I like healthy competitions as much as the next person. Of course these days, competition takes on the form of an RFP (Request for Proposal) or a vote driven-crowd funding campaign to support programming for one of my non-profit clients. But back in the day, I was a fierce tennis competitor who had dreams of serving an ace or two on the grass courts at Wimbledon, and the thrill of the win still lingers deep inside me.
As a transplant now living in the suburbs outside of Philadelphia, I get to experience the excitement and the hoopla that embodies a community that has ached for decades, for their team to play in the Super Bowl. The Eagles have made it to the Super Bowl twice, but have never won. “This could be the year,” I keep hearing everyone say at the grocery store, at the gas pump and at meetings that I have with actual athletes who have played in the NFL. (Shout out to my Mud In My Cleats colleagues, https://www.facebook.com/MudInMyCleats/)
My new city Philadelphia is crazy in love with the idea of the Eagles finally being declared the best in the land. It’s been a long time in the making, since 1933. Green and white jerseys are everywhere and I have to admit, it’s fun to be part of a winning effort, even as a bystander.
But here’s the thing. I can’t help but wonder what our community would be like if all the excitement was directed at supporting non-profits that are doing the frontline work to make our world a better and more humane place to live. If I was able to motivate 40,000 people every Sunday to spend $250 dollars each on supporting food pantries, free clinics and workforce development, instead of buying stadium seats, soggy hot dogs and draft beer, then maybe all the community service leaders and their teams of do-gooders would have a fighting chance.
I’m not trying to take the fun or the pride away from cheering for our home teams. What I’m proposing is that we somehow support our other home teams that are already set up to assist our neighbors who are the most vulnerable. If only non-profit service work was as popular as licensed professional sports products. We know from IBIS WORLD that the licensed sports retail industry is estimated to have a 6 billion dollar annual revenue. Official NFL ticket and revenue statistics for 2016 are just as impressive. Approximately 33,696,000 tickets were sold. The ticket sales revenue alone was 2 billion+.
I’m just saying…throw a few billion my way so I can distribute it to the folks playing defense everyday in our communities. Let’s tackle poverty together, let’s sack hunger, and let’s score with literacy and education programs that break the cycle. If only!
Oh, and on this Super Bowl Sunday, FLY EAGLES, FLY!