June 10, 2019

5 reasons why the Raptors could be a socialist metaphor

A semi-parody by Peter Miller

The Toronto Raptors are, I think, an exciting team to watch, and with Kawhi Leonard, they could win the finals for the first time in franchise history. Any time I watch them play it can't help but remind me about the superiority of the socialist system over capitalism. Here are five reasons why watching basketball reminds me of socialism.

1. The Right to Leisure

Everyone should have the right to leisure, whether it means playing sports or watching sports. Cable packages so you can catch every Raptors game are prohibitively expensive, and the average Raptors playoff ticket costs way too much, (this should be regulated so tickets are affordable for the working-class). Although one can easily watch a game on one of the many free streaming sites online or, better yet, one can join their friends and watch a game for free on the big screen outside the stadium in Toronto’s “Jurassic Park” (if you are okay with a copious amount of corporate advertisements), this is a lesser evil. All should be able to practice any kind of sport they would like as well as watch sports on their screens or sit on stadium seats. Under socialism, all people of varying ages and abilities will have equal access to sport to encourage a healthy lifestyle, and no one will be unable to afford tickets to watch elite athletes compete at the highest level.

2. Cooperation

To excel at sports, you need to cooperate with your teammates to be successful and achieve your goals. Under socialism, communities need to do the same. Socialist societies come together to reach the goals for their five-year plans, plans to meet the needs of the people, not increase the profits of shareholders. When I get to see an excellent play, where every Raptor player touches the ball, and a three-point shot is made or when I see an outstanding team defensive effort by Toronto, not only do I see a team working together and communicating to win a basketball game, but I am reminded of socialist cooperation. But the fact is that even if they are playing on the same team, Raptors players are in competition with one another and prospective teammates at an excessive level, something that should not happen in a socialist sports system.

3. Competition

It's silly to think that socialism won't involve any competition. Healthy competition to enhance socialist development is a priority of any socialist society. The Raptors practice frequently and compete with one another for playing time, and in turn, this makes everyone stronger. At the same time, they compete with other basketball teams. Competition is fierce, but at the end of the finals opposing players shake each other's hands. It reminds me that under socialism there will still be competition for specific positions and jobs, but the right to a job will be enshrined in the constitution, and said competition will be fair: Gone will be the days where one's socioeconomic status is a key indicator of their future position.

4. Workers create value

Like everywhere else, it's the workers in the concession stands, the cheerleaders during breaks, and the players on the court that create such a valuable product. Bourgeois politicians are heaving public money for building stadiums for prominent business owners who buy franchises as their hobby when instead these stadiums and sports franchises should be publicly owned. A publicly owned franchise would provide affordable tickets and also showcase the athletic talent produced by society's excellent public sports programs, not private athletic academies increasingly closed off to working people.

5. A Glimpse of Socialist Sport

Everyone loves the athletes who give back to their community. Socialist sport will allow athletes to continue to be ambassadors, but instead of frequent appearances to help with private charities, athletes will be expected to teach their skills to youth athletes in public and accessible sports facilities, and also give back to the community in this way. Athletes will even no longer be frowned upon when they discuss politics, (think of all the racism and backlash Colin Kaepernick has faced for speaking out against police brutality). Women will also not be a 2nd class of athletes in a field that is way too masculinist. Their voices will be heard like all their fellow workers under a socialist society, and their ideas about how to better develop public sports programs and improve their workplace will hold specific weight because of their leading positions in athletics. Instead of being representatives for corrupt charities, they will be masters of fulfilling the goal that everyone in society has the right to leisure and sport.

If you managed to read this entire article, then cheers. Now, not only are you pumped about Toronto's playoff run but also excited about the connections between socialism and basketball.

Let's go Raptors!

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