On Saturday, I tuned into watch the first two games of the relaunched XFL football league, which was coming back with a vengeance after a 19-year absence. The original league had failed after only one season of sloppy football, cheap gimmicks and pandering to nauseating sexualized entertainment.
However, the rebranded XFL, which was announced by Vince McMahon two years ago, is back, and I have to say as a die-hard football fan, I was pleasantly surprised by the product that was put on display. The player talent was better than I expected, some of the rule changes revolving around the kickoff and the scoring of extra points were innovative and unique, and I felt the ability to hear the coaches call plays was also a distinct feature of this league that will make it last longer than the original.
That’s not to say it didn’t also have its faults. The sideline interviews after almost every other play were overdone and resulted in a player cussing on live television; not to mention some of the technical issues the broadcasts on ESPN and FOX had.
However, due to the fact it’s a new league that was putting on a show for the first time, it can be excused in the interim. As the league moves forward and receives feedback from fans, those changes can be made. Now, of course, that’s all assuming the general population gives it a chance to succeed.
The main problem that upstart sports leagues have, as well as other forms of entertainment, is that people are so comfortable with what they know, and enjoy familiarity so much, that they’re unwilling to give something new a chance, which helps lead to the inevitable downfall of whatever is attempting to break through.
It also doesn’t help that for a large portion of middle-class families, entertainment dollars are hard to come by, and so they prefer to put their money with a product they know will give them what they’re looking for.
Take the new XFL. If you love football, but don’t want to wait six months for NFL training camps, then you now have a decent alternative.
If you love football but feel the NFL product has become stale and boring, well now there’s a league bringing exciting new changes to enhance and modernize the game.
If you feel a certain genre of music has become tainted with the same old sound, then you can try out independent or upcoming artists that offer something different.
Airbnb’s are a new form of accommodation for when you travel. Instead of over-paying to stay in a corporate hotel chain, why not $50 to stay in a comfy and clean home? It’s not what you may be used to, but it without a doubt is a better experience, and is better value.
All in all, while it’s OK to love what you know, stepping outside the box every once in a while isn’t always a bad thing. You may even find it rewarding.