Search This Blog

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

A Love Letter to Football

William Shakespeare told us, "Absence makes the heart grow fonder."  I know this to be true because every August, my heart aches for the return of my one true love:  football.

coal region football
High school football in Pennsylvania
Sports fill the entire calendar year, and I care deeply about many of them.  I close my law firm for March Madness.  I build my household budget around boxing pay-per-view events.  I skip church for early NASCAR races.  I've held parties for the Open Championship.  And I have nearly lost friendships over the MLB playoffs.

I am passionate about all those sports, but nothing stirs my emotions quite like football.  I am girl.  I never played the sport.  I grew up in a family of basketball and baseball players.  And yet, it is football that I have elevated to an almost unhealthy position in my life.

What is it about the game of football that sets it apart from all other sports?

First, there is the combination of brute force and intellect.  Football is an incredibly physical sport. Yet, at the same time, football is arguably the most intellectually demanding sport in the world.  The folks who read this blog because of the recipes may scoff at this notion, but anyone who has ever tried to use the more advanced aspects of NCAA Football or Madden know that I am right.  It is not just the coaches who have to engage in this high speed chess.  The players also need to be intellectually active throughout the game.  Football players literally speak a different language in the huddle.  Then they speak it again as they line up and react to the alignments of their opponents.  No matter how freakish the athlete, without the strategy from the coaches and the communication between players, there is no success in football.

cold football fans
Dedicated football fans
Football also captures the concept of commitment to team over self more than other sport.  Coaches in all sports preach that players should dedicate themselves more to the name on the front of the jersey than the name on the back.  But, in football, there are no individual moments.  Quarterbacks may get most of the glory, but they get no success without the toils of five offensive lineman and five other skill players.  Then of course, there are the eleven other men who play defense and rarely touch the ball at all.

Perhaps more than anything else, I love football because it is an appropriate outlet for manly aggression and competition.  America is a nation that was born out of a violent rebellion and grew up prizing rugged individualism.  We live in a society that grows increasingly shy about drawing bright lines and the manly virtues.  Not so on Saturdays and Sundays in the fall.  Two teams take the field, and it is okay to choose sides.  And, football is one of the last remaining places in society where it is culturally acceptable to admire one man or a group of men for physically overpowering another.  Those are liberating feelings.

As the calendar flips towards September, I am thankful once again for the return of my beloved football.

Subscribe to Banshee Sports by Email

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Anniversary Flashback: College Sports Makeover

College sports are incredibly popular in our country.  Especially college football and men's basketball.  And yet, sports fans spend a significant amount of time thinking and talking about how the world would be a better place, if only the NCAA was structured differently.

In August of 2013, I took a stab at creating the perfect collegiate sports landscape.  In this article, I created the mythical College Athletic Organization (CAO).  Some of the statistics are dated.  And some of the conferences have had significant membership changes.  If I had it to do over again, I'd sub in the American Athletic Conference for every mention of the Mountain West Conference.

This piece was truly a labor of love.  If you do me the honor of reading it, I welcome your thoughts.  Please leave a comment.

College Sports Makeover

Maybe it's because I'm a girl, but the idea of college sports becoming nothing more than minor league level professional sports almost brings me to tears.  The reason collegiate athletics brings out unique passion in fan bases is because rooting for a college is not just about rooting for the players currently wearing the uniform.  It is about rooting for an image, for a larger institution and for the traditions of that institution.  Unlike most professional sports teams, there are very real cultural differences between the collegiate teams with which we align ourselves.  But, times have certainly changed since the NCAA was founded in 1906.  Some systemic changes are needed or the entire concept of student athletes may become a thing of the past.  I believe that collegiate athletics can change while still preserving the differences between schools that leads to all that we love about college sports.  Click to read more.

Subscribe to Banshee Sports by Email