Wednesday, September 26, 2012


Is there any foreseeable end to the politically correct rubbish that has permeated our society?
The latest is a local report that stopping or advancing a soccer ball can be deleterious to the health of our children. Wow, no wonder so many of these soccer kids are such a mess when they reach their teenage years. Perhaps we can trace road rage to this phenomenon.
Get this, politically correct idealists! If you look at anything close enough, you’ll find something ugly about it. Even the supple skin of a beautiful woman looks rough and scaly if you scan it under a microscope.
Before addressing the possibility of spawning a society of teenagers and young adults with fatal forehead contusions, let us understand how sports became such a vibrant part of American culture.
In the decades following the American Revolution, our nation was an agrarian-based society. As soon as youngsters could walk and think, they were engaged to help their families plant and harvest the crops and tend the farm animals.
The kids got plenty of exercise, although breathing in the fumes from horse manure may well have caused traumatic brain disorders.  Reading and witnessing politically correct horse manure surely does, but back to our history lesson.
With the advent of the Industrial Revolution in the 1800s, more and more Americans left the farm for 9-to-5 positions as bankers, manufacturing managers, lawyers, etc. They found that after a day’s work, they had leisure time.
Baseball, or some version of it, was being documented as part of life in New Britain midway through the 19th century. As Americans recognized the merits of enjoying the great outdoors and the health benefits of physical activity, other popular sports evolved in the century’s latter stages.
What are sports but a microcosm of war. Man’s violent nature and unquenchable thirst for excitement ignited many a bloody conflict since his very arrival on the planet. Sports provided an outlet so men could exercise their masculinity without killing each other.
Think for a minute how sports have evolved? Baseball rapidly became our national pastime. Pastime translates as an amusement or hobby. If you still think it’s a pastime, you haven’t been following the coverage it gets on all the incessant talk shows that have turned it into a soap opera.
The other part of that evolution is the games themselves.
In the NFL, they have all but done away with the kickoff return. Quarterbacks are placed in glass cubicles so when 300-pound men are hurtling toward them at maximum speed, they are expected to stop or be penalized.
Friends, football is a violent sport. If you venture to strap on the helmet and affix the pads, you are acknowledging the concept that you may get hurt. If you don’t want to get hurt, nobody is forcing you to play. If $3 million a year isn’t enough to convince you to play, become a data analyst and play golf on your day off.
What if bullfighting had been an American tradition? What about buzkashi, the national sport of Afghanistan where participants attempt to advance a headless goat carcass.
Yes, football is violent, and soccer can be, too. I’ve covered hundreds of games and witnessed myriad injuries.
Hundreds of incidents leading to injury could arise during games. How many soccer players have sustained a knee to the lower midsection where the family jewels are stored? A player could step in a hole and break a leg. Heading a soccer ball could cause a brain injury. So could a meteorite falling from the sky.
And is this so vital that it needs to become front-page news? Between that, and media outlets eviscerating the political candidates of their choice for making the simple mistakes inherent to being human instead of highlighting their differences so voters can make educated choices, I’m beginning to recognize the value of cultural isolation.
For so many years, I referenced the quote by former Chief Justice Earl Warren in support of my calling as a sports reporter.
“I always turn to the sports pages first, which records people's accomplishments,” he said. “The front page has nothing but man’s failures.”
After reading some of the trash in today’s papers and the sensational revelations about athletes in the new media that have nothing to do with the games, I use another famous sports quote uttered by a mere child on the steps of a Chicago court house nearly 100 years ago.
“Say it ain’t so.”

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