There is no shortage of high-minded pundits and writers, who seemingly swoon at the sight of their own words predicting the death/demise/banishment of football in America.
I don’t get it. But they seem to like writing it, over and over and over again.
Football isn’t going to die in America. Never. Not in my lifetime. It’s too wonderful of a game. It’s too awesome of a spectator experience. The risks, while real, are being intelligently addressed and our expectations for length of career realistically trimmed.
Football is wonderful in so many ways, it’s hard to count. The best part about it, is that YES…. it’s hard! Any sport that requires young men to summon physical courage to simply participate, is an invaluable thing in life.
Football is wonderful for how it brings every imaginable race together in one locker room. It melts the country boys with the city boys, white with black, and on and on.
Football is wonderful because it has no size requirement. You get the most varied sizes on a football field than in any other sport. Most basketball players are tall (compared to average human) lean and can jump. Football players come fat, slow, but strong. Small, light, but fast.
There’s a place for everyone, and anyone on a football team.
Mike Vaccaro wrote a piece this week in the NY Post about “Who speaks up for football?” It’s a mostly pro-football piece, although I still object to some of his premises about the game, buried within.
For one, I feel zero “guilt” about watching football. None. Why should I? It is a voluntary endeavor, and the risks to the participants are abundantly known to all.
For another, I don’t feel that football in America is any kind of “addiction.” To be one, would imply that football is BAD for you, and that we SHOULD try to shake it, but can’t.
Giants owner John Mara – a weasily two-faced scheming squidnick who did the Redskins and Cowboys dirty with his lead in the “Salary Cap Gate” punishments – actually said something I agree with.
“I think football matters because the game is played and coached with such passion that people are naturally drawn to it,” Mara said. “Football has everything we love about sports in this country: incredible athletes, compelling personalities, acrobatic plays, exciting finishes, toughness and physicality. It is the ultimate team game.”
“I think people recognize that, and the passion of the fan matches that of players and coaches,” Mara said. “The hedge-fund manager making millions of dollars screams just as loud in support of his team as the gas-station attendant.”
So true. Football CAN bring us together, when every other damn thing these days is tearing us apart.
Finally, I had an email asking me about where I got the audio that extolled the beauty of “Football America.” Well, it’s from a brilliant NFL Films production, that looked at football at every conceivable level. From preps, to the pros, to prison even!
Here are the opening, and closing chunks of the film. I highly recommend finding a copy to own for your collection, and to show your kids. It’s amazing.