I'm being facetious, because I really don't care about football. In fact, there's nothing in this world that I care less about than football. At the risk of offending any of you, I think it's a barbaric sport that's stupid and dangerous. The fact that football players receive totally obscene salaries to run around a field throwing a ball and knocking each other senseless, is, to me, an embarrassing absurdity of modern life. On top of that, they look hideous in those outfits.
Last night, the Musicians of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra performed in concert at a local church. The orchestra members are still on strike, since all efforts to reach an equitable settlement have come to naught time and again. There is a growing sense of desperation among music lovers here in Detroit, who turn out in huge numbers to hear these talented, world class musicians as they turn black and white notes on a page into music of truly heavenly caliber.
At the end of the last round of negotiations, we heard that the orchestra and management were approximately two million dollars apart in their offers, two million dollars away from saving not just this season or this symphony, but the future of the DSO for years to come.
Two million dollars.
You know where I'm going with this, I'm sure. Two million dollars is a heck of a lot of money to me, and I suspect it is to you.
But it's less than the average annual salary for a member of the New York Giant's football team.
Less than the salary of one football player for one year.
At the beginning of this post, I said I could care less about football. Even though I don't like it, and don't watch it, I know plenty of people who do. That's as it should be. In America, we should all have the right to enjoy the things we enjoy, and I defend those rights, even if don't quite comprehend the reasons for them. I know many people don't appreciate music the way I do. But I should hope they wouldn't deny me the opportunity to experience the music I love performed by people who are tops in their field.
But that's exactly what's going to happen unless we narrow the gap between our perception of greatness, and stop devaluing artistic endeavor.
Athletes and orchestra musicians are not all that different, you know. Each one works for years and years to hone their skill, hours of repetitive drill and expensive study, endless grueling practices and rehearsals, traveling from place to place away from their families. They must learn to work within the structure of the group, follow directions from their leader, and be at their individual best at all times. At the end of it all, they put on their game day faces and strut onto their respective fields, eager to give the best performance of their lives.
Wouldn't it be nice if every member of the Detroit Lions (where the average annual salary is $1,683,397) would donate a couple of thousand dollars toward keeping the DSO on the stage? Or if some of Detroit's other professional athletes would join in that initiative? It's pocket change to them, but it could actually go a long way toward insuring the future of artistic excellence in Detroit city.
During tonight's football game, I will be playing my recordings of the DSO at top volume, hoping against hope that those CD recordings won't be the only way I'm able to hear these wonderful musicians in the future.
And by the way, they look wonderful in concert attire.