Intellectuals don’t do football.

jeopardy is still on the airMy biggest surprise is that this show is still on the air.

Last night on Jeopardy, one of the categories was football. The host, Alex Trebek, mocked the contestants after they failed to provide a correct question to each of the answers in the category.

Jeopardy is an odd case of something that is not terribly interesting, but can succeed in being around for a long time, and everyone knows what it’s about. In that sense, it’s like The Simpsons, except somehow less entertaining. Like The Simpsons, if someone were to call you while you were watching it and invite you to do anything else, you’d take them up on it, because there is nothing exciting going on in the show.

The premise is that in each round, there are six categories, and in each category, there’s an answer that the contestants are presented with, and points go to the contestant that can provide the correct question that goes to it.

What, you already knew that? So did just about everyone else, but when was the last time you actually watched Jeopardy? I didn’t watch yesterday’s episode, either. I was so bored, that I watched the same movie that I had already seen at least three times already. Who still watches Jeopardy? Or game shows in general? If someone’s just waiting for death, there’s funner things to do in the meantime.

In last night’s Jeopardy game, a football category was presented to three guests, and they failed to get a single point, all while being sassed by the host. A bunch of intellectuals didn’t know a thing about football; who would have guessed?

If they wanted a really interesting program, they could have had the typical categories plus a football category, then they can bring in a bunch of guys who were jocks in high school but didn’t really succeed much beyond that. It would be hilarious to watch the jocks ace the football category, but fail miserably at the rest of it. The contestants on Jeopardy are usually intellectuals, so there’s not much expectation that they’d get the football category, or have much interest in it.

High school is the place where students start selecting courses that have a more direct impact on the college that they attend. This makes high school an important part of a person’s formative years. It’s important for the student to not just come away with good grades, but demonstrate that they can succeed in higher education.

In this environment, jocks are treated like celebrities because of their place on the school’s sports teams. However, they’re dismissed from classes early to go practice, not benefiting from the lessons, and are sometimes even shown preferential treatment by teachers that give them good grades under pressure from the coach that wants them to continue to practice.

I’ve heard it argued that high school athletics do benefit students based on two main arguments:

  • Students who play sports can learn teamwork and cooperation, and
  • Student athletes may be awarded college scholarships.

For one thing, a student can learn teamwork and cooperation from a number of assignments that have real-world application. Or they can cooperate on essays, presentations, or even large homework assignments. If the goal is to prepare students for career success, why not teach teamwork with assignments relating to their field of study?

Also, if a student is awarded a college scholarship on the premise that they can continue playing football in college, they’re merely delaying the inevitable. The number of student athletes that go on to become professional is a razor-thin margin of one percent. Unless they figuratively win the lottery and go on to play for a professional team, that time that they’ve spent playing games when they should have been studying is only going to waste. Otherwise, they’re going to have to eventually pick a real-life skill and learn it before time runs out on them, because their time spent playing sports in school doesn’t qualify them for much outside of pushing carts at Walmart.

When it comes down to it, sports like football are only games. Schools sometimes let student athletes out of classes early so they can practice playing sports. If they’re going to do that, why not also let them out to play video games? The reasoning is just as sound, so why discriminate against one form of entertainment in favor of another? When I went to high school, I liked video games. But I didn’t play them during class, and I didn’t kid myself into thinking that they were anything besides entertainment.

Considering all this, it’s only natural that the intellectuals among us are those who didn’t bother with sports in high school, as they didn’t spend their class time that they should have spent self-improving instead playing games. Is it any surprise that the contestants on Jeopardy didn’t get any points on the football category? It would have gone much better if there were instead a category on Super Mario trivia.

Student athletics is a huge scam. What makes it so diabolical is that it plays to a student’s desire to become rich and famous by doing something that’s considered recreation, with the cost of admission being the important formative years of the student’s life. Nearly all of them fail to become professional, however, and they are left to pick up the pieces of their lives and find for themselves the focus that would actually get them somewhere, which they should have done to begin with. And schools come away with huge state funding, especially if the athletic teams do well, and they (might) thank the individual students for their time and energy with meager scholarships. Then they can continue to train to do nothing at all when they should be learning important skills in college! What a deal!

I know that the few football fans who actually watched Jeopardy last night are coming away from it high-fiving one another because they know something that the people who studied math in school don’t, but it’s really nothing in which a person can take true pride. If someone got on a game show and nailed five questions about anime but bombed at everything else, that goes to show where he’s been directing his efforts.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

may's enormous smile

If you’re a jock and were somehow able to read all this, leave a comment. I’m curious as to how many made it through.

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