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American Professional Sports

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Professional sports are an important part of the American entertainment industry. Their impacts on culture and commerce are enormous. Most importantly, they allow us to witness what the best athletes can do with their bodies physically and how these special capabilities dictate what role each athlete plays in highly competitive team sports. There are many professional sports in America. The 3 most popular ones are Baseball, Basketball, and Football:

1) Baseball is the American’s favorite pastime whence the spectators can relax under the warm sunshine amongst the cheering fans while watching the pitcher trying to throw the ball with speed, spin, and or twist to get by the hitter who tries to swing the bat with the ball out of the park.

2) Basketball is a game of precision, agility, and constant motions, and scoring. The spectators are kept in an emotional roller coaster as the two teams fight and manipulate the ball up and down the court and into the opponent's hoop in an almost non-stop defensive/offensive tug-of-war.

3) Football is an American invention. It has violence, artistry, complex strategic game plans, suspense, pain, and glory playing with a large contingent of 11 players from each competing team in a large field of 120 yards x 54 yards.

These 3 sports enjoy a strong fan base, healthy game attendance, and robust merchandise sales. Their combined 2013 revenues were around 20 billion dollars; a big boost to the nation's tax coffer and employment. Their success is due to not only the team owners' willingness to pay huge amounts of money to get the best players but also the setup of strictly enforced rules and regulations against cheating, drug use, and on-field unnecessary roughness.

Author's work

Author's work

MLB

Of the 3 professional sports, Major League Baseball (MLB) was established the earliest in 1901. It is also American's national and most favorite sport. The game is played with 2 opposing teams that take turns to play the defensive and offensive positions:

1) The offensive team tries to hit a ball pitched by the other team to get on base and or advance team members through the 3 bases to score a point.

2) The defensive team tries to guard the bases and outfields by catching the ball that is hit to throw out the other team player from reaching or advancing the bases.

3) An inning is completed when both teams have played both the defense and offense.

4) After 9 innings, the team that has scored the most points wins the game.

The game is dominated by the duel between the pitcher and the hitter who has 3 chances to strike at the ball coming to him in a variety of speed, sliding, curving, and breaking patterns. Injuries are normally located in the pitcher’s throwing arm and the player’s back, ankles, and knees while running hastily to reach the bases. Baseball is also very popular in other countries and it is the dream of foreign players to play in America. But only the elite athletes are offered the chance to play in the MLB. The majority of the foreign players come from Canada, Cuba, Japan, Panama, Puerto Rico, South Korea, Venezuela, Taiwan, Mexico, Dominican Republic, and Australia. Below are the MLB's relevant statistics.

1) Season – beginning of April to the end of September

2) # of teams – 30

3) # of games – 162

4) # of players – 25 active players roster with 9 players on the field at a time

5) Game times – 2 hours and 50 minutes

6) Average player salary - $3.2 million

7) Average game attendance – 32,785

8) Average ticket price – $25

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9) Revenue – $8 billion

NBA

The National Basket Association (NBA) was formed in 1949. The game is played with 2 opposing teams:

1) Each team tries to score points by dribbling and shooting the ball through the hoop defended by the opponent.

2) Each hoop is located at one end of the court.

3) The game is divided into 4 quarters with 12 minutes each with resting times for the players between the quarters.

4) The team that has scored the most points at the end of the 4th quarter wins the game.

The game requires constant, rigorous, and sometimes acrobatic body movements by the players as they try to gain control, pass, and, or shoot the ball to score points while defended by the opposing players with equal tenacity. Injuries are normally located in the player's back, knees, and ankles due to overuse. Basketball is also very popular in other countries and it is the dream of foreign players to play in America. But only the elite athletes are offered the chance to play in the NBA. The majority of the foreign players come from Canada, France, Serbia, Australia, Spain, Croatia, Nigeria, Puerto Rico, Great Britain, Brazil, Russia, Germany, Argentina, and Greece. Below are the NBA’s relevant statistics.

1) Season – end of October and concludes by April

2) # of teams – 30

3) # of games – 82

4) # of players – 12 active players roster with 5 players on the field at a time

5) Game times – 2 hours 30 minutes

6) Average player salary - $5.15 million

7) Average game attendance – 18,000

8) Average ticket price – $60

9) Revenue – $4 billion

NFL

The National Football League (NFL) was formed in 1922. American Football League (AFL) began operations with eight teams as a rival to the NFL in 1960. They merged in 1970. The game is played with 2 opposing teams that take turns to play the defensive and offensive positions:

1) The offensive team tries to move an olive-shaped ball to the opponent’s goal post 100 yards away by either carrying the ball by or throwing the ball to a player.

2) The defensive team tries to stop the player with the ball and his protecting teammates by tackling or blocking.

3) The game is divided into 4 quarters with 15 minutes each with resting times for the players between the quarters.

4) The team that has scored the most points at the end of the 4th quarter wins the game.

The game is played with sophisticated offensive and defensive strategies that rely on players’ fast sprinting, jumping, and hitting abilities that often result in concussion and broken bones related injuries despite the protections of the helmet and body padding. Except for Canada, Football is not played in the other country. However, a few foreigners are recruited for their prowess in sprinting as Running Back, Blocking as Line Backer, or kicking as Field Goaler. Below are the NFL's relevant statistics.

1) Season – beginning of September and ends in December

2) # of teams – 32

3) # of games – 16 not counting the 4 playoff games

4) # of players – 53 active players roster with 11 players on the field at a time

5) Game times – 3 hours and 15 minutes

6) Average player salary - $1.9 million

7) Average game attendance – 67,000

8) Average ticket price – $82

9) Revenue – $9 billion

The Best

All 3 sports share the same basic game format of 2 teams playing against each other to achieve a winning score under a set of rules and regulations. Each team is made of a fixed number of players each performing a specific function in the assigned position with the same ultimate purpose to win the game.

To attract a knowledgeable and thrill-seeking audience, a culture of integrity, competitiveness and a winning attitude are fostered. This means that only the athletes with superior physical, mental, and skill in the game’s specific position have a chance to make it in the team. For the player who can contribute consistently to the team’s winning, the rewards are a hefty salary, commercial endorsements, and fan adoration. For the rest of the players on the team, they will have to be contented with a less glamorous supporting role and still, a comparatively well-paying job.

The Journey

Most of the people have played Baseball, Basketball, and, or Football at school and or playground. The primary objectives are exercise and recreation. It is through high school and college sports activities that prospective professional athletes are identified and trained.

The players are then tested in a well-structured competitive scholastic environment where their physical, mental, and skill capabilities are developed and exposed for all to watch, enjoy, and evaluate. Injury and intense pressure will weed out the weaker candidates. What is left is the cream of the crop who are ready to take on the challenge of being a professional athlete to play a game that promises fame and financial reward as well as public criticism and ridicule. It is then no longer a game of innocence, pure joy, and intention; it has become a game of life.

The Role

The American professional sports showcase the best players that the system can offer and the money can buy. Each player will soon settle into one’s assigned role of expertise working toward a winning team. Some of the players may be talented enough to play in more than one position or in more than one sport. But due to the schedule and competitive demands, it is a full-time effort for the player to keep being the best specialist or one will be replaced by the better player waiting in the wing.

So, it is not surprising to learn that the average professional life of the best player is 10 years while the average player has only 5 years being cut short by injury or declining performance.

Comments

Kenneth Avery from Hamilton, Alabama on June 27, 2014:

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Sincerely,

Kenneth Avery, Hamilton, Alabama

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