FOOTBALL AND THE AMERICAN CHARACTER

Article in Imprimis, a Publication of Hillsdale College

John J. Miller wrote: “When we talk about football, we usually talk about our favorite teams and the games they play. the biggest ongoing story in the sport right now, however, is something else entirely. It’s not about the Bears vs. the Packers…but rather the controversy over concussions and the long-term health effect of head injuries.” He goes on to describe some injuries and how they are caused and the long term effects of head injuries which are not conclusive.
He says: “football of course, is much bigger than the NFL and its players…../Football’s ranks include about 50,000 men who play in college and four million boys who play for schools or in youth leagues, etc. Even Pres. Obama had to put in his opinion this year, when he called for football “to reduce some of the violence.”

He goes on to talk about the history of football, which is very interesting and you can read the entire article in the Hillsdale College site. A lot of it, I did not realize, especially how the game and the rules got revised and how much safer it is today.

He talks about how: The Progressives who, like today, want to regulate bent on a dream of a world without risk, and those who resisted such an agenda in the name of freedom and responsibility. the Progressives wanted to regulate football out of existence because they believed that its participants were not capable of making their own judgments in terms of costs and benefits. In their higher wisdom, these elites would ban the sport for all.”
“Into this struggle stepped Theodore Roosevelt” He had chronic asthma and his parents tried everything, finally deciding he would simply have to overcome the disease. They encouraged him to go to a gym, and he worked out daily………by the time he was an adult it was largely gone. This experience was deeply connected to Roosevelt’s love of football. He remained a fan as he graduated from Harvard,……and became an increasing visible figure. He wrote: ….but we are tending steadily in America to produce.. sedentary classes.. and from this the athletic spirit has saved us. Of all games I personally like foot ball the best, and I would rather see my boys play it than see them play any other. I have no patience with the people who declaim against it because it necessitates rough play and occasional injuries. the rough play, if confined within manly and honorable limits, is an advantage. It is a good thing to have the personal contact …..” Roosevelt went on to say “I do not give a snap for a good man who can’t fight and hold his own in the world. ” He went on to say that he saw football as more than a diversion. He saw it as a positive social good. When he was recruiting the Rough Riders in 1898, he went out of his way to select men who had played football.

Basically the whole article was to point our that:
“Americans are a self-governing people. We can make our own judgments about whether to drive or play football….although sports can be dangerous, they’re also good for us. They not only make us distinctively American, they make us better Americans.

Check it out at: http://www.hillsdale.edu

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