Football: More Than Just a Game

Reagan as George Gipp

Football is a deeply offensive sport. It is violent and triumphalist, and teaches young children that however nicely they play the game, winning still matters. More terrible still, a football team is a roiling cauldron of unvarnished masculinity. Hardly anyone even pretends to want women on the field. Football is an affront to everything progressives hold most dear, and every year at the start of the season, I marvel that it still exists.

But it does exist, and even manages to thrive. As culture wars rage all around us, football remains relatively unscathed, which may seem like rather a remarkable achievement. There is an explanation, however. Although the great majority of players, coaches and fans are conservative and Republican, football has powerful liberal friends. Neither the media nor the universities wish to see the demise of America’s most popular (and most profitable) sport. Journalists get excited when the name of a football legend (such as Joe Paterno) is tainted by scandal, and university professors quietly sneer at athletic departments behind closed doors, but their grumbles are muted. In time, lawsuits and parental fears about concussions may destroy the sport, but for now, the almighty dollar keeps it going strong.

Should faithful Catholics be glad or sorry? Certainly, there are moral hazards associated with football, as with every sport. As many wise moralists have observed, athletic prowess, like all human excellences, can breed vainglory and pride. (In light of that consideration, I would advise every gifted athlete to seek a spiritual director at once.) Also, as Romano Amerio grumpily notes in Iota Unum, sports fanhood may contribute to the general cult of body-worship that is already one of the great spiritual evils of our time.

These are heavy charges. It should be said, however, that the love of sport is quite different from the hedonism (including gluttony, promiscuity, and general acquisitiveness) that has poisoned so much of modern life. A moment’s reflection will reveal that sport builds up exactly the sort of discipline that hedonism destroys. But this observation is really just an entry point into a deeper and more significant distinction: hedonism concerns the appetites, while sport is a celebration of the spirit. This is a categorical difference, which may help us to see how sport, although it is not without its hazards, can nonetheless make a very positive contribution to the virtuous life.

At any given time, most Americans could not say which of their compatriots is the fastest, strongest, or most nimble. We pay attention to raw physical abilities once every four years, when they are presented with a flourish in the form of a grand international competition. In general, however, people are not interested in raw statistics. We admire athletes for their ability to employ these skills and capabilities under duress. Sport is a struggle to triumph over adversity, and this, most fundamentally, is what we love about it.

In an athletic competition, the body is used to achieve something decidedly extra-bodily. This thrills us because the athlete in the heat of competition faces a situation analogously similar to our own, as corporeal beings struggling through the battle of life. Watching athletes prevail on the field rekindles our hopes, because we too hope to rise above the challenges and limitations of our natural state to attain a glorious prize.

Most likely we are not reflecting on that eschatological horizon as we watch a sporting match. Many enthusiastic fans will even say that they do not believe in such things. Nevertheless, the thirst for supernatural fulfillment is so deeply engrained in us that we yearn for it whether or not we are able to articulate our desire. We understand intuitively that the human condition is one of struggling to achieve greatness under arduous conditions. This is why the drama of the sporting match resonates with us, regardless of whether we ourselves are athletically inclined.

Football is particularly exemplary in this regard. No other American sport offers such a spectacularly literal display of the struggle to overcome adversity. As every serious fan knows, the battle at the line of scrimmage is the very foundation of American football. Linemen take a kind of pride in their relative anonymity, but their exercise of brute physical force is the center around which all other action turns.

For a quarterback, adversity takes the very definite form of a line of burly men standing mere feet away, who want to pulverize him. For a running back, penetrating that wall of human power is the key to a successful play. For the entire offense, overcoming the looming brigade of fast and fearless enemies will require speed, skill and ingenuity, as well as a significant display of raw strength. Although many sports give us glimpses of the stunning potential of the human body, few present such a thrilling visual juxtaposition of the ardor of competition and the excellence required to emerge victorious.

Can you imagine Americans inventing such a sport today? In a litigious and self-indulgent society, football stands as a delightful anachronism of a heartier age. Quite often I hear professors lament the prominence of sports in higher education, but I find it deeply comforting, when looking over that bleak landscape of Marxists, post-modernists and reductive materialists, to remember that the university is still a place in which ardent young men may hurl themselves against one another with an almost super-human strength, while their comrades scream encouragement from the sidelines. When my feelings towards the rising generation begin to turn bleak, I watch a football game, and that wholesome scene persuades me that the next generation may not be entirely lost.

As with any merely human enterprise, football can distract us from more-important spiritual matters if we allow ourselves to become obsessed. Sports can help to revive and encourage us, but we can also turn to them as a form of escapism. The struggles of the sports arena tend to seem more glamorous than those of our own daily lives, so we must endeavor to bear in mind that football is merely analogous to the struggle of human life; it is not itself synonymous with that struggle. Still, as a form of entertainment, football has more to recommend it than most other popular American pastimes. It may be fun, but it is far more than just a game.

Editor’s note: The image above depicts Ronald Reagan as the doomed University of Notre Dame halfback George Gipp in the 1940 film Knute Rockne: All American.

Rachel Lu

By

Rachel Lu, a Catholic convert, teaches philosophy at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota where she lives with her husband and three boys. Dr. Lu earned her Ph.D. in philosophy at Cornell University. Follow her on Twitter at rclu.

  • Uuncle Max

    Speaking as an ex-(exceptionally mediocre) player let me add that it is a heck of a lot of fun to spend a fall afternoon running around here and there knocking people down and being knocked down in return. Especially if it’s late fall and it’s raining and you’re covered with mud from top to bottom – it’s a guy thing.

    This piece is rather silly, but that’s ok. I was initially reading it as being somewhat tongue-in-cheek but around para. 3 it occurred to me that the lady is serious, and that’s ok too.

    Still, I wish P.G. Wodehouse had written this.

    • Rachel Lu

      Uuncle Max, your instincts are both right. This isn’t satire, because I really do love football. But it’s also somewhat silly, because when you’re writing about sports, hyperbole just fits. It’s meant to be a fun piece, but I do also believe that sport has moral value, which is worth unpacking.

      • Uuncle Max

        Your kind statements about my instincts are duly noted and appreciated.

        I must admit that “Football is a deeply offensive sport” had me going for a while.

        Every few years I go through a P.G. Wodehouse phase, and they are always welcome.

        Just try this one – (Written probably about 110 years ago)

        “Like so many substantial citizens of America, he had married young and kept on marrying, springing from blonde to blonde like the chamois of the Alps leaping from crag to crag.”

        Michael Dirda of the Wall Street Journal said of that sentence “Just reading sentences like that makes life worthwhile.”

        My own personal favorite is: “all work and no play makes jack a peh-bah pom bahoo.”

        That being said, nothing more need be said, so I won’t

  • Mack

    No.
    Nice try, though.

  • Tim

    The problems in the Catholic Church are brought to light by this far left article by Rachel Lu. Her children are probably inept at sports. Fewer Rachel Lu’s speaking for the church the better.

    • Pay

      If people do not like Rap music would you automatically claim they are inept at music performance?

      • Adam__Baum

        You consider Rap music?

        • Pay

          It is analagous to football. Meaningless acts followed by too many sheep who crave hero worship.

      • Uuncle Max

        the response to that is about 99.99 % a – 10-4!, followed closely by a high five with Adam_Baum.

        Nice handle there dude

    • Marc L

      Do you often comment after reading only the first paragraph of a piece?

  • John O’Neill

    One should add that organized sports that is corporate and academic sports are an intrinsic evil in the society of the American State. A large percentage of professional sportsmen are convicted felons and drug consuming pot heads and they are held up to the children of the americans as idols to be emulated. On any given Sunday more americans attend football church rather than go to Church; it is also obvious that the American family often has to choose between sending their children to mass or sending them to soccer games on sunday morning. When one calculates the millions of dollars that americans pour into the corporate sports industry one is amazed; the same americans who constantly complain about spending money to send their children to doctors have no problem shelling out a thousand bucks to attend the big game. Look what sports has done to education in this country; most universities provide playing venues for their teams at the expense of providing erudition for their so called students.

    • Pay

      Excellent. We are a society of sports worshipers. Ask any self identified Catholic a few basic questions about the faith and you will get wrong answers or no answers. Ask them who caught which ball when and you will get every possible pedantic detail down to what type of car the ball guy drives. Where our treasure is…

      In what sane society would people care about men putting on uniforms to go out and risk serious injury over a ball? No, it is not more than a game. It is only a game that unreflective people place way too much emphasis on.

      • Rachel Lu

        Obviously, football is less important than the Faith, but so is… everything. When children who haven’t learned their catechism demonstrate that they do know the plot of Treasure Island, do you cry, “Fie on you, Robert Lewis Stevenson! Your devilishly entertaining stories have undermined the faith!” Obviously, the ignorance and apathy of the laity to the faith is a huge problem today, but don’t make football your whipping boy just because you personally aren’t interested. If it goes away, I seriously doubt that will bring the people running back to Mass.

        • Pay

          But, people are not spending inordinate amounts of time and money on books. They are on sports. Sports are really an idol to too many today. It is not a whipping boy to point out how much emphasis is on sports, particularly football, when so little is devoted to the faith. What do people spend more time, money, and energy on?

  • Brennan

    Well, now that we’ve heard from the Cotton Mathers of the Catholic blogosphere I must say that any article that mentions Iota Unum by Romano Amerio automatically merits a thumbs up from me.

  • woodyjones

    Violence interrupted by committee meetings.

    • Peter

      As George Will once said, “Football combines the two worst features of modern American life, it’s violence punctuated by committee meetings. In addition, football demonstrated the manic division of labor that makes life confusing and I should think unsatisfying.”

      • Peter

        P.S. Did anyone see this article in the WSJ today?

        • Rachel Lu

          The average football play is six seconds long. And that’ll be the most exciting six seconds you can imagine. (George Will is just envious because football involves more strategic drama than his favorite sport, and Americans like it more.)

          • Peter

            Wow….hit a nerve. I guess you and I will have to agree to disagree on this one. “Exciting” to me means more than mere motion. And I find football far less strategic and dramatic than baseball by far. As for American’s “liking” football more, I find that claim dubious and rarely documented. For example, baseball draws more fans in the seats, draws more total viewers on TV, has larger salaries, sells more merchandise, draws more total TV income, has more movies made about it, has more books written about it, is played in more countries…I could go on and on with any number of strange ways someone could concoct for saying football is more popular but none of them add up.

            • Rachel Lu

              Hmm… I’m inclined to dispute those claims, but if I go hunting for all the statistics now I’ll be unprepared for class. But I’m fairly sure the NFL makes more money than any other sports organization in the world. And if you Google “America favorite sport survey” you’ll find a number of pieces describing surveys to determine America’s favorite sport… and they *all* conclude that it’s football.

      • Randall Ward

        George Will is the living example of what men are like when they become worthless. Every carpenter I have ever known has more sense than George Will.

        • Alexandra

          Brilliant.

  • Pay

    I predict the ball idolizers will come out in full force, like the Gay activists do on gay threads, and defend the silliness of sport worship.

    • Alecto

      Yep, prediction accurate.

  • Watosh

    I have long been a fan of football and I enjoyed playing when I was younger. However over the years things have changed for the worse though football skills improved a great deal. I recall watching pro football many, many years ago. When someone scored a touchdown they handed the ball to the ref and walked off. There was no taunting, and doing a dance when ever they tackled anyone. Many players just enjoyed playing the game. Now ugly taunting opponents is constant, players vie as to who can do the stupidest dance after scoring a touchdown. The players regard winning as the reason they were born. And the halftime show during the super bowl is watching a display of extreme vulgarity. I have been turned off by what football has become. This has affected collegiate football too. Football is a game that is what it should be not a life or death contest. As for football not wanting women on the field, why would a woman want to get involved in something like this. The football powers that be though are doing everything to attract women as fans, they really want women in the stands and now all sports programs on TV have their women commentators. It means more money in the pockets of the millionaires who own the teams.

    • Football mom

      Women are not just on the sidelines, you can find girls on high school football teams. <> Love the sport for the manliness aspects for my sons. A big problem is that there is no longer a team mentality. My son’s college team is not for a moment a ‘team’. It’s a bunch of thugs playing for their own glory. My other son’s high school team also has several on the team only out for their own glory. Yes, I know, you find that everywhere in everything and frankly, all it would take is a few linemen to let somebody through to knock the big guy down…..but then there will be cries of ‘bully!’……it’s a no-win situation out there these days.

    • naish2013

      I agree that the halftime show during the Superbowl is indeed “a display of extreme vulgarity”, but the Superbowl halftime show is by no means a vital or necessary part of the sport of football. “ugly taunting” of players and “stupid dances” after touchdowns are not in the rule book or a vital part of the game either. Dr. Lu was speaking about the sport of football in general.

  • Alecto

    And Rachel’s brainwashing is complete! Subsidizing this cultural relic, this “neo-facist territorial acquisition game” with hard-earned tax dollars isn’t left or right, it’s obscene and immoral. But, coming from the other massively taxpayer-subsidized institutions to which you belong, not surprising.

    There is a difference between recreation and sport. Having ceded any notion of recreation as more than placing oneself in front of a flat black box and staring passively at it for hours on end, it doesn’t matter much whether the box spews forth football or Miley Cyrus or God forbid, Downton Abbey. You could have extolled the virtues of getting outside and exploring, doing something, making something, playing something, reading something. FCOL, ENGAGE. You had a platform to highlight something more than the changing societal perspective on football, which is for men, by men, and has made men fat chugging beer and buffalo wings often at the expense of family time and intimacy. Now, I don’t necessarily have a problem with beer or wings, but by God, what about the 50+% of us who don’t receive tax subsidies and union contracts for arenas or gladiatorial conquests? What about a fashion article on the differences between oh, I don’t know, Dior and Mark Jacobs? Or, frame bag v. mini duffel for the fall?

    I understand your fate as a Catholic woman living in 2013 is to prop up men’s gargantuan egos, but really, Rachel, you could have written something much better about the truly amazing physical feat of Diana Nyad at 64(!) swimming from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage. Let’s see some football meathead do that.

    • Pay

      Amen. Preach it.

      • Alecto

        Just once, I’d like to see an article extolling the virtues of speed skating. Controversy: short track or long?

        • Rachel Lu

          Alecto, I’d be happy to write such a piece, except I have no opportnity to watch speed skating live. But how can I write about television now that I’ve been told that it matters not what the box spews forth, and that I might as well be praising Miley Cyrus? Ah, the dilemmas!

          • Ex Nihilo

            Being a convert as well, Dr. Lu, I had no idea this would be at all controversial.
            I must admit I’m a little disappointed. As Father Barron has said, ‘We’re not puritans’.

          • Alecto

            Missed the point utterly and completely.

        • Pay

          Funny. Of course, that will never happen. In the past few decades we have become a culture that really idolizes sport and in particular football. We attribute all sorts of nonsense to it to make it seem like it is more than it really is. It is simply a game. A dangerous game. A game that too many spend too much time and money on.

          Not a mere diversion or some relaxation but a game that has multiple 24 hour tv and radio stations talking about it in an endless inane way. Colleges are built on it. Municipal money is wasted on it. Parents and kids make it their god much too often.

          It should be put back in its proper place. That is trivial, part of leisure, proportionate to more important aspects of life, and lower than faith family, and society.

    • Bucky Inky

      Alecto,

      But Rachel addresses your concerns by advising against the cult of the body that is all-too prevalent in our day, and has made football an overblown pastime. You don’t give her credit for that. You fault her for seeing something in the sport that you do not, do you not?

      Also, there are very, very, very, very few gargantuan male egos (there are some) to be propped up in our society and in our day. They have been effectively blasted, bored, sliced and diced, and whittled into near non-existence so that mostly all that is left are despairers and/or posers.

    • cloonfush

      No one with a name like Alecto is expected to “get it”.

    • GaudeteMan

      I’m told sharks prefer younger swimmers otherwise she would have done it years ago.

      • Alecto

        This is her fourth attempt. The first occurred when she was 28 yrs. old. That’s persistence.

  • tamsin

    We understand intuitively that the human condition is one of struggling to achieve greatness under arduous conditions. This is why the drama of the sporting match resonates with us, regardless of whether we ourselves are athletically inclined.

    I agree completely.

    In defense of sports, it remains one area of our cultural life from which the Marxists, post-modernists and reductive materialists have not been able to purge the competitive spirit, the desire to win, to move along the axis from worse to better. This desire acknowledges the fact of better. Which suggests objective truth.

    Believe me, the Marxists, post-modernists and reductive materialists have tried their best to reform objective truth out of public education, and substitute miserable equality for competition. But they can’t eliminate sports or parents would not bother with public education.

    I see the competitive spirit and think: I can work with that. While not sufficient, it’s necessary.

    I’m perfectly aware that to win, some people will lie, cheat, and steal. Just as there will always be sophists trying only to win, and not to arrive at objective truth.

  • poetcomic1

    I’m reminded of one of my favorite New Yorker cartoons with a woman visiting her husband’s grave and on the gravestone is the inscription, “HE WATCHED SPORTS ON TV”. We all know someone whose life could be summed up thus.

  • fides

    Well done Dr. Lu! The sport is demanding of both physical preparation and intellectual focus. As a high school player I am constantly challenged by the gamesmanship necessary to compete and the physical stamina necessary to enact the gamesmanship. The two things I have learned are to show up in shape and keep my mouth shut and listen.

  • JimmyV

    For the record, I think football consumes too much time, energy, and other critical resources in this country. It is riddled with problems on many levels. I pay only enough attention to not be a complete social outcast. Which is, thankfully, a diminishing amount since my college days.
    But, Dr. Lu, your analysis opens my eyes to the good and true even when buried under slime. Thanks for the thought-provoking piece.

  • RB2

    I’m a male:

    Football is a sport that has gotten more dangerous in the last 50 years. There are very few sports that have gotten more dangerous in our time of better medicine, better understanding of injury, and more care and concern for peoples health–football is an exception. Like a soldier in war, there are risks, but when you are injured in the armed services they get you out of the way and get you medical attention. In football, they inject you with pain killers, steroids to reduce inflammation, and push you back out there on the playing field to the detriment and healing of your injury. Your employer(the coach, the medical doctor, franchise owner) doesnt care about your health and healing, they care about the game and winning and whether after you have been shot up with appropriate meds can you still perform during game time. No one is there to advocate for the players health.

    It used to be that professional boxing was viewed as an inhumane sport–well it still is. I’m a fan of boxing by the way, at least for talented heavyweights. But they reduced boxing rounds from 15, to 12 and finally to 10. The referee and the medical doctor on the job are employed amongst other things to have a high concern for the health of the boxer and either can stop the bout for health reasons. Still there are a few boxers that box too long, and exhibit severe health effects beyond being somewhat punch drunk. But boxing is an example of a sport that has gotten safer or exhibits more concern for the participants these last 50 years.

    In football, the list of those exhibiting life long, advancing and debilitating injuries both to their limbs, spines–affecting their mobility and their minds from numerous concussions (just like a boxer and worse) is mind boggling. Rome’s morality was viewed in one way through the way the dis-valued life in the Coliseum games, their brutality. Football and our times of declining morality, seem to go hand in hand.

    • Richard A

      The point, or goal, of professional boxing is to beat one’s opponent into (temporary) disability. (Not the goal of amateur boxing, as I understand it, which is training in the manly art of self-defense.) The goal of the Coliseum games in the late Roman republic and imperial times was to kill or maim the opponent.
      That is not the goal of a football game, even in these life-devaluing times. I think there’s too much spectacle in modern professional football, and a lot more about it not to like, but the physical damage to the players is not intrinsic to the game.
      Not yet, anyway. The first time a man was killed in a gladiatorial game, many in the audience threw up. Roman audiences got over that, eventually.

    • Adam__Baum

      Several years ago, there was a player renowned for his ferocity (Linebacker Bill Romanoski) who, among other things, flew in fresh kiwis to supplement his diet.

      Players are bigger, stionger and faster, and surgery has extended careers.

      Nothing has been done (or can be done) to prevent the brain from being slammed into the skull as a result of those (increasingly more violent) collisions. An anterior cruciate ligament tear used to be a a career-ending injury. Now, it’s a routine surgery that allows the player to get hit again.

  • Florin S.

    So much concern over injury to football players who are well padded but no concern about boxers who go into the ring with the express intention of knocking each others’ brains out…get real!!!

  • Ex Nihilo

    Dr. Lu that was awesome! Football is a terrific way to teach our young men many lessons.

  • tomm

    Better to play European football, which is to say soccer.

    Net playing time over 50%.

    No endless set pieces (“committee meetings”).

    A masculine sport but not with that high number of debilitating injuries.

    Where midgets like Neymar and Messi CAN excel, as long as they are GOOD.

  • GaudeteMan

    “Although the great majority of players, coaches and fans are conservative and Republican, football has powerful liberal friends.” Fact: Roughly 70% of NFL players are black. Fact: Over 90% of blacks voted Obama…mmmm?

    • Randall Ward

      The logic of libs; how they vote makes no difference. When they are on the field, they are blood and guts football players. I never think of the players as dems or repubs.

  • hombre111

    If football expresses a transcendent American value, it’s our obsession to shout, “We’re number one!” This impulse fueled a cold war, cost us trillions, and left a lot of people dead.

    • Adam__Baum

      You idiot. Soviet imperial ambition fueled the cold war.

  • Randall Ward

    I have noticed in the last twenty years how the elite liberal establishment is trying to slowly discount the game. They truly hate football; the players and the fans. Football in the last ten years has caved in to demands of the liberals with rule changes to wimpify the game.
    ESPN is the worst offender. I can’t stand to watch a game with a woman announcer. When I watch football I want to see men and hear men.
    I am amazed at the insite of the female author.

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  • Bruce W.

    I use to play on both sides of the line. So, as coach said the only time anyone will know you are on the field is when you screw up and you mama.I still get a kick out of that line. Pun intended.

  • Pat

    Great piece! Really well done!
    I coach youth football, lead a rather large manufacturing plant have a couple of comments (I mention what I do for a living only to make a point below):
    1) “Football has gotten more violent.” I saw Hogwash. When the game was first played “helments” were little pieces of leather covering your head. There was no headgear, no mouthpieces or pads. As athletes hit harder the protection has improved. Men get hurt playing the game; its part of it. Working on a oil rig or in a coal mine is an extremely dangerous job. Men die are injured and die all the time at these jobs. Should we stop drilling or mining? So let’s stop being silly about the “violent” nature of the sport (BTW – which its not – battling another man to the death using chainsaws is violent Semantics? Perhaps. But an imporant distinction as words mean things).
    2) “Teams don’t care about the athletes, just the money.” I saw Hogwash. Just as we maintain multi-million $ pieces of equipment in our manufacturing plant so the sports team maintains its athletes. We don’t cheer and celebrate when equipment fails or needs to be replaced; its more expensive and not good for the business in general and we all suffer. When an athlete is injured the team suffers. The costs to the team increases and revenues decrease. The athlete is THE most imporant assest a team has. The last thing they want is their prized assest to be damaged. While the care for the athlete might not have its source in charity, it does exist. Because we don’t like how that “care” is sourced, doesn’t mean its not real.

    • Pay

      You compare unequal issues. Sports are not a job like mining. We need mining. We do not need men in tight pants and helmets throwing balls around. See one is important and one is not.

      • Pat

        Technically speaking we don’t need any sports, all of which have risks. Heck, we don’t need cars, art, music and a host of other distractions which aren’t important.

        My point, which I failed to make, is that there are risks in everything we do. Some greater or some lessor. If we remove all risk then what are we left with?

        And its simply your opinion that we don’t need football. I would argue otherwise.

    • Rachel Lu

      Yes, it seems a little odd to suggest that nobody cares about safety in football. I’d say the sport has been fairly obsessed with questions about safety (and especially the long-term effects of concussion) these last few years. That doesn’t mean that the issues have been resolved, but it’s definitely not a non-issue.

  • Greg Cook

    If football were to suddenly disappear from the face of the earth we’d all be better off for it. It is idolatrous and a gigantic waste of resources, including the lives of young men. if you want to develop young men, teach them about real responsibility and not how to beat their brains into mush.

  • Uuncle Max

    Rachel;

    I have enjoyed our brief correspondence. You should read ‘Theophilos’ by Michael O’Brien and see ‘Saving Grace’ starring Tom Conti.

    So should everybody

    When I was in the service overseas after working the mid-watch (10:30 p.m.-6:30 a.m.) sometimes when we got off it would be raining, and we would all get some beer and play football. It was touch fb but when you’re 1/2 – 3/4 in the bag and you’re playing in the mud – it’s FUN!!

    (It doesn’t hurt to be young.)

    I will concede, however, that it was not intellectually challenging.

  • Pogue Mahone

    I think sports is just a waste of time. There are far more meaningful things in life.

  • blue blood

    Football the gateway to hell

  • Patrick McGrath

    Because football is “violence interrupted by committee meetings,” as already mentioned, that’s why I prefer the sport that lacks committee meetings — Rugby.

  • samhille

    Remember to keep Holy the Sabbath day. . .Football erased that commandment with the complicity of the Church and a family named Rooney. Football was the undoing of the culture. “Sport is a celebration of spirit”. . .hmm, of just what ‘spirit’ might that be? Spiritual slavery? “Hedonism concerns the appetites”. . .take a look at the current appetites. . .an entire culture in spiritual slavery, the beginning of which, in the USA, was brought about by the seemingly innocuous ‘football’. John Paul II wrote a great apostolic letter on the subject of the Sabbath. Did your pastor ever share this with you or suggest that you give it a read? “The Day of Our Lord”. . .

  • a football player

    I’ve heard football players get called a lot of things. I have had people explain to me how stupid football was and why I was such an idiot for playing. I got called a big dumb meathead many times. Lineman are fairly smart and have to be really good at thinking on their feet such as picking up a blitz last second. On my high school football team, every player from my class has done something successful with their life. Sports in general teaches dedication and commitment, but nothing is comparable to football.( I was a 3 sport athlete) Football just takes so much more commitment. I love football. I will allow my kids to play if they want to. Hopefully they want to, because football teaches so many life lessons.
    Football really is more than a game. It teaches you to work with those around you whether you like him or not.

    • Pay

      It is only a game. Anything you claim football “teaches” can be learned, better, through other avenues. It is a type of addiction in our sick culture. It is a mere game and one that attracts mostly immature people.

  • Alexandra

    Loved this article! I always hated football, thought it was a dumb jock sport, stupid and insensitive and meaningless. But now I have a 9 yr old son who is in his second season of football, and I have accidentally fallen in love with this sport. Mainly due to witnessing the extremely positive benefits it has on my son’s development – physically, emotionally, spiritually. The essence of football creates Real Men when it’s done right.

  • JessieM

    Its funny how the same people who claim football is worthless and our society doesn’t need such violence are the same asshats who put down the author. Football, like life, is what you make of it and what you get out of it. It is a metaphor for the spiritual life and if sports was so worthless, why do the books of the bible bother to use it as a metaphor?

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