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October 2, 1987     The Message
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October 2, 1987

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8 Sports Rutter on Sports By DAVE RU'FFER The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana iii October 2, 1987 Them and us: National Football League strike Americans love nothing more than groveling after money and griping about others who are more successful at it. Having enough is to be desired, but having more than someone else is sublimely joyful. The National Football League strike -- and the varied national perceptions of it -- comes down to that. Whatever the players and owners think of the strike's core issues, the average fan sees it very clearly. Someone's got money, and someone else wants it. It's the American Dream. Sure, pro football players probably deserve the right to switch teams once their contracts run out, but who can work up much sympathy with a large, obnoxious guy who makes $2 million a year? Is it so bad that they have to make the $2 million in Seattle instead of Los Angeles? There are plenty of large obnoxious guys who make $4.50 an hour. Who's sorry for them? Gosh, even Chicago Bears running back Walter "Sweetness" Payton, in talking about irregulars playing in pickup games against a smattering of veterans, referred to "body bags." Sunday afternoons without pro football will be downright inconvenient. But let's not cloud the issue. It's not the players, or the missed games we fret about as much as it is the money they make. Strictly moolah, folks. Rookie linebacker Brian Bosworth makes $11 million and Denver quarterback John Elway gets a little more, plus total mineral rights to Antarctica. A million here, a million there, and sooner or later we're talking about serious bucks. We are very self-righteous about apparent greed, especially when it involves someone else. And nothing riles us more than hired help wanting more money. As one respondent in a local poll suggested: "It's not like it's a skilled trade or anything." That's part of the NFL strike everyone understands, but there is a larger frame of reference which seems to baffle the American sporting public. The inconsistency in the equation, of course, is that the assembly line worker at Whirlpool, or the guy who fixes your plumbing, asserts the right to strike as a basic Constitutional guarantee. It's almost as basic to the American way of life as time-and-a-half for overtime. But there are inequalities in pay scale which don't anger us as a society, and the examples might be illustrative of what we deem important. No one's particularly peeved about teachers' salaries, the monthly check for a U.S. soldier, or even that clergy {other than the ones on TV) live more or less from hand to mouth. We are, it seems, more understanding about people making too little than ones who ask for too much. The fundamental misunderstanding revolves around why some people can demand so much and get it, and why others must settle for so little. Pro football players--the entire sports establishment, in fact--have reached this conclu- sion because we have told them it is so. We didn't verify this in opinion polls. The route was much more direct. We pay them. Aside from the few owners who can afford to dabble in professional sports as a hobby, the essen- tial relationship in all pro sports is consumerism. Players are paid and owners profit because we buy what they sell. LA Raiders owner A1 Davis is not a philanthropist; he's a businessman. Football players perform for those who pay and seek to perform for those who might pay more. Free market economics at work. When tickets become too costly for fans to buy, the cost will come down. When TV adver- tisers no longer make enough profit based on their identification with pro sports, the advertisers will buy another medium. It is you--that's right, you, the guy sitting reading this--who pays every nickel of Bosworth's salary. I bet the thought of that frosts your cookies. But it's even worse than that. You're also the one who pays the salaries of Johnny Carson, ALF and those horrible persons responsible for Smurf cartoons. They sell; you buy. If Johnny Carson's ratings fall off the charts, he's history. He's selling life insurance in Omaha. Of course, it's easier to blame the always- available but completely amorphous "them" for causing these disjointed ripples in the economic framework. The balance sheet doesn't always seem equitable, although it is fair in a grotesque sort of way. Unfortunately, the "them" is you, me and the guy across the street. I wonder if the "BET" could loan me a sawbuck until payday. Pope urges scientists, theologians to work together By GREG ERLANDSON NC News Service VATICAN C1TY {NC} -- Pope John Paul II called for a "deeper collaboration" between science and Christianity in a speech to an international conference of scientists, theologians and philosophers. Speaking at the Vatican Sept. 26, the pope told the in- terdenominational gathering that the "quest for unity" in Christianity, with its search for underlying theories to unite in- creasingly fragmented fields of knowledge, may bring the two communities closer together. "Is Christianity ready to form a deeper collaboration with science?" he asked. "Is the League play continues The second week of the touchdown. regular season for the Memorial 'In the second game, Holy High School Knights of Colum- Rosary/Good Shepherd went bus Council 565 grade school against St. Benedict. Matt football league was held at Swanson, of Holy Rosary/Good Memorial Tiger Field, Shepherd, ran for three Evansville, Sept. 27. touchdowns, Shawn Markel ran Jim Bockting, of St. for two touchdowns and two Theresa/Holy Redeemer, led his points after touchdown, and team in scoring with six Kevin O'Donohue made a point touchdowns. Matt Vollman, after touchdown, as St. with a two-point conversion, Benedict's went down to a 32-0 and Tom Deeg, with a point defeat. after touchdown, joined Bockting in defeating Christ the This weekend, St. Benedict's King/Holy Spirit by a score of {0-2) will meet Christ the 39-13. Ryan Brownlee, Christ King/Holy Spirit (0-2) at 1 p.m., the King/Holy Spirit, had a followed by St. Theresa/Holy 80-yard run in the fourth Redeemer {2-0) and Holy quarter and Joe Angermeier had Rosary/Good Shepherd (2-0} at a 15-yard run and a point after 2:30 p.m. i H WY. 62 W. BOONVILLE, IN OLD HWY. 41 N. SULLIVAN, IN scientific community ready to work more closely with other communities including the religious community?" The pope's English-language address to the 21 conference participants came at the end of the Sept. 21-26 "study week" in Castel Gandolfo, Italy. The theme f the conference was "Our Kndwledge of God and Nature: Physics, Philosophy and Theology." esuit Father George Coyne, director of the Vatichn Obser- vatory in Castel Gandolfo, was among 10 U.S. participants. Sponsored by the observatory and the Vatican Secretariat of State, the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, the Pontifical Council for Culture and Rome's Gregorian University, the con- ference marked the 300th an- niversary of Isaac Newton's publication of "Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica." For centuries the church and the academic community "en- joyed mutual support," the pope said, "but since the so- called 'scientific revolution' of the early 17th century, a grow- ing estrangement began to develop." 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