American Professional Sports

The professional sports are an important part of the American entertainment industry. Their impacts on the 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 the highly competitive team sports. There are many professional sports in America. The 3 most popular ones are Baseball, Basketball, and Football. These 3 sports enjoy a strong fan base, a healthy game attendance, and robust merchandise sales. Their combines 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 amount 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.

MLB

Of the 3 professional sports, the Major League Baseball (MLB) was established the earliest in 1901. It is also the 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 advance team member through the 3 bases to score 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) At the completion of 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 the foreigner 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 is 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 – 2:50

6) Average player salary - $3.2 million

7) Average game attendance – 32,785

8) Average ticket price – $25

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 over use. Basketball is also very popular in other countries and it is the dream of the foreigner 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 is the NBA’s relevant statistics.

1) Season – end of October and concludes by the month of 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 – 2:30

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. With the exception of 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 is 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 – 3:15

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. In order to attract a knowledgeable and thrill seeking audience, a culture of integrity, competitiveness, and winning attitude is 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 is able to contribute constantly 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 a 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 scholarship and college that the prospective professional athletes are identified and trained. They are then tested in a well-structured competitive environment where a player’s physical, mental, and skill capabilities are developed and exposed for all to watch, enjoyed, and evaluated. 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 athletes to play a game that promise great fame and financial reward as well as public criticism and ridicule.It is no longer a game of innocence, pure joy and intention; it is a game of life.

The Role

The American professional sports showcase the best players that the system can offer and the money can buy. The players will soon settle into their assigned roles of expertise working together toward a winning team. Some of the players maybe talent 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 cutting short by injury or declining performance.

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kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

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