Flutterby™! : Football

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2009-10-05 18:07:54.430391+00 by Dan Lyke 9 comments

Last weekend we went to our Family Connection kids' football games, and yesterday I ended up volunteering for "MPR" duty. This is where they send you off to the other team's side with a roster and you're supposed to keep track of which kids are in for each play, because there's a rule about every kid has to get some minimum number of plays per game.

About the end of the third quarter every kid had had his play, and their MPR spotter (who was there to help me) and I had exhausted our basic conversation, so I wandered back around and made a FaceTwit entry that read:

Now painfully aware of how American Football is an expression of everything I think is wrong with the human condition. There for the kids...

Here's why:

  • The team runs out between two lines of cheering chearleaders, making it clear that a woman's role in this sport is simply to stand on the sidelines and look pretty while urging the men on.
  • Weight matters more than conditioning. At least at this level, but I'd much rather see these kids playing soccer or something that requires them to be able to run consistently and get some cardio strength.
  • The focus is as much on physical violence as it is on the ball handling. "Flatten him" is a far more compelling rallying cry than "move the ball forward".

Now some of this is biased by the particulars of the teams. In taking kids to practice I've overheard more discussions of parole and sentencing and prison terms in a few hours of hanging out in bleachers than, frankly, the rest of my life. Hanging out with the opposite side yesterday was a good counter to that, those parents said "yeah, not my scene, but the kids want to play". On the other hand, yesterday's opposite side also got stomped in a blowout.

Oh well. Our Family Connection mom agrees with my assessment of football, my assurance to her has been that we'll expose the kids to as much of what the world has to offer that we can, hopefully when they hit adolescence football culture will be what they rebel against.

[ related topics: Children and growing up Games Sociology California Culture Sports Currency ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2009-10-05 21:30:47.647561+00 by: petronius

Watching my nieces and nephews, soccer is remarkably popular in the US right now. You are right that it does support conditioning much more than pure bulk, and a game that does not have crippling the opposition as a goal is good. However, there is still the factor that soccer in the US is something you play, not watch. But maybe that is changing. In Chicago Toyota Park holds 20,000 people, and apparently is doing pretty well. If they could only do something about the fact that nobody ever scores......

#Comment Re: made: 2009-10-06 00:34:45.4792+00 by: markd

I always tweak my football-fan friends by referring to it as institutionalized homoeroticsim. (I wouldn't surprised if I picked up that phrase here)

#Comment Re: made: 2009-10-06 17:17:33.415832+00 by: TC

It's a sport that satisfies entertainment at an ID level: Feminist , men in tight uniforms preform feats of athletic prowess Dudes, Blood sport outlet for the carnal need for violence

counter point#1 men cheer & girls play nowadays Dan

counter point#2 It's a lesson in physics mostly F=MA and while Mass is important it can work against you. Acceleration usually is the game changer. it's certainly a different type of physical training than soccer but variety used to be a good thing.

counter point#3 Yup. Violence. It's an outlet for that kinda energy and maybe thats an imperfection in a lot of us but but having a way to channel that constructively is a good thing for society as a whole. Yes like Churches, football has it's place in our society.

Sorry your experience was so bad on the football field but people tend to suck in general.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-10-06 20:35:22.501782+00 by: Dan Lyke

TC, re #1: yeah, in fact our previous President was a cheerleader, but this is a sport that isn't nearly as egalitarian as, say, soccer.

And it's also probably a pretty good bet that a lot of my issue is with this particular instance and manifestation of football, as I noted the folks in the stands are... uh... not of my general socioeconomic class.

#2, true, and I suppose most of this is that my preference is for sports where that's an issue only in single body problems.

#3, I think that to provide additional outlets for violence I need to take 'em shooting... Actually, that's probably a really really good idea anyway, as it'll give 'em the basics in gun safety and control. Hmmm....

#Comment Re: made: 2009-10-06 21:40:06.779455+00 by: TC

There is a range at Black point and if I remember correctly one right of the 580 in the Larkspur area. I suspect shooting things might be a good outlet and if your trying to get quality time to talk and guide there's nothing like a conversational bits between destroying things.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-10-06 22:57:13.622993+00 by: Dan Lyke

There are a couple of ranges out west of town (I forget which roads they're on, but when I ride out to Tomales I usually pass two of 'em), and an indoor range down in San Rafael that a friend of mine shoots at regularly when he's in a shooting mood.

As if my list weren't long enough already...

#Comment Re: Shooting for youth made: 2009-10-07 15:56:08.937853+00 by: andylyke [edit history]

When my son began indicating curiosity about firearms, I had him round up a few tin cans and we plinked at them in the back yard. As I recall it, he was satisfied that he had experienced firearms, and the interest faded.

I took the same sort of tack around drugs. No, I didn't furnish them, but when they arose in conversation, I treated the subject without (I hope) implications of judgment. Likewise alcohol (yes, I know (and agree) - it's a drug)

Dan, My guess is that the kids you're working with would do well to have an "up close and supervised" experience with firearms to erase the mystique of them.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-10-07 19:11:39.748874+00 by: Dan Lyke

Dad, that's my thinking. Need to find the right venue for that.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-10-07 21:02:23.868984+00 by: Larry Burton [edit history]

Andy Griffith had a bit to say about foot ball.