Before all of you get up all riled up that I’m going all “Revenge of the Nerds” on our athletic program, I would like to point out that I am a very big supporter of sports teams. I am at every Real Salt Lake home game or at home on my couch screaming at the TV at the horrible officiating (those who watched the match against LA Galaxy will definitely understand), and I worship at the feet of soccer gods (or goddesses) such as Pele, Kaka, Solo and Wambach. I have tremendous respect for the amazing athletes who can do what I cannot. They provide a sense of unity with a large group of people who otherwise would never look twice at one another.
As much as I look up to these amazing athletes (such as most of our players on the WSU women’s soccer team — you girls are amazing), I also feel that our priorities as a society may be slightly askew. Educational institutions have a duty to educate their students. However, all over the country, money is continually dumped into athletic programs that hold no educational purposes other than to entertain the wealthy alumni who do the dumping.
STEM programs struggle for support all across the country. New gyms, health centers and athletic facilities are upgraded while departments such as geology get leaked on from someone up in the botany department turning on a lab faucet.
It’s true, a new science building is being built up on campus, but how many buildings have gone up before the College of Science got recognized for their dire need of a new facility? The fault isn’t just with our campus. As a society, we tend to grant favor to the athletes over those students hunched over keyboards pounding out codes that better our community.
We give all glory to athletes all across the world. Yes, athletes entertain us, but what do they do for the advancement of us as a species? People will forever recognize and worship names such as Jordan, Ditka and Messi. However, the real heroes of the world brought us all the comforts that we enjoy today. Those heroes remain unknown or forgotten by the masses their genius has gone to benefit.
Before the name Lovelace was associated with a raunchy movie, there was Ada Lovelace. She was the first computer programmer in the world. She should be the hero of little girls all across the globe, rather than the twerking girls on YouTube.
Adam Osborne was the inventor of the first portable computer. That laptop you may be enjoying this column on came from someone’s genius.
Martin Cooper is the father of the cell phone. That nifty device that most of us are addicted to came from a man who graduated from the Illinois Institute of Technology in the 1950s.
You may not have heard of all of these devices and amazing people, but they have had a distinct effect on your life and the lives of billions of people across the globe. How is it that their names are not well known, but we all know who Kobe Bryant is?
We as a society need to realize that STEM and those people who devote their lives to the advancement of our civilization deserve the proper funding that will nurture and bring forth the next Bohr, Einstein and Tesla.