Today was one of those days you realize why you live in the Pacific Northwest, sunny, clear bright blue skies, 74 degrees, visible mountains and vivid views of the sound. Seattle is such a great place to be on days like this. Well, to be more specific we were at Safeco Field for a Mariners game. Now, it’s no secret I’m not a huge sports fan. I’m more of an arts supporter, live performances, Teatro Zinzanni, Cirque du Soleil, type. Although, some of you (who know me) may find it surprising that I have been known to find bull riding of all things rather entertaining. Now, it’s not something I would have sought out on my own, but my mother in law adores those bullriders and therefore my husband watches it as well. And darned if it’s not rather enjoyable.
Moving on. Now, sports are going to be in my life, I have surrendered to that. My husband is a pretty big fan of college ball, pro football and pro baseball. He’s not a fanatical fan, but let’s just say it’s on TV a fair amount. So in order to make it entertaining for myself (live or on TV) I ask questions to better understand the game. I also call ALL uniforms costumes, which I think is great fun. After all, football players wear tights. They do! Tight stretchy pants are called tights. If they are in the dance world, they are here too. I don’t understand who chooses the colors for the costumes sometimes, but that’s for another time.
Getting to my point . . . Often I find myself disappointed in professional sports playing athletes. Today was no exception, the Mariners lost to the White Sox 7-4. These men are paid truly absurd amounts of money to play a game and often don’t perform to match their salary.
Take Chone Figgins for example, his 4-year contract totals 34 million dollars to play for the Mariners as a lead off hitter. He can’t hit the ball worth crap. He is being paid 9 million dollars this season and he can’t hit the ball. REALLY!?! The Mariners negotiated his contract based on his past level of performance, so why does he seem to be having an off day / season? I don’t believe he’s injured; perhaps it’s age or maybe bad feelings between a coach or owner. Who knows?
In the six years I have been blessed to have season tickets to Pacific Northwest Ballet, I have NEVER seen a dancer have an “off night”. Not once has a dancer lacked in technique, line or precision, never have I ever witnessed their focus and musicality not razor sharp. Each triple pirouette, every set of 32 fouettés, brisé volé, tour en l’air, or petit allegro executed with every cell in their body honed to the performance, often through pain or injury (the show must go on). They exude more passion, energy and overwhelming athleticism than any of their sports playing neighbors. And I’m pretty sure they aren’t getting 9 million dollars for the season!
It disappoints me that due to the intricacies of the sports world, contracts and such, sports players of this pay scale are still able to take home their enormous paycheck regardless of their performance. Now, in a small (very small) defense of the sports players, they have another team playing against them. A dancer obviously does not. So, I suppose the playing field is not entirely level. However dancers used to perform on raked (slanted) stages, does that count?