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The Real March Madness: America's Obsession With Sports Harms Women, Society

By Bonnie Erbe, Thomas Jefferson Street blog.

My colleagues on's opinion page are running a series of articles on March Madness. I have my own extremely opinionated thoughts on the subject that are way out of the mainstream of American culture. Before we get to mine, take a gander at Tim Otteman's thoughts:

My passion for sports and recreation has turned into a career as an assistant professor in the recreation, parks, and leisure services administration department at Central Michigan University. But, at one point in my life, this same passion started me down a dangerous path--sports gambling. I bet on sports as an undergraduate student, and also had family members who ran parlay card and bookmaking operations. I quit betting years ago and instead focused my efforts on educating the public about this potentially dangerous activity.

I would go much farther and say that America's obsession with pro and even college sports is an overall detriment to society. Playing sports is one thing. Turning mere, and often wildly flawed, mortals into sports heroes harms society in so many ways. It also turns too many of the heroes worshiped into megalomaniacs, gamblers, substance abusers, violent criminals and worse.

Macho sports culture denigrates women. It "spins" images of steroid abusers into cult heroes. We would be much better off without it in every way. Sports participation versus sports worship? Now that's an entirely different topic.

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By Bonnie Erbe

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