Friday, March 13, 2009

Warning: Dark Post. Read at your own Risk!

I know where the poets stand on this one. I’ve seen the movies and listened to the folk ballads. I am well aware of the common notion that it is better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all. I am not so sure I agree.

I have a bad feeling about my mistress, also known as the NFL, and I’ve been thinking I should extricate myself from this love affair on my own terms, at my own pace, before I end up with my heart ripped out on a random Sunday in autumn. How could that happen you ask? Well read on and I shall tell you.

I could be watching a game on a sunny October afternoon when, on a routine play, an inopportune collision between a linebacker and a wide receiver could result in a severed spinal cord and a dead player crumpled on the field. I can imagine the pall and the sickness that would seep through my veins. I would say to myself “this was inevitable” and ask myself “why have we all embraced such violence in the name of sport?”

As players get bigger and faster and as explosive hits are increasingly celebrated, who among us can doubt the rising probability of a player dying of injury on the field? Given the number of NFL and college players and the number of games they play each year, it is truly surprising that no one has yet died from injury. The forces they generate and the collisions they perpetrate are nothing short of scary.

While this would be grievous for society at large, I suspect a deeper nausea would take hold of us fans who are so emotionally invested in the sport. It would be especially sickening for us, the constituent commercial force that has driven the escalating wave of danger to its current amplitude. I can imagine being among the shocked and dazed, unable to escape the sense that I was in some small but direct way, responsible for this senseless loss.

I love football but I think it is eventually going to end badly. The way I see it, I can wean myself from this addiction on my own terms, or I can pay the price when the inevitable comes to bear. Perhaps, despite the conviction of the bards, it is better to have loved for a time and then taken cover with a joyous heart, partially empty but fully intact.

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