The Advantages and Disadvantages of being a Professional Athlete
The difference between professional sports and amateur sports is that athletes in professional sports get paid for playing; where as amateur athletes do not. And just like almost everything else in this world, treating professional sports as a daily occupation has its own sets of advantages and disadvantages.
The main factor about taking part in sports is the money. Some of the professional sports pay their athletes astronomical sums of money. For example, sports like cricket, football and basketball, the athletes earn money in the millions and this income hugely motivates the athletes to improve their personal qualifications and also drives the amateurs to consider sports as a future career. The sponsorship money help an athlete to increase their pay even more and pay more to get the best quality kits and equipment that they need to play the sport. Moreover, it also gives a professional athlete scientific knowledge about the discipline of sports.
However, commercialization of sports also has its negative impacts as well. There are many fans and organizations who consider the commercialization of sport as nothing but an attack on everything that the sport holds sacred, on its central ethos. According to them, competitions should be held as a tournament where athletes showcase their superiority instead of using it as a marketing tool to rake in money. In some ways, these fans are right because the increasing amounts of money at stake at an event takes away the sheen from the sport itself and the competition loses all its importance. This can be easily observed when a boxer refuses to fight another boxer because that fight will not bring a lot of money, or when footballers choose to ignore national call ups so as not to jeopardize their payments with their clubs.
With the mass media taking hold of sports and increasing the global audience, many sports were introduced to a larger and a global audience and the sports also raked in a lot of money. However, with increasing professionalism, many sports are losing popularity due to their non-commercial nature, as with the game of cricket in England.
Fame is perhaps the biggest advantage of being a professional athlete. Due to the global audience, sportspeople are well known throughout the world and enjoy a celebrity status in many places around the world. But sometimes, fame can cause an athlete to lose focus on what their primary career is and make them more determined to hog the limelight outside their circle than in the sport. But perhaps the biggest achievement of being a professional athlete is the honor of competing and winning. They feel pride because they gave the sport their all and the sport has repaid them with accolades. However, on the downside, there are athletes, who in spite of being dedicated, do not achieve much success or the best result.
All in all, it can be said that although professional sports has its negatives and positives, there is no way it can be judged upon without bigotry.