Ending a Love Affair With Football

A funny thing happened to me during the first full weekend of football — or didn’t happen to me. I just didn’t care.

Sep 12, 2012 at 9:36 am

A funny thing happened to me during the first full weekend of football — or didn’t happen to me. I just didn’t care.

For the first time I can remember, the sight of a football game — be it a professional team or my alma mater — did very little inside me. I wanted to know the outcome and was still interested in the final score, but had things turned out differently, I’m not sure I would have felt any differently. It was just there, like the price of gas or morning traffic. If gas prices are down, I’m happy about it, but seeing them go up doesn’t surprise me or ruin my day. Hitting every red light may be slightly aggravating, but it doesn’t keep me from getting where I’m going.

I’ve written before here about my growing issues with football and the violence of the sport, as well as the long-term effects of concussions, an injury I suspect I suffered in my own short high school football career. This is the major problem I have with football and the fact that I’m, in a very, very small way, contributing to the blood sport. It also didn’t help that within five minutes of turning on ESPN on Saturday I saw the report on Tulane safety Devon Walker.

During Saturday’s Tulsa-Tulane game, Walker suffered a fractured spine while trying to make a tackle. The early reports noted he had to be given CPR on the field before being loaded into an ambulance. Walker underwent surgery the next day to stabilize his spine and it’s unknown whether he will be paralyzed as a result of the hit.

And for what? Our entertainment?

It should be noted that during this past week a baseball player, Oakland starting pitcher Brandon McCarthy, suffered a fractured skull when he was hit by a line drive. That’s something that I’m surprised doesn’t happen more, but seems to almost be a fluke. Maybe it’s my own bias toward baseball and my deeper love of that game that I’m not as worried about it as I am the likes of Walker. And maybe it’s because that injury was caused (directly) by an inanimate object, not another human being. I don’t know. But I still see McCarthy’s injury as a freak accident and Walker’s as fait accompli.

Because of what I do for money, I did still watch the UC-Pittsburgh game and the Bengals game in Baltimore. And I also watched the first and fourth quarters of my alma mater’s game against my favorite team from my childhood. I watched Facebook updates and the joy and pain others got from that game, but I felt very little.

I used to explain my love of baseball and college football as baseball being my wife — my true love, that’s there every day — and college football as a mistress — the occasional visitor that got the testosterone going and a visceral pleasure. My love affair with football might be over, and my weekends can now be filled with the love of my wife, daughter and baseball.

Thinking Out Loud

The Bearcats’ victory over Pittsburgh was less impressive following the Panthers’ loss to Youngstown State in their opener, but it was a convincing enough of a victory to not take anything away from UC. From a public relations (and recruiting) standpoint, it was a large victory. Nippert Stadium looked beautiful on national TV, Butch Jones’ team came out to a quick start, making it look like a more dominant win than it ended up being. The Bearcats have basically three weeks to get ready for their biggest game of the season, Sept. 29 against Virginia Tech at the Redskins’ FedEx Field. .... When Johnny Cueto notched his 16th win of the season on Aug. 18, it appeared he’d taken over the lead in the National League Cy Young race. Since then, though, he’s gone 1-2 with a 4.70 ERA and hasn’t gone eight innings or thrown a scoreless outing, culminating in just a four-inning outing against baseball’s worst team, the Astros, on Sept. 9. The danger here isn’t that Cueto might not win the Cy Young, it’s that when the Reds start their first-round playoff series, they won’t have that ace-like pitcher starting Game 1 that they thought they had. Cueto’s velocity is there, but his location is not. The only time the Reds have had to use a starter other than the five who started the season in the rotation was for a doubleheader. That’s good — traditionally, teams that use few starters have success in the regular season. But we’ll have to wait to see if it means they’re worn down come October. ... It’s beginning to look more and more like the Reds will face San Francisco in the first round of the playoffs. The team’s offense will need to rebound before facing the Giants’ strong rotation in order to move on to the NLCS.


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