Sunday, May 06, 2012

For Better or Worse--Football's Concussive Reality

I am one of the growing number of female football fans. Why do I love it? I love it because I see men doing things my body never could do even when I was 20! I love the bodily contortions, I love the long forward pass, I love the surprise break-aways; moves one did not expect and cannot believe.

Man has always loved sport (Romans throwing others to the lions comes to mind) and most especially we love a bruising sport like football where one sits in the safety of the room, behind the TV or in a seat at the stadium while others take the bashing and we safely watch it.

Someone -- maybe some lefty of the 60's -- said "The personal is political" so excuse me if I wax so. We are a country made up of policy which ROUTINELY goes to war -- read Rachel Maddow's book "Drift" and you will get MY drift. We have gone to war in ALL venues nearly at ALL times in our history. Man has always gone to war, I know, but it is different now. Not only can we watch from our living room but the perpetrators of war can conduct it with drones in depersonalized safety close to home 6000 miles away from the front. We love war most especially when we are so removed from it. 

War is on the evening news or even on a TV set-up at work shown as entertainment for those who do not have to physically suffer its consequences. War is nasty and brutal. We sit in the comfort of our living room while newscasters describe the shock, awe and mayhem of battle. It looks like the 4th of July BUT it's not. The camera rarely goes behind the scenes to show just who the bombs hit, the family's limbs exploding or its many dead. Rarely are we shown wars' aftermath or if we are we often do not look. It is the way of war doncha know. War is hell; as if we could not have figured that out.

Football IS a type of war. We watch, cheer and feel good in the safety of our home, seats in a barroom or at the game. We gorge on food and drink and merriment while our fellow man has his body crushed, his brain compressed, his bones ruined and sometimes the grim reaper pays a visit. It is the way of the world. War and often sport, especially football, are brutal. 

I am not exactly sure how after thousands of years of evolution we can change man's hard wired drive but we ought to try. We watch war and sport on the HDTV screen while we swig the next beer or swallow the next piece of pizza. It's in our DNA and it's the way we have been for millennia for better and, I believe, mostly for worse!