It really sucks to love football these days, thanks to your conscience.
It is one of the most entertaining, fan-involved, culturally-relevant sports we have today; college and professional football turn one game into an all-day affair of binge drinking and food consuming that people look forward to for months. I know basically every starter in the NFL by name along with what college they went to. I have never missed a home game since I have been a student at UNC, coming back from my home in Cary on breaks to go to sparsely-attended games in the cold. I’ve blown off homework, social commitments, meetings, etc. to watch games on TV. Hell, fantasy football has turned into a multi-million dollar business and I’m ok with it.
But football, at least in its current form, is a dying beast. The game is too violent and the lie of continued “amateurism” in the college game is absurd, even to a casual fan. Studies continue to be released about the permanent physical ailments that come from America’s new pastime and the NFL is freaking out about drugs because the league realizes it is the only way for players to deal with the pain. Obviously, the game is a multi-billion dollar business and won’t just disintegrate overnight. The revolution has already begun though; parents are worried about little Johnny playing football and are pushing America’s youth towards other sports, including the ever-growing sport of soccer that has ridden World Cup hype to increased youth participation numbers every year.
But none of this matter on 6 p.m. last Saturday. Watching the game from the stands, I forgot all of this; I was drunk and cheering my ass off with my friends as noble thoughts of lasting impacts of concussions and lack of compensation for the players conveniently left my mind. Every hit, every big play, every possible life-threatening injury was so capativating for the crowd. I looked around and, instead of seeing jerseys of players who would never see a penny of that sale, saw a group of people who were on my side, trying to help push the Tar Heels past Liberty. I cursed random players who I have never heard of and will never meet.
I have always loved watching football. It was one the great bonding activities at my house.
But shit, your conscience’s hangover the next day is bad.