Read the article and reflect upon the differences in our culture between the time when baseball was the national past-time, and now when that has been usurped by football. Of course there hasn't been a grand sea change in a cultural shift, but the transition from one interest to another is indicative of a greater social ill — victory at all cost.
Doesn't it seem very Roman Empire-ish? Of course it is. Clash of the Titans. The stronger team physically and mentally vanquishes the other. Forget that a simple concussion can have potentially life altering consequences. Let's see how long and illustrious Ben Rothlesberger's career is after his brilliant motorcycle crash without a helment.
At what time did our culture cast aside making decisions in a manner that takes into account the effect on future generations? We borrow, borrow, borrow. We spend, spend, spend. We out-do. That's what America is great at — out-doing people, and countries, and civilizations.
We out-did the indiginous people of North America with guns, and disease. We out-did the Soviet Union — forcing them to spend so much on their defense budgets that they imploded. And now we're about to out-do ourselves.
Consume, consume, consume. We're a consuming society. That's what we do.
Well how about we put some brakes on that consumption in some attempt to save our selves? Maybe even boycott watching the Super Bowl? It's a little easier for me to propose such a thing now the the Patriots are out of it.
So how, exactly has football caused global warming? Well…it's more that football is the ultimate reflection of our cultural pathos. In the SF Chronicle article referenced above the between the lines story is how the NFL Player's Union adeptly side-steps the issues of long-term physcial damage professional football players must endure. And then there are the myriad of college and high-school players who played their hearts out at the encouragement of their parents and coaches, with aspirations of going to the NFL or at least winning some divisional or regional championship. We all know at least one person who was on such a team who is now hobbled by injuries he suffered playing high school or college ball.
At what point does someone with authority step in and call for balance? After how many ex-pro players die from not only physical ailments, but the psychological trauma brought on by their maladies? http://newszine.jou.ufl.edu/index.php?id=694
The great thing about anyone on the other side of this query is that none of the sufferers of football-related injuries partook of the sport under duress. They willingly subjected themselves to this barbaric sport.
But at what age did they find the "love" of this sport? Who were they trying to emulate? What were the circumstances of their entrance into this sport? And what kind of guidance were they given when their interest became more than simply childhood curiosity?
There's a reason you have to be 16 to drive a car, and 18 to vote. A child can not adequately determine what's best for their long-term survival. So who is guiding these kids to make sure that victory at all cost deos not translate into their having a shorter life span?
Maybe it's time for those of us who are parents, and those who simply care about the longevity of our culture, to stand up and start making some restrictive decisions. The ACLU be damned. We are a society, not simply a collective of individuals. That is the inherent conflict in our culture born from the 60s. It is impossible to have a societal mass that makes decions protecting its future survivability while maintaining the ultimate autonomy and authority of the individuals. That's why we have laws.
Sure it's a VERY difficuly line to balance between authoritarian rule and democracy, but our democracy has been usrped by a culture of consumerism, hell bent on consuming ourselves into oblivion.
Taking back this society, and making decisions with a longer term strategy in mind will hurt more than our immediate civil liberties – our economy is so dependent on our growing consumption that curbing it will surely cause a depression — but maybe then we'll all get to feel the effect of making victory at all cost decisions while ignoring the consequences of those choices.