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Thursday, February 09, 2017


You shouldn't get me started on football. A coworker is on the phone a lot to do with fields for youth football and it is all I can do not to yell at him. A college friend played football but my school was notorious for its lousy team, my friend did something with a lot of running and didnt get pounded so he went on to become an MD (I was NOT interested in the sport) and players didn't weigh as much back then. A big factor in the injuries now is that the damage done is a) cumulative and some kids start so intensively, so young and b) that players are so huge and the damage from a heavier player increases geometrically w each pound. Not that I am minimizing the past awful damage done. I also wonder if perhaps certain showier gladiatorial plays that increase the likelihood of injury or contact like combat that satisfies the crowd's lust for blood (football is, afte all, our bread and circuses) haven't become more frequent. I wonder if, as sensible middle class parents stop letting their kids play football for fear of head injuries, we will end up with gladiator schools drawn from the ranks of the poor and the desperate, and also trained to be ever more violent in an attempt to lure spectators (it's harder to get full stadiums if lots of kids don't grow up playing it, unless you develop a revolting WWF type spectacle.

I am speaking as a complete idiot about football, of course. The one football game I ever loved was that one in a movie https://dvd.netflix.com/Movie/Harvard-Beats-Yale-29-29/70109082 The one that I think Garry Trudeau's characters were drawn from.

Here's the thing: everything we do carries risk and consequences. I limp today because of knees I hurt running marathons. But that was a sport I chose to pursue as an adult. I don't regret it all--I loved running. And I can still hike and bike and do a ton of other active stuff, so it didn't blight my life that I hurt my knees. And (so far as I know) it did no brain damage. WHereas football is something that parents often push kids into (who are often reluctant). Who really knows which head injury or series of them did the bulk of the damage that leads to dementia in the end? While it seems logical that repeated pro games would be worse than a bunch of inept little boys rampaging around, one might also theorize that ANY damage to a young, developing brain would have permanent effects. SO, just as I didn't allow my kids to do long distance running when too young (for fear of injuring growing joints)I wouldn't want them playing football. Fat chance anyway, all a bunch of bookish intellectuals (sigh).

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