll let you know what they say.
And as long as we're talking sports, I have an idea to make golf a lot more fun and easy. All the tweaking of the sport has so far gone into making bigger club faces. They did the same thing with tennis rackets, and that worked so well no one plays tennis anymore.
It's obvious to me that what should be bigger is the ball! Duh!