The Myth Of Football

Football is the only sport or activity that some life lessons can be learned

cartoon_football-956That is a bullshit mantra said over and over by a lot of NFL players and coaches. It is also said by some parents who are justifying allowing their kids to play the game. Before I go further, I should say I like football. I enjoy watching the brutality of it. But I hardly think that some life lessons can only be learned via playing football.

If that were the case, then over 50% of the population is missing out. Not to mention all those boys in other countries who don’t play American football. I think this whole football teaches lessons that nothing else can teach began when there started to be an awareness that playing football is bad for you. In particular, it causes brain damage.

Sadly, the mantra is often repeated in the media. Mostly by “head buried in the sand” former players, coaches and others who want to ensure the multi-billion dollar gravy train that is the NFL continues as it is. There has been a lot more focus on the damage that playing the game causes. In particular when all the former players sued the NFL because they alleged that the NFL withheld information from the players regarding the damage.

No one was saying that the game won’t cause damage, but that the NFL actually went about hiding the information about how serious things were. Anyone watching the game knows it is violent and will hurt a person. But keeping the information as to how damaging it is, is not right. Especially if there is actually information there to this effect.

In any event, it really is annoying to hear people say that football is the only way to learn teamwork, to be there for others, to support them, etc. because these are things you need to do as a football player to win a game. If you don’t do your part, your team will lose.

But, you can learn those lessons in so many other things. Perhaps you play a different team sport. You still have to do what your position calls for to help your team win. Or maybe you are in a band, orchestra or choir. If you don’t play your part correctly when you are supposed to, guess what happens? The song you’re all trying to perform will sound terrible.

Or maybe you are putting on a play or a dance production. If you’re dancing and you don’t do your part in concert with others, you might trip someone else and then everyone falls down because you didn’t do your part.

Really though, I think those who perpetuate the bullshit about what football teaches are just doing it as a justification for why they allow their young boys to play the game. And letting them play is fine as long as you’re aware of the potential for brain damage and the pending consequences of that later in life.

Football is a violent game. And the violence is what makes it a fun game to watch. But to use the “life lessons learned only in football” as a justification is disingenuous at best. I understand that this is an easier justification than to tell the truth about how the game is violent and could hurt a person. But it would be so nice if people started to do that rather than justify a choice they make by insulting so many others who have no desire to play a game that is so damaging to a person’s body it is as if you have been in a car wreck.

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