I’ve tried to refrain from letting anger fuel my writing too much. I’m done with that. You want to know why? Because I’m fed up with the insane things that I read about on the web or hear people discussing. The world is a cold, hard place. There seems to be a push lately to over regulate everything and “make it safer”. Frankly, I think society needs to find their balls and shut up.
Recently there has been discussion about football being too dangerous. President Obama recently stated “those of us who love the sport are going to have to wrestle with the fact that it will probably change gradually to try to reduce some of the violence.” He also said he’d have to think about it long and hard if he had a son that wanted to play the game. Baltimore Ravens safety Bernard Pollard said:
“Thirty years from now, I don’t think it will be in existence. I could be wrong. It’s just my opinion, but I think with the direction things are going — where they [NFL rules makers] want to lighten up, and they’re throwing flags and everything else — there’s going to come a point where fans are going to get fed up with it. Guys are getting fined, and they’re talking about, ‘Let’s take away the strike zone’ and ‘Take the pads off’ or ‘Take the helmets off.’ It’s going to be a thing where fans aren’t going to want to watch it anymore.”
I’m going to have to agree with him. The thing that I think everyone is forgetting is that these players CHOOSE to play football and they are well aware of the risks. They get paid millions of dollars to play what some are calling “a collision sport”. If you start over-regulating it to make it “safer” then it will lose popularity and eventually cease to exist. It’s no secret that playing football can cause serious injuries. That hasn’t stopped a lot of guys from playing it anyway. Junior Seau knew that years of playing football could result in concussions and possibly brain damage. He chose to play anyway. Tragically, he decided to commit suicide and now his family wants to sue the NFL because they claim the brain damage he suffered during his 20 year career led to his death. Well, Junior knew this might happen so, while I won’t deny that it is sad, it is a result of his own decisions. He had to weigh making millions to play a sport he loved over possibly being seriously injured. He chose to play. Leave it alone. It isn’t the NFL’s fault that he chose to play, stayed in the league that long, hit other players as hard as he did, and in the end killed himself. That all falls on Junior’s shoulders.
Why is football being singled out here? Boxers get brain damage from taking so many punches to the face. Are we going to start requiring that they wear helmets? MMA is the toughest sport on earth. Are we going to ban it because it is so violent? Every athlete that chooses to participate in these sports knows the risks. For me, that makes it ok for them to get injured. Think about how this applies outside of just sports. Oil field workers can be crushed, burned, and even killed. Radio tower technicians can fall hundreds of feet to their death. These folks are aware of these dangers before they agree to take these jobs. No one is talking about these other sports or professions and some are significantly more dangerous than football. Obama opened his big, fat mouth about football being dangerous and now the sheeple in our country have diarrhea of the mouth about it. If he would have made the same statement about the UFC no one would even be talking about football right now. This pisses me off to no end. Not only is the idea of making football a safer sport ridiculous, but the only reason folks give a shit about it right now is because a person they chose to look up to made a statement about it and the evil news media in this country ran with it. Football is not football if it isn’t a dangerous sport. The people that play these sports or take these jobs weigh the benefits from the risks and choose to proceed anyway. We can’t all be outraged when someone takes one of these risks and something bad happens as a result.
I think a lot of this insanity comes down to the fact that there is no accountability for anything in this country anymore. If a football player gets hurt, let’s blame the sport for being too rough. If someone burns them-self on a hot cup of coffee, let’s blame the place that served them the coffee. Everything in life has risks attached to it. Even something as basic as eating presents the risk of choking. We are all aware of these risks, yet we like to blame others when something doesn’t go our way. We no longer take accountability for our actions and that is one of the biggest problems in our society right now.
Let’s think about the politically correct nature of society as well. A Taco Bell commercial was banned from the Super Bowl because it showed someone bringing a vegetable tray to a Super Bowl party and said “Veggies on game day is like punting on fourth and one. It’s a cop-out, and secretly people kinda hate you for it.” The commercial is trying to say that vegetable trays aren’t good game day snacks and Taco Bell tacos make a much better selection. The statement is kinda humorous and most people will be able to identify with it and get a kick out of it. Well, vegetarians were offended! Never mind the fact that they are a minority by choice and the commercial was not attacking them in any way. Better ban that commercial because it offends some over-sensitive vegetarians! How about the Volkswagon commercial that was banned for being racist? It showed a white guy with a laid back attitude speaking in a Jamaican accent at work. At the end he takes some co-workers for a ride in his new Volkswagon and they start speaking in a Jamaican accent as well. The commercial is trying to say that driving a Volkswagon brings some sort of happiness to you. Ok, I can follow that. It is kinda funny. Well, evidently it is racist for a white guy to have a Jamaican accent. They aren’t saying anything derogatory about the Jamaican people and there are even some white people that are born and raised in Jamaica that might have that accent. Still, that commercial was banned for being racist.
Another example of this type of thing exists in our public schools now. There is a zero tolerance policy for fighting which I support in some ways. It has been taken so far that now kids can be expelled even if they are just defending themselves. Rewind 15-20 years ago when I was in school. I got into a couple of fights and I never started any of them. Hell, one of the fights I was in started with a kid walking up to me and punching me in the nose. We didn’t like each other, but there were no words or events leading up to this. He just decided that he wanted to fight. Did I stand there and take it? Hell no! I fought back. A janitor took us to the principal’s office. After speaking with both of us and the janitor, the principal was able to determine that the other kid started the fight. He was suspended for 3 days and I got detention for 3 days. The principal later told me that he had to give me some sort of punishment so the other kid’s parents wouldn’t throw too much of a fit. That made sense to me. If I didn’t fight back, I could have been seriously injured. There was no walking away from that fight, I was simply attacked. In today’s society I would have possibly been expelled for defending myself. I believe we need to teach our kids how to defend themselves and how to deal with these uncomfortable situations. According to the schools and the parents we should tell our kids to run away even though that isn’t always a possibility. What are we teaching them? We are so concerned that they might get hurt that we’ve gone to ridiculous lengths to try and prevent it resulting in the creation an environment where they aren’t even allowed to justly defend themselves.
Let’s go back to sports, but this time think about little league baseball and children’s soccer leagues. Now they don’t keep score in a lot of those leagues because they don’t want to hurt the kids’ self esteem. What are we teaching them? I tell you what we aren’t doing and that is teaching them how to be a good winner or loser. There’s that old saying “You win some and you lose some”, but I guess we don’t want kids to figure that out until they are adults now. We’re just sugar-coating it for them. They aren’t trying their hardest to win and they don’t have to deal with losing. We might as well start teaching them how to apply for welfare, unemployment, food stamps, and medicaid in high school now. Forget teaching them how to be hard workers and how to survive in a competitive workforce. Let’s coat the world with rubber so it doesn’t hurt when they fall.
There are risks in life that we choose to take. Sometimes they will backfire on us and sometimes they won’t. We need to accept responsibility for our decisions when things don’t go as planned or bad things happen. Society is trying to make everything easier, softer, safer, or whatever and that isn’t the reality of living in this world. What we definitely don’t need are a bunch of committees or government organizations trying to meddle in every aspect of our lives to make things safer and easier. We know when we are taking a chance. If we get burned then hopefully we can learn a lesson and move on instead of screaming for laws or rules to be changed because something isn’t “safe”. I don’t want to live in a world where everything is dumbed down and has a rubber coating so we can’t get hurt.