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Friday, October 10, 2014

Football Has A Problem

Football Has A Problem
A cranky opinion for
CRANKY OPINION SATURDAY
The Following is the opinion of a cranky old man with limited knowledge on the subject opined.  Opposing opinions are welcome...they will be ignored but they are welcome, and please, no name calling and that means you, you big stupid head.
My Dad played football in high school.  I have several pictures of him in his leather helmet.  He never talked very much about it, it was just a game, just something to do.  My brothers played football in high school.  It was important, but it never defined who they were.  I played football in high school.  It was a game, an important game in my life, but it did not define me.  My older sons played in high school.  It was not much different from my experience.  Teamwork, friendships, games, a little extra school status; it was mostly fun...hard work, but fun.  Football started in September, and ended on Thanksgiving Day. 
My youngest is now playing high school football.  I am a little concerned that it is becoming less of a game and more of a way of life.  There is pressure to practice in the off season, lift weights, watch films and in some cases take drugs to improve performance. 
I used to love football, now it is disappointing me.
My middle son played football in college.  At an end of season dinner celebrating the season, I overheard a football dad bragging about his son and his sons football playing friends.
"They're crazy (insert laugh) Danny eats light bulb globes. chews up the glass and swallows it, that's how tough he is.  Mikey actually put his fingers in a light socket, they just don't feel pain."
As I listened to this I thought how my son had earlier considered dropping off the team because the game was consuming too much of his life.  Listening to this idiot dad bragging about what butt- heads his football playing son and his friends were, I was proud of my son for realizing the game had become too much.
In the pros there are stories of domestic violence and child abuse.  Now in my neighborhood there is a major story of hazing and bullying by varsity high school kids against the freshman players.  The teams schedule has been cancelled, the season is over because of the bullying.  The town is in an uproar.  This town lives for football.  The cheerleaders have no one to cheer.  The student body has no one to idolize, and nowhere to go Friday nights.
Too bad!  This incident was not just bullying, it was major sexual abuse.  Anal rape.  Say it out loud all those in town who are upset that the season was cancelled.  ANAL RAPE!  Your football players were (allegedly) digitally abusing younger kids and making them lick the abusing digitals.  Your players either participated, watched, or knew about this and did nothing about it.  And it would seem it was not a one time event, but a regular ritual.  It is rumored the abused were threatened with serious harm and or death if they reported the abuse.
I am going to Massachusetts this weekend to watch my son play high school football.  I hope he plays some, I hope his team wins, but none of that is as important as the lessons high school football is supposed to teach young boys.
We used to learn the importance of hard work.  We used to learn to work as a team.  We used to learn comradery, we used to have fun. 
Has football become something else.  Is eating light bulb globes something to be proud of?  Is winning so important that children are encouraged to risk their bodies by taking body and mind altering drugs? Does being tough mean beating woman and children and tormenting younger players?
I am disgusted.  I used to love football.  I loved what it taught me, my children and kids who had too much time on their hands.  Football taught us to be tough, to work together, to win and to lose, football made young boys better men.
Is football now teaching young boys to be steroid-pumped-up abusing idiots who have no concern for their actions, no ability to realize some behavior is so, so wrong? 
I hope not.
The preceding was the opinion of a cranky old man, and not necessarily that of management...Mrs. Cranky.

16 comments:

  1. i saw the headline of that school's season being cancelled due to sexual hazing, but i didn't read it.

    we, as a society, seem to have lost our limits, our borders of what is acceptable behavior. sports gets the adrenaline going for players and fans alike. i think it makes it even easier to blur whatever is left of the lines. but one could probably say that about the political arena as well as any athletic arena. we humans...

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  2. I would hope with the incident you wrote about that if there are any charges that should be filed that they are filed against those that did the abuse. Canceling the season is mild compared what I would have done if I was in charge. We put too much emphasis into sports over pretty much any other aspect of our lives, no matter what the sport (we figuratively, not you that write your blog or those that read it). I remember several years ago talking to a woman whose son was a very good pitcher for his high school team. His pitching arm was injured yet they were investigating what he could do to be able to play because it was important to play to get noticed by scouts, etc. She would risk him permanent harm for that. Didn't make sense. Don't get me started on the same people who will keep their mouths closed and not sing at church will yell themselves hoarse at a football game.

    We need to put sports back where they belong and stop elevating them and sports players like we do.

    betty

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  3. There is so much wrong with football (worldwide) these days that I don't know where to begin with listing the problems. I remember the days when football was a weekend sport with practise during the season, on Saturday afternoons the local oval had cars ringed around the fence with families inside or sitting on the hood, kids ran around, picnics and barbecues were had, everyone had fun.
    It all changed when players and teams started getting paid to play.

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  4. You know how towns hang seasonal flags from the lightposts in the downtown area? The neighboring town hangs flags of their highschool football players. Bigger than life size.

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  5. Yeah, its gotten well out of hand. I love football, agree that it has become too violent ("spearing"), realize that concussions are ruining young lives permanently, etc, but I'm not ready to give up on it. I like what your town did by cancelling their season. That might...just might get these young men to think for once.

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  6. Joe, I just saw this on CNN, and you did a better job of reporting.

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  7. I've dissed football here before. What has happened to parent they have nothing better to do than relive the supposed glory of their youth making even bigger heroes of their football playing children.
    I'm dealing with the same thing with two grandchildren in the band. The parents have nothing better to do than bully the children and the band director into becoming the parents image of an award winning band. That includes disciplining a little girl because her sister brought her a bottle of water.

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  8. Good... when I read this on my phone last night, I wanted to scream bloody murder.
    It seems there is nothing good about football any more, now that it is organized from bottom to top.
    The game is no longer about fun, like when I was a kid and a bunch of us would just show up and choose sides, or even when we played intramural club football in college.
    But then there was no money in that.

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  9. What TexWisGirl said. I've been noticing this trend for some years now. It's not pretty and the end results is...well you posted it here.

    Have a fabulous weekend. :)

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  10. Completely agree. If only all school-sponsored teams were like the Cal Tech basketball program (they stopped football after compiling the longest losing streak in college). The program has no scholarships, and it's common to see them when on the bench during a game doing school work. When they broke their losing streak (80 games or so) the crowd of 50 or so rushed the court. It included 6 Nobel laureates on the faculty.

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  11. Not only is that sick and wrong its criminal. And such a shame. My son played football for a small town team in high school, I cannot stress enough what a positive experience it was for him and for us. But what I hear about lately is appalling.

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  12. To me, "sports" is something that people do to stay fit and healthy if their modern life prevents them from being physically fit otherwise. It should be a hobby, something done to encourage health and camaraderie. If it becomes a means for a high school boy to get a college scholarship, then I want to know how a high school girl with the same grades would get a college scholarship.

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  13. You make such strong points. Every parent, especially fathers, should read your post. Too many men try and experience faded or fictional glories from their own pasts, living vicariously through their children, while pretending they're doing so because it's good for their kids. It isn't.

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  14. I use to be a real fan of football but for the past ten years I don't think I have seen two complete games. It has always been a rough sport. I remember one high school boyfriend was afraid to ask to come out of the game with a badly broken nose for fear of the ridicule. Now days rough has become just plain violent.
    It is baseball for me today and even it has some serious problems, mostly with drugs but they are doing a fair job of policing them selves.

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  15. Here's an old football movie that addresses the self-importance of high school football coaches and boosters, and with a young Tom Cruise to boot, before he got all weird. Leah Thompson and Craig T. Nelson are also in it. I think it's rated R. Check it out if you want to root for the underdog. "All the Right Moves."

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  16. I've hated football since Michael Vick was allowed to return to the game.
    But since it's not going away, I hope for more dads like you who have kept their own sons out of the cesspool by passing along solid values and nurturing self-esteem. Those boys will be able to separate the good parts of the sport from the bad.

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