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Competitive Edge?

So I am sure that you know that the competitive edge between collegiate and professional sports is vastly different. Professional sports is fun to watch because it is filled with the best athletes in the world, but for some reason, they don't seem them lay it on the line every night until it matters. In professional football and basketball, they play the games at a good pace each time until it gets close to playoffs and then the intensity starts to pick up. Then they will play like everything is on the line. And you ask why is that? I believe because in professional sports, money rules over substance. Players are more worried about the money they are getting than their actual passion and love for the game.

Professional athletes play hard to get a championship, but at times during the season, they are more worried about their endorsement deals than preparing for the next game. Granted this is their job now and they have to take care of their families, but the money situations have gotten out of hand in my opinion. Most professional athletes make over $1M a year, but at the same time that money is gone by the end of that year or at the end of their career. I mean think about it as a regular middle class worker, if you make $1M a year, do you think you would waste it all in a year or save it so that you are set for life? I am not trying to judge professional athletes, but if you look at the lockout and how many players were struggling financially during that time, you would agree that some athletes do not know what to do with their money. It seems like it is an image that they have to maintain. And also the better you are, the more money you demand from the team. Even if you are making $40M you want to ask for $80M for the next year because you had better stats, and then say you have to feed your family…You can’t feed your family with the $40M from last year? Do you really need that much more?

These financial obligations weigh on the minds of these players all year, especially if they are not getting the money they believe they deserve. Also, the loyalty to a franchise is short lived because they can be traded, cut, or a free agent at any moment. Those factors contribute to the team chemistry. Building team bonds and playing hard for each other adds to the competitiveness on any given night and that is rare in professional sports. Even the All-Star games are all about money and entertainment and less about competition. They have become a joke to watch because nobody really plays. However, college All-Star games and senior bowls after the season are filled with competition. Manly because those players are trying to get noticed but also because they are a product of their environment. Meaning they want to compete and play the game with passion. The pro athletes are far more talented than college players, but the collegiate athlete plays with more heart.

Also the professional sports fan is less engaged than the college fan. Yes during playoff games, the atmosphere is electric. But if you look at the games during the regular season, not every seat is full. The ticket prices are insane sometimes, especially in the playoffs. At least in college you get student discounts. Collegiate athletics atmosphere is almost always electric and engaging…

In fact, the college atmosphere is what drives these players. The screaming fans at every game, shaking the atmosphere and truly creating home court/field advantage. These players play hard for their coaches every game. Yes some individuals get noticed but the coaches always instil lessons to these players to remain humble and credit your teammates for your success.  That’s why the coaches love it, because not only are they coaching, they are shaping young men for the real world. They are engaging the community and students on campus. They are becoming role models for young children. College instils many values and creates an atmosphere like no other. The players on the teams are not out their playing for money or attention, but for the passion of the game and the fans of the university. They know that it is much bigger than them. No where else will rivalries be such a big deal. College rivalries are some of the most  iconic rivalries around : Michigan vs Ohio State, Duke vs North Carolina, Alabama vs Auburn, USC vs Notre Dame, Oklahoma vs Texas, Florida vs Georgia. These rivalries are always some of the best games and almost always go down to the wire. Buzzer beaters and upset wins always ignite the fans and they rush the court or field…

In all, college athletes play with more passion and heart than professional athletes.  They are driven by the atmosphere and the team bonds they have built over the years. In college, competition drives excellence! Competition in the weight room, in the class room, on the court/field, but all for one goal, to make each other better and win as a team. In professional sports, competition is there but it seems everyone is competing to only make gains for themselves more so the better meant of the team. Money plays a huge roll in how they play rather than their passion. It kind of taints the experience of watching professional athletics at times unless it is the playoffs. But still other than the Superbowl, college March Madness Tournaments and bowl games rank higher in ratings than the NBA and MLB. That just goes to show the value of collegiate athletics that people like to buy into. You never know who is going to win it all within any given year.

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