The world of sports has had its peculiarities over the years: its own language and idioms, its funny characters, its shady people, its great stories and its dark side.
I thought I had — relatively speaking — seen it all in my ... 48 years.
As my “friend” Lee Corso loves to observe when on College Game Day, “not so fast, my friend.”
This one is all over the Internet and it stinks.
It seems that the Broward County Sheriff’s Office — spurred on by information supplied by ESPN — has been investigating a gambling ring regarding youth tackle football games.
It seems that parents and even coaches were gambling on these games.
These weren’t “hey, I’ll bet a Pepsi (or a dinner) that my kid’s team beats yours” wagers but the figure of $100,000 on one championship game was mentioned in the report.
Nine “adults” have been arrested after an 18-month investigation.
What in the name of (pick your public figure) is going on here?
This takes the cake — until something else even stupider comes along.
And we wonder why sports has become TOO big for its britches when this stuff is going on.
And our kids are under more and more stress to do whatever it takes to succeed!
This story is along the same vein — not gambling — about football, or, in the wishes of a retired New Hampshire doctor, the hoped-for lack of it soon.
It seems that Dr. Paul Butler, a member of the Dover School Board, is asking for the end of high school football due to the participants being too young.
He cites what he deems mounting evidence that this is TOO dangerous of a game for children: high school on down to pee-wee levels.
I believe I wrote about this a few months ago, about what I figured was going to happen with all the concern about head and neck injuries; a move to get rid of football.
This is the place to start. If you don’t have kids playing the game, soon colleges won’t have anyone to recruit — or else they are going to have a much less advanced game because they will have to start from scratch when they bring in freshmen — and so on up the ladder to professional football.
I don’t deny there are legit concerns about concussions and so forth but kids want to play the game and coaches are now more than ever — I hope they always were — committed to teaching more proper techniques.
You can make arguments that ANY sport is dangerous — pitchers getting killed on batted balls right back at them comes to mind, or concussions from heading soccer balls.
Or players getting hit with golf balls.
Heck, even injuries to cross country runners are not uncommon, though they may not be concussions. There are some reports I have read — it’s been a few years, though — that runners face their own set of concerns.
There is “mounting evidence” of these issues as well.
Should we ban ALL of sports because of these risks and turn these kids into couch potatoes? Oh, I forgot; that is another issue we could get into with the growing obesity problem America is facing.
I don’t want to see that and I don’t believe Dr. Butler would, either. Seriously, I would like to know what he thinks we should replace football with that he finds an acceptable risk. No joke.
Listen, we cannot take risk entirely out of life, try as we might.
It seems that even with all the concerns about injuries on the football field, more and more youth are playing.
When you read about even the ex-players suing the NFL, claiming The League lied to them about concussions, saying they would still play the game — and those still doing so despite the ravages to their bodies: Brian Urlacher of Da Bears is playing with an arthritic back, as an example — one has to wonder.
The NFL is leading the way in helping make the game safer — as much as possible — and even someone like notorious Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison is realizing he needs to be proactive about protecting himself.
After suffering a number of concussions — or concussion-like symptoms from hits — he began using a special layer of padding inside his helmet last fall, the CRT padding developed by Unequal Technologies. By the way, it was designed for the US military.
We shall see what happens, won’t we?