The Winter Olympics are about to start and NFL football is about to end. I have to admit that I’m not terribly interested in luge. In fact, this is always a season of regret for me, my favorite sport is NFL Football. I have a special way of watching it. I like to watch it with the sound muted. That way, I can read a book in my lap but not miss any great plays.
UPDATE: I am using this technique more and more. I used it while watching the Olympics and the Westminster Dog Show at the same time, jumping between channels. When Whitley asked who won the gold, I blurted out, ‘why, the Wire-Haired Terrier, of course.’ He’s not up on sports, so he just said ‘oh.’ Luge was on the Olympics at the time. Who did win the gold? Could’ve been the Water Spaniel…
I find it amusing to watch the ads without sound because they’re so clearly aimed at cliché visions of men: trucks, fast cars and fast food, especially pizza and hamburgers that look literally deadly. If a father watches these games with his son, the boy will become indoctrinated into maleness or what passes for maleness in our society.
And yet football isn’t just for men and boys. I really love it. One of the more troubling aspects of football is the concussions that plague the sport, and not only in the NFL. It’s a football epidemic so dreadful that it has led a number of NFL players to suicide.
It’s called CTE, for chronic traumatic encephalophy. My heart goes out to these players and I identify with them deeply because, of course, I have an injured brain. My own problems are in some way similar to what CTE sufferers experience, with the difference that the memory loss and general deterioration aren’t, in my case, progressive.
Speaking of my case, I’ve discovered some interesting things about my situation. My injuries, tumor and surgery have all be on the left, which is the logical side of the brain. This has freed the right side of my brain, the creative part, to take over, with the result that I’ve never been more creative in my life.
But that’s me. The NFL players with brain injuries aren’t so lucky, and it’s no wonder that some of them despaired. They were looking forward to being reduced to vegetables before they were sixty, or in some cases, before they were fifty.
But guilt doesn’t stop me from enjoying a great forward pass or a breathtaking run. It’s a beautiful sport and I love it, but it is also terrible and I wonder if it should even be played. Or should we switch to touch football? Would that still be fun? I have my doubts.
Incredibly, the National Football League has taken the path of claiming that CTE isn’t a problem in the game. This saddens me, because it suggests that they have no idea how to solve it. Otherwise, why not face it.
We need helmets that actually protect the players, and better rules, that take their safety more into account. Then I can REALLY enjoy the game!