Watching sports is a great way to escape the troubles of everyday life. That's why although times are tough economically across the nation, pro sports leagues have not suffered too terribly. (They've taken a hit to be sure, but overall attendance numbers remain strong for the biggest entities.)
However, playing sports can be an even greater release. This idea was brought up in a recent New York Times article about "Recession Soccer" in Hoboken, N.J.
Basically, a laid-off transportation engineer decided that with so many people out of work right now, they might want to get together regularly. He started the meetings in the winter, and it has taken off with an ever-increasing attendance at the Friday afternoon sessions in Frank Sinatra Park.
“I knew there had to be other people who needed to take a break from looking at Monster.com and sending out résumés," the event's creator, Ian Sacs, told the paper.
The economy is in a recession. Unemployment is at a 25-year high. And there doesn't seem to be a clear end in sight to the problems.
The article mentions that most of the players in these particular games are young and without children, making them better prepared to survive the economic turmoil for the time being. Others may not have the time to take a break from the job hunt.
A future employer may not care how good your foot skills are or what you were thinking when you buried a clutch jumper yesterday, but sports can offer a psychological confidence boost to the recently-unemployed.
I have a feeling that this practice is more wide-spread than just this New York City suburb. It's tough to think about it, but it's refreshing these all-too-similar people can find a silver lining in their troubles. When times are tough, it's nice to have something familiar to fall back on.
For some, that means watching the Lakers on TV or scalping a cheap Orioles ticket. For others, it's the chance to get out on the field and blow off a little steam in some friendly competition.
And if you have to wait a little longer to get on the basketball court at your local park these days, blame the economy.