A friend of mine about a week ago wrote a well-thought-out blog about why he isn’t watching the Superbowl this year. I read it, and as a passionate football lover, it really made examine if I should continue to spend 2-3 hours every other weekend watching a game. Here’s some of my conclusions, and my answers to his blog (read it for yourself here- it’s a great read!)
I thought that Josh made really great points about the over-sexualization of women in the NFL (although I believe you could make a case that the beer industry is more responsible for this than the NFL itself). I also can’t argue with him much about the over-consumption of food during games, although you might make the same point about any event that brings together groups of hungry people (church potlucks come to mind).
I did take issue with his first assertion: football is a violent sport.
I can’t argue that football isn’t dangerous. It is. It’s very physically demanding, requires tremendous physical conditioning, and puts great stress on joints, muscles, and when played poorly, can cause brain damage.
So can every other sport on earth.
In 2012, 19,000 cyclists were either killed or severely injured while biking (including me). In 2010, there were more than 414,000 people injured in the United States playing baseball, a relatively nonviolent sport compared to football. 111,000 were injured or killed while skateboarding last year. 6,359 people got hurt while rock climbing, with most of those being deaths. Over 63% of all tennis players sustain moderate to severe injuries every year, and continue to play despite the pain. A person in Australia died last year from riding a pogo stick.
The point I’m trying to make is that life is dangerous, and most things that are physically exerting bring with it the potential for injury.
If we begin to evaluate activities based completely on how dangerous they may or may not be, what’s to keep us from evaluating the rest of our life in the same manner? Should I not watch the theater, because of all the injuries sustained while dancing? (almost 400,000 people were injured last year alone during plays and dance recitals).
How about not supporting companies that have employees perform potentially dangerous activities? How about the body of the indie coffee shop owner that falls apart? Is that worth that cup of coffee in your hand? Are you partially responsible because she’s going to need knee replacement surgery from standing on concrete for years, pursuing her dream?
If we choose to define all of our choices of what to do, watch, wear, and occupy our lives by the physical toll that it exacts on our bodies, then we’ve misunderstood the reason for the body that we possess: to feel the exhilaration of a challenge, to facilitate our dreams, and to create something beautiful. Sometimes that means we’re going to have to take a chance that we will get hurt. And that’s okay, because what’s an adventure without a bit of risk. To quote Gandalf from Lord Of The Rings, “You will have to do without pocket handkerchiefs, and a great many other things, before we reach our journey's end, Bilbo Baggins.” And that might just include a rib here and there.
And that’s why I’m watching the Super Bowl this year.