Every year I anticipate the start of the college football season. I love the thousands of individual and team storylines, the first signal that fall with colorful leaves and crisp days are close, and the competition, sacrifice, and ability that embodies sports in general. When the first kickoff begins sports aficionados have suffered through the doldrums of summer in which baseball, nascar, and golf have dominated the headlines. Cheering on cherished teams has been a tradition amongst my family and friends my entire life.
This year is the first year that my anticipation comes with twinge and a fluttering of guilt. I still admire the motivation of coaches, how teams can rally around a common cause, how individuals blossoming athletic ability is on display. However I see how the entertainment of millions of American fans requires a cost of thousands of still developing brains placed directly in harms way. The particular evil I speak of is the ever-growing evidence of concussions in football.
As 300 lbs thirty somethings suit up on Sundays for a million dollar paycheck, thousands of tiny bodies and susceptible minds are doing the same on elementary school playgrounds as young as age 6. Certainly the autopsy and biometric proven effects of professional football players’ brains is a popular talking point. Each of those players have a history of 20-30 years of repetitive head injury that led to their end diagnosis.
The end game however starts with children with professional aspirations being told to run faster and hit harder.
Has professional sports become so commonplace alongside reality TV that it doesn’t matter how it affects people physically, emotionally, or psychologically. In an age with 24 hour entertainment are all cost worth our price of entertainment. Are even those who say, “I would never let my children play football” (box, lacrosse, ect) still watching other people’s 18 year old children run head first full speed into each other.
Two thousand years ago the Roman Colosseum was made to accommodate 50-80,000 people to watch men battle each other to the death. Nearly a hundred years ago a structure was build to hold 100,000 people for the 1932 in Los Angeles. Today one of the nations popular football teams regularly fills 93,000 plus seats to watch college football games in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. An objective view might say the major difference is the spelling.