Sweet Rewards

Sweet+Rewards

Eric Norrell, Sports Editor

There are two types of people that, in general, construct and effect the societal norms of our everyday lives: entertainers and academics.  Both serve a unique and special purpose to the furthering of our society, however the rewards reaped based off of societal contribution as well as level of effort input differ quite differently compared between the two.  Not to say both entertainers and academics do not work hard towards their goals, because their efforts are obvious and duly noted as they are among the most hardworking groups of people in our society. Nay, what separates these two differing groups is the amount of praise they receive, or for one group in particular the lack thereof.  One of these societal groups is constantly praised and sought after in the media as being the golden life that everyone wants to live, personifying it as a luxurious treasure, tantalizing to the gullible, but as close to their grasp as the mist that shrouds their deceived eyes.  The other is the group that built the foundation of our society, the leaders of our countries, the teachers of our classrooms, the saviors of our lives; these are the people that matter and that make a difference in our everyday lives, yet seldom do we praise their efforts or even reward them appropriately.  We as a society reap the benefits they provide us like a leech: we use them for what we need, without them asking for anything for in return, and we move on to our next victim without giving a second thought as to whom we leave behind.

Hopefully it is clear enough to decipher which group is the entertainers, and which group is the academics. However, if it is still unclear as to which group belongs to which societal description, maybe you should look a little harder, think a little deeper, hold your values a little higher because the choice is more obvious than a Hallmark Christmas movie ending.  The academics of our society shape and affect our daily lives in ways so numerous the average first grader would struggle adding them together, even the ones who can count to one hundred and beyond. The academics play such a pivotal role in advancing technology, curing diseases, and changing human lives that without them our society would cease to exist, except for maybe reality shows and sports.

Entertainment is not necessarily a bad ploy for revenue; every year people around the world pour money into the entertainment industry more than any other industry. It is the lack of societal contribution and the rewards thrust upon these entertainers that contribute little more to society than a whimsical joke and bad publicity that cause a negative connotation to be shed on the entertainment industry.  These entertainers use their publicity and popularity to further their wealth and social status, rather than focusing on real world issues and using their influence for positive change. The biggest culprit? Athletes. Most athletes, not all athletes, but most athletes use the popularity they gain through their sport and use it for their own personal gain.  They could be using their popularity to endorse a positive subject such as diabetes research like Miami Heat shooting guard Ray Allen, rather than the pre-Madonna garbage most athletes get themselves involved in.  Why is it, then, that when it comes time for colleges to offer students scholarships that athletes get all of the money, and the academics have to duke it out for whatever is left over? The academics work just as hard if not harder than the athletes to obtain scholarships, but receive half of the amount that the athlete does.  Why is that? Not to say that the athlete does not work hard for his or her scholarship, but why should an athlete be awarded more money than an academic? Why should they not be offered the same amount of money or base the amount of money offered off of what they will contribute to society rather than how society perceives them?

The people of the academic world and athletes both work equally hard, there is no doubt about that, but they work towards different goals and aspirations.  The academics work to change human lives, change the course of human history, lead the human race into new heights it has never experienced before; athletes work to play a game for maybe fifteen years and cement their legacy in a hall that they may or may not get into.  Both put in the work and effort required to achieve their goals, but when it comes down to it we will be remembered for the impact we left on the lives of humans with the gifts given to us in the time we had here on earth. Who will we be remembered as, the curers of cancer or the guy who made that one catch? That is not for you or I to decide; that is for society to decide. It is society’s decision to reward who they believe is important to the furthering of our world, and if they believe our future lies in athletes then so be it. Let the athlete be granted a scholarship, he or she definitely worked hard for it and earned it, but let’s not forget the little guys behind the scenes keeping everything together.  They work just as hard as athletes towards their goals, and they contribute to society what most athletes cannot: selflessness and awareness of their role in society. They ask for nothing extra, no luxuries because they are practicing what they love and changing the world in ways that they could not imagine.  Sure, they may not be equal to athletes in society’s view, but they have a secret view that no one else has that shows them the effect they are having on the people around them and around the world, and that is a sweet reward all in its own.