Thursday, October 1, 2015

Grantland Article on Ending Youth Football

If you haven't read this article, and you should, you might not know about Evan Murray. Murray was the QB for Warren Hills Regional High School that died from a lacerated spleen on September 25 of this year.  While, I agree, any young person's death is truly tragic, to blame the game that he was playing, is no different that to blame the automobile that someone dies in.  What liberal, utopia-minded writers such as our dear friend Charles P. Pierce fail to realize, is that death is inevitable.  When, where and how, are completely out of our control.  Here's a sad image for you, if Murray had died after a four year battle with cancer, how many of us would know this young man?  Sure, there would be outpouring from his community, his family and friends, but would the national media even know?

That's how the media in this country works.  They have an agenda, and if they see something that will further their agenda, then they go for it.  What is ironic, is that the fatality rate for football is actually smaller than some other sports, but what most liberal-biased media outlets do is report on the volume instead of the percentage.  Why do they do this?  Well, if they did, they would realize just how full of crap they sound, but when you report to someone that there were 20 football related fatalities the past year, people begin to raise an eyebrow.  This statistic would be ever so alarming if there were say 200 players that played in the United States along.  Why, that would be ten percent of the players were dying!  Well, unfortunately, liberal media folk, such as Mr. Pierce, fail to realize that there were near l 1.1 million football players in the year 2014, in high school alone.  Let's do some real math (i.e. not liberal math) on this.  If we do our division correctly we come up with 20 deaths in one year, per 1,088,158 players (as reported by CNSNews) we come up with 0.002 percent of football players died in 2014.  Wow, let me check again.  Yep, those numbers work!  If you look at the following web page you will see that drivers, ages 16-19 are at a 12.6% fatality rate driving an automobile.  Yet...where is the bleeding heart articles pleading for our government to not allow children to drive?  You won't find it.  Why you ask?  Well, that liberal mom, that just wrote her scathing article about the damaging effects of injury to her son from football, wouldn't want to have to drive him around everywhere he wants to go.  That would be inconvenient.  Yet, she would be just as sad and heartbroken if he were to die while driving his car down the highway.  I wonder if she'd blame the government, or the car manufacturer?

See what people fail to realize, and this is hard when you get down to it, is that life, is not much different that that white ball on the Roulette Wheel.  We think we have full control of our lives, and in many aspects we do, but the fact of the matter is, there is a grave difference between the two.  Life is just  It's fragile and can be taken at a moments notice.  That is why, when I was coaching, I always tried to impart on my players to live.  You never know when your time will be up.  None of do.  We'd all like to think we're going to die of old age with our family around us, seeing us off into whatever afterlife there may be.  Nobody thinks of dropping back to pass a football as their last moments.  I will say this, I wonder, if you could ask Evan Murray, Evan, if you had a choice of dying playing football, or rotting away in a nursing home after having watched all your friends and family die off around you, which would you rather do?  I know, I got a bit graphical there, but you understand my point, to which Mr. Pierce, fails to realize.

See life is not infinite, nor is codified.  It is a series of rambling events that terminate in death.  Sure, many would argue that Murray didn't get to go to college, or get married, see his first son born.  Neither will Isiah Casillas, the young man that led the Nebraska Cornhusker's tunnel walk back in 2012.  He was six, and died from a brain tumor.  I bet what is even more remarkable is if you asked Isiah, how he would want to go out?  I bet it wouldn't be lying in a bed, riddled with cancer, as he watched his parents trying to console him.  No, I bet he'd say he wouldn't mind having his spleen severed in a football hit.  Hell, at least he'd be playing football.

Look, I know this post is grim and dark, but folks, that's death.  That's what we, as human society, have made death out to be.  The reality behind all this darkness, is football, can make the part of your life between birth and death that much better.  What it teaches young men, and how it molds them, is still far superior to any sport out there Mr. Pierce.  Some of the world's greatest leaders have been football players at some time in their lives.  Without games like football, men would be reduced to skinny jean wearing pansies who don't know what it means to be physical, determined, relentless, or disciplined.  But, like you said Mr. Pierce, we'd be alive.  Or would we?  Don't forget that statistic on automobile fatalities for young folks, that are the same age as our Mr. Murray.  I wonder if Murray had died in a automobile accident, if we'd even know his name...

I'm not belittling Murray or his family.  To lose a child, is the hardest thing a parent will ever have to endure.  I remember, every time I went out when I was a teenager, my dad would say "Be safe boy, and remember, you're not supposed to bury your kids".  I had a grandmother, who buried both of her children and her husband before she passed away, so yes, I've seen the face of a parent that has lost a child.  I've also coached football for close to 20 years with zero fatalities under my watch?  Am I good, or just lucky?  Whatever it may be, I'll keep playing those odds.  No Mr. Pierce, you're dead wrong on the sport of football.  While I agree that we are getting players involved that are too young (with some leagues starting as young as four years of age), we do not need to limit the sport to the age of 21.  Junior high and high school are times in a young man's life when he is at him most impressionable.  It is these times in which he needs football and the men who teach it.  It is in these times that our future leaders are made and molded on the gridirons of America.  See Mr. Pierce, football is a great tool for making men.  I'm not sure the same can be said of soccer, or basketball, or even baseball.  No, the struggles, the trials and tribulations in football are the closest resemblance to the struggles of real life that anyone can ever mimic.  The discipline needed to be a good football player, is exponentially greater than that of other sports.  The dedication alone in football is what separates many young men from playing the sport or not.  In this day-and-age of political correctness and mealy-mouthed politicians, our country needs the game of football more than it ever has.  To let one death, or even 20, disparage what football does for the populous as a whole, should be a crime.  No, Mr. Pierce, what the true tragedy is, lies in your words, and their biased tone.  Shame on you for attempting to end one of this nation's finest past times.  You should be ashamed of your self, especially if you are a former player.