What does the future hold for sports?

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My grandson, Jake Bolden, is a freshman at Eagleville, a baseball player and a real sports fan.

One problem: He thinks he knows everything.

Another problem: He just might.

He’s almost 15. In 2066, he will be the age I am now. I hope I’m here but it’s unlikely, since I would be more than 120 years old. Today’s oldest living American is 115, it doesn’t look good.

But if I am here, I’m going to a game.

The world, especially the sports world, will be a different place in 2066.

It will be a world without Michael Jordan, Tom Brady, Pete Rose, Pat Summit and numerous Hall of Famers in every sport.

What will Jake see and experience over five decades from now? Here are some thoughts.

Football will be a different game and not as popular as it had been for over a century.

 Many things will contribute to this. With lineman weighing in at more than 400 pounds, safer, larger and heavier but more cumbersome helmets will slow the game down and teams will pass nearly 90 percent of the time.

Injuries will be rampant and the game’s reputation suffered when two players actually died during the 2048 strike-shortened season.

Another serious problem will prove to be the crowds. People simply won’t be able to afford to go, and when they do go, they will be subjected to so many time outs, penalties and replays that the games will take well more than four hours.

At some stadiums, behavior of the fans will become such a problem that many owners will consider having their games in closed stadiums or with limited crowds. TV, radio, the Internet and other technological advances will pay the big money.

College football will still be wildly popular and there will be a nationwide super conference and 16-team playoff to decide a champion after a 15-game regular season.

Major League Baseball will also different.

There will be only one umpire, and he will never be on the field but rather oversee the computer-driven replays. Disputed calls and arguments will seldom happen.

Ticket prices will be very high and there will be just about the same number of teams as there are in 2012.

Professional basketball will still be reasonably popular, but the game will change.

Dunks will count one point, the three-second lane will be wider, the ball is in the home team colors and there is no longer a backcourt or centerline. Also, no one fouls out and the refs never touch the ball after it goes out of bounds. The players will run and get it and throw it in.

This game will be fast and every team will have many players taller than 7 feet.

Also middle and high school teams all will have a shot clock.

Hockey will remain about the same, but soccer will show considerable growth mainly due to the large number of immigrants who are interested in “real” football.

Real changes will be evident in middle school, high school and college sports. Coaches will be volunteers or hired by a business or booster club. Very few coaches will actually teach at a school.

My grandson will be able to turn on the TV and watch the Masters Tournament each April and other tournaments year round. He will discover that most of the top players are Asian and many women are playing.

He also will discover that America is much like Hawaii and has become a true melting pot. People from all over the world will compete in every sport and at a high level.

The NBA will expand and have leagues in Europe and Asia. They compete for a true world title.

The World Series will also expand to include teams from other nations. Usually the World Series will be played between Japan and the USA, but other nations will make progress especially Cuba and China. Latin American players will organize their own league.

When my grandson goes to Nashville, by the NashBoro Bullet Train of course, he can watch the NFL team take on Honolulu, Mexico City or Havana and there’s a team back in Los Angeles, but there are no longer teams in Seattle, Buffalo, Detroit or Jacksonville.

Many teams, unable to compete and pay huge expenses, will be sold to businesses like Exxon, Shell, GM and Microsoft, and a couple of teams will be owned by states or foreign governments.

Enjoy the game Jakester.
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