Posted on September 17, 2011 in Articles
People who like college sports more than pro sports don’t actually like sports. Instead, they like the other things that college athletes do well: represent a community, foster a sense of historical continuity, and create the occasional Rudy-esque story where a regular person gets the glory. All of that is well and good, but none of it has anything to do with sports.
I get it, it’s easier to identify with college athletes, we lived where they lived, we wore the colors they wore, why that could even be us out there instead of young Mr. Ruttiger. None of that is true for professional athletes. They live in multimillion dollar homes, they never have to eat at Arby’s, and we sure as shit can’t imagine playing out there with them. Rudy never made it to the NFL because a linebacker would have ripped his dick off and eaten it after breaking both his legs Theismann style. And you know why that story would unfold that way? Because pro-athletes are better than 95% of college athletes by an almost superhuman degree.
If you care about sports, if you want to see it played at the highest level, you’ll prefer watching professional athletes. Watching Michael Jordan is where you just might see the platonic ideal of basketball; the same can’t be said of some 5’7, slightly chubby point guard from a forgettable school who gets by on moxie and who plays the game the right way (“playing the game the right way” being code for either 1) I don’t know what the fuck I’m talking about or 2) I really prefer white people).
Now your average college sports fan might concede these points (except the racist thing) but will then proceed to list several reasons why college sports is still superior. College athletes play for the love of the game instead of money, they always play hard, and the competition means more. As someone who values rationality you’ll want to counter these arguments. And rest assured these points will be addressed, but if you want to skip ahead, here’s the lowdown – they’re all bullshit.
The idea of college sports teams playing for the love of the game is silliness rooted in an antiquated notion of what the term student athlete represents, where the first word in that description has just as much weight as the second one. Maybe 75 years ago you had some square-jawed kid who took to the field because he just enjoyed being out there and he wanted to fight for his alma mater. That was just college though, when it was all said and done he never expected to do anything other than sell mattresses in his father’s store after graduation. That world does not exist anymore.