Labor disputes are always difficult. Why else do we call them disputes?
The current dispute involving NFL owners and players, and the anticipated dispute between NBA owners and players, are making sports headlines, but how much do fans really care? Take this little quiz to check the level of your interest.
1. If the NFL season is delayed or postponed because of the labor dispute, what will you do instead of watching football on Sunday afternoons and Monday nights?
A. Watch NFL game reruns.
B. Get reacquainted with my spouse and family.
C. Read a book.
D. Get some exercise.
E. Sit and stare at the TV wondering why networks are showing Australian Rules Football games and Andy Griffith reruns.
2. Who is to blame for the NFL labor dispute?
E. All of the above
3. How much will your life be affected if the NFL cancels this season?
A. Not much, because my team isn’t very good anyway.
B. Very little, because I’ve got enough problems of my own.
C. A lot, because watching games was a nice escape from the real world, and I don’t have a life.
D. Not at all, because I have a life, and it doesn’t revolve around the NFL.
E. It will be interesting to see if any Tabor alums get hired as replacement players.
4. If you were a labor negotiator, what would you tell the owners and players?
A. I’d give them an earful, and then lock them in a room until they came to an agreement.
B. I’d ask, “How can you be foolish enough to kill the goose that lays billions of dollars of eggs?”
C. I’d ask, “How is it possible that American taxpayers with a median household income of $53,000 have to subsidize federal courtroom time for wealthy crybabies to shout at each other?”
D. I’d say, “Stop making the NFL all business.”
E. I’d say, “Go ahead, you’re about to make baseball America’s pastime again.”
Grading this quiz is difficult. However, if you have life in the proper perspective, some answers are better than others.
Regarding question No. 1, it shouldn’t take a lockout to help the relationship between your spouse and kids, but if it does, may the NFL never resume playing games.
Getting exercise and reading a book are good alternatives as long as you aren’t scarfing down junk food while reading a book. Actually, one option is C and D, because you can listen to an audio book while exercising.
The best answer to No. 2 is A, B and D. Sorry, but I think it’s a stretch to blame game officials.
The owners have a big advantage in any lockout situation, though, because they tend to be litigious and businessmen by nature. Plus, they have deeper pockets, hence stronger resolve, than most players.
As far as No. 3 goes, I have no doubt there will be some wailing and gnashing of teeth if games are canceled, but the longer the lockout lasts, the more even hard-core fans will realize there’s life without the NFL. The best answer is D.
There are probably a hundred answers to question No. 4 in addition to the ones I offered. Take your pick or make up your own.
Howard Cosell once said something that could apply to this labor dispute.
“Sports is human life in microcosm,” he said.
When push comes to shove, the NFL lockout, strike, work stoppage or whatever you call it, reminds us that pro-sports are a big entertainment business, and when big egos are involved, common sense isn’t.