Brighter side of sports

Published 9:04am Wednesday, May 18, 2011

This is one of the best times of the year. Atmore Cal Ripken Baseball is underway, the Escambia County Blue Devils are just a few days away from taking on the AHSAA Class 6A state champion Daphne Trojans in a spring football game and warmer weather is here (well almost).

With these types of activities going on around Atmore, the fun of athletics is easily seen by everyone involved. Parents are able to enjoy watching their children play a sport; coaches get the enjoyment of teaching a game that they love to a younger generation and players not only get to learn how to play their sports properly, but they have fun doing it.

That’s the lighter side of sports and that’s what brings people back year after year.

Another world away though, sports has become a business that sometimes sucks the life out of something that has always been intended to be fun.

An awkward lockout has brought an insurmountable amount of tension between NFL players and the owners of their teams about benefits and revenue. The lockout was granted a permanent stay on Monday evening by the Eight Circuit Court of appeals with both sides to argue for or against the lockout in a hearing on June 3.

While both sides have cases on what they want and why, they each fail to realize who is being punished during the lockout…the fans. The fans are the ones who buy the tickets, concessions and merchandise that helps pay the owners and players. They look forward to seeing their favorite teams and players compete week in and week out during the season, and with this lockout the fans get the rough end of it.

The same thing is on the verge of happening in the NBA with players and owners expected to come together this summer to bargain a new collective bargaining agreement.

It hasn’t been that long since the last NBA lockout took place, which was during the 1998-99 season. That year, the NBA season was disrupted and only 50 games were played.

With bargaining looking like it has become more difficult in professional sports, a lockout looks inevitable.

If a lockout happens then the next fall and winter will be a lot more boring due to these hardheaded professionals.

With these labor issues taking place, the real world of youth and high school sports is a breath of fresh air.

The chance to go to Tom Byrne Park to watch the Atmore Rotary Club Tigers take on the Atmore Lions Club Cardinals is an experience that never gets old.

At the same time, seeing Atmore’s own football team travel south to battle a state champion of a higher caliber gives the city a boost in pride and brings everyone together for a common goal….to cheer on the hometown Blue Devils.

These things are the brighter side of sports. Experiences that are always going to be there as long as kids want to pick up a bat or put on a helmet and shoulder pads. That’s where sports begin and that’s what makes them great.

Chandler Myers is sports editor of the Atmore Advance. He can be reached at 368-2123 or by e-mail at sports@atmoreadvance.com

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