People invest a lot of emotion in sports, a phenomenon dating back at least to Roman times. Back then, the leaders knew they just had to provide bread and circuses, and everyone would be happy. In the end, they kept providing the circuses, but ran out of bread.
But some of the emotions, powerful though they may be, are very mistaken, like Quasimodo’s intense love of Esmeralda leading him to kill those who would protect her, and defend those who wanted her dead, because he was too stupid to know the difference.
So let’s help everyone sort their emotions by explaining what is a proper feeling toward a real life athlete, and what is appropriate only towards a video game character.
It all stems from one huge mistake. We think an athlete has to have only one goal in mind, pleasing us, the fan. And if he wants money more than winning a championship, or wants to play for a team other than ours, we hate him.
This feeling is certainly appropriate to a video game character. He is not real. He does not need a job, or money. He has no life but the present moment, and no life outside of the video game. He was created by his Creator, the programmer, for one purpose only, to amuse us. So if our video character rebels and wants money, or to play for a different team, there’s something wrong, some glitch in the program. Our indignation is righteous.
“Video game character, you are here to do what I want. Do it!”
But a real life athlete is different. God did not make him our slave. He did not program nor command the athlete to do whatever we want. When he joins our team, he is not committing himself to anything but doing his job description for the life of the contract. And guess what? We did not even hire him, someone else did.
“But I want him to be on my team forever.”
Well, my son, in real life, if you want something from someone, you have to offer him something in exchange. In other words, pay him.
“Don’t be ridiculous. I don’t have that kind of money.”
You can’t afford to live like an Arab sheik either, but I don’t see you indignant about that. Because unless you are totally bonkers, you realize you cannot live beyond your means, and are OK with that. Having an athlete slave is beyond your means. And it’s OK.
Even if you have the money to make him an offer, he can always refuse. That’s what real people are about. They do what they want, not what you want. So suck it up, or better yet, don’t be foolish in the first place.