Okay, admittedly, I am not a big banner-waving, face-painting sports fan. On the other hand, I watch football almost every Sunday and last summer I adopted the Chicago Cubs as my baseball team to cheer for. But my life does not revolve around sporting events and I usually do not know who is playing whom until I tune in and see. On the jock scale from 1 to 10 (ten being a sports maniac) I guess I’m around a 4…I show up and get excited, but then I go off and do something else when it’s over.
So what is all this about? It’s about money and how much we spend on sports. What you personally spend on sports is your business and your right. What money the government spends on sports is when I get interested. Granted my taxes don’t go very far when you consider all the tills they get divided into. But we all donate a certain amount of our hard-earned cash and it is our right to complain when the government spends it unwisely. Of course, unwisely is a matter of opinion, but my opinion was pretty much in an uproar this morning when I read the newspaper. Here’s the headline that grabbed my attention:
“Commission gives $86M to Panthers”
The Commission is the governing body of the county I live in. It’s the same county that is home to the Florida Panthers hockey team. Here are some bullet points from the newspaper article:
- The team is “bleeding millions.” It lost $36M last year and $27M the year before.
- Last year it had the worst attendance record in the NHL.
- Those who voted to approve the funding said they were swayed by an “analyst” who said the county would lose far more than $86 million if the Panthers left or declared bankruptcy.
- The $86 million will come from tourist taxes.
- Of the $86 million, $1.5 will go toward luring a “high impact event,” $39 million goes to capital improvements to the arena building the Panthers play in and $45.5 will pay for operations, i.e., the electric bill. No bucks get down to the where the skates meet the ice.
Now, just to put this in perspective, which I am sure many of you could, I will point out one example of what’s wrong with this picture. My wife is an RN. She spends her days going in and out of homes and institutions assessing the needs for elderly people who are ill or disabled and they need help. Why? They are either suffering in pain or they are dying. Sometimes acquiring something as simple as a month’s supply of medicine to help ease the pain, becomes a complicated nightmare of battling insurance companies or attempting to squeeze minimal bucks out of government-run healthcare services. Again, I am sure you can make similar pleas for many causes that can use $86 million.
Okay, it’s tourists who will be forking over the bucks for this drenched sieve of a hockey team and not the local taxpayers. But if the county commission has the power to acquire funds like these, why does it have to be a hockey team, and not a gazillion other dire-need people, that winds up with the money?
It’s stuff like this that makes me want to step even farther down the jock scale. Between the salaries paid to many players and the mere $20 charge for a hotdog, fries and a Coke that fans pay while they attend the game…well, this country and my county need a time-out. Go to the locker room and take a cold shower…a long one.
Please Note: in the following sentence, my first name is spelled with a “k” …no, I know how to correctly spell my name. It’s with a “c.” But, get this, there is some kind of new spell check on my blog that keeps correcting my name when I spell it “Marc” and I have to go back and re-corrrect it. This is nuts. Wordpress says it isn’t them. So who/what is it that keeps checking my “c” and replacing it with a “k”?????? Anybody know how to figure out this puzzlement?
And now, catching up with other fans, blog fans to be precise, here’s a big THANK YOU from me for stopping by mark’s blog recently: Gradypbrown, Ron Carmean, Stumelton, Ronna and Jay Gershberg, Kathleen Neiman, Rita Petrushansky-Mastroni, Vic Mendez, Ed Nowak, Heather Hobbs, Emma Snow (so happy you did not vanish), and Mike Fuller (his new detective thriller, Sink Rate, is on amazon).