I love football. A lot. I’ve played football in various forms my whole life. This game is a part of who I am. Growing up with my dad in southern California, it was all about the L.A. Rams. Then in college it was my beloved Texas Longhorns. Since moving to Houston, I’ve started pulling for the Houston Texans.
Football is a great game. It requires extraordinary physical fitness, mental acuity, strategy, deceit, and trickery. But most of all, in its current institutionalized form, football requires violence. And as a Christian I believe that violence, in all its forms, erodes the Kingdom of God.
So that’s why I am turning away from football.
Football is not a contact sport; it’s a collision sport. Men of incredible physical prowess bash into one another in frightful attempts to tackle or block. Lately, this has become too much for me. The head injuries, the concussions, and the sheer ferocity of the college and professional game has started to sicken me.
And it’s working its way down to the lower levels. This year alone I know of three boys who have experienced concussions while playing football at the middle school or junior varsity level. I’m not pointing any fingers, I’m not laying blame on any parents. I’m just thinking back to my experience playing football and “getting my bell rung.” We didn’t call it such, but my hunch is that I suffered a concussion or two. It was awful.
So this last weekend I didn’t watch any football. I didn’t listen to my beloved Longhorns on the radio. I checked ESPN.com once, but avoided these modern-day gladiatorial contests as much as possible. Needless to say, my wife loved it. It gave me more time to read and think and pray.
Do I miss football? Yeah. But is promoting the destruction of these mens’ bodies and brains worth it? I’m not sure…