It’s a Lock (Out); What of Stadium and Arena Workers?

Gamblers have a language all their own. I’m no gambler, so forgive me if I get this terminology wrong. But I think when a bet is termed “a lock” it means it’s a sure thing. Kind of like a lead pipe cinch, whatever that means. Anyway, here’s a lock – but it’s no bet at all, just a fact. When money is at stake people have been known to fight very hard for their share of the pie. I’d put money on it. (It’s not a bet, remember.)

The pie in this case is the big ball of dough generated by professional sports, in this case the NFL and the NBA. The NFL has been in the throes of a lockout for a while. Now, the NBA is in the same boat.

I think it’s a safe guess that most owners of teams in the NFL and NBA are rich, certainly when compared to most of us average Joes and Janes. And as far as pro-athletes, most might not accumulate the kind of moolah owners have, but while they’re playing ball their salaries are the stuff most of us only dream of.

So, while I hope the owners and the players in pro football and pro basketball are able to reach agreements that are mutually satisfactory, the people my heart goes out to are the unsung heroes of professional sports; the regular wage earners working in arenas and stadiums who are just plain folks like the rest of us, struggling to get by.

I suspect a lockout might hit the players in the pocketbook harder than the owners, but that is my own non-researched, idle speculation, type of assessment. I could be wrong. Where I don’t think I am wrong is when it comes to stadium and arena workers. I have to believe that for many, the money they make is absolutely vital to their daily lives.

Pro athletes are highly skilled and have a relatively short self-life. I get that they want to make as much money as possible. Sports team owners might be multimillionaires, but they have put up enormous amounts of money and underwritten lots of risk to own and run teams. It would make sense that they would want the best return on investment possible.

But the average worker connected with these teams? Like I said, my heart goes out to them.

Sports fans, when it comes to watching our favored sport or favorite team, lots of times we’re only thinking about ourselves. We want our team to win because we’ve taken on that team as a kind of extension of ourselves. When they win, we win. At least we feel like we win.

But being a fan is kind of odd. There is nothing reciprocal about it. We root for our team and particular players and what do we get in return? Other than the joy of fooling ourselves that their win is our win, nothing! Zero, zip, nada, goose egg!

Big time professional sports counts on us binding our persona and ego to the ability of complete strangers to perform at tasks for which they get paid, for the most part, far more than most of us ever dream to.

Being a fan means living vicariously – living through the lives and actions of others. Is that a good thing? Opinions, no doubt, are bound to differ. Perhaps, it would do more good if we became fans of the stadium and arena workers. We are more likely to interact with them than with the athletes or owners. And they and their lives are a lot more like ours.

Image: Carlos Porto /

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