How Football Will Die: From the Bottom Up
There has been a spate of stories lately on equipment to cut down head injuries among high school football players. I have a better solution: Drop the sport entirely.
High school football has become a monster, assuming an importance that is totally out of proportion. The coach for one school in the Contra Costa region told parents not to schedule summer activities because their boys would be in practice all summer. Really?
Beyond that, the sport has become much more dangerous because of the equipment, modeled on what colleges and pros use, that causes injury in itself. Itís become all too common to read of high school players suffering serious injuries and even being killed. Itís extremely rare that you hear of that with other sports.
Thereís another problem with high school football: Fathers. I suspect the primary reason most boys play high school football is that their fathers want them to. Not this father. When my son was very young, I said I would never permit him to play football, because I wanted him to be healthy for the rest of his life.
Now, weíre seeing fathers go to unusual lengths to give their sons the best shot at a football career beyond high school. There was a story in The Chronicle this week about a father who rented a house in the McClymonds school district so that his son could play quarterback for McClymonds. He did, quite well, in fact, until an investigation showed that the family was still living in Danville.
A much more famous father, Joe Montana, actually moved to southern California to give one of his sons a better chance to get a college scholarship. Both of his sons got scholarships but neither one approached their fatherís ability.
Iím not writing this because I dislike football. Just the opposite. Though my original interest was primarily baseball, I have enjoyed watching and writing about football because of the strategic element. But, Iíve also been isolated from the real violence, sitting in the press box.
What do YOU think? Let me know!
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