Friday, October 27, 2017

The Beauty of the Game

My daughter and I went to watch a parks and rec 1st-2nd grade flag football league game last night.  I had a lot of fun watching the kids run around, the coaches trying to get people to focus.  It's funny but in a month league like this the big improvement I saw from the last game we watched to this one was on defense.  Kids now knew to get to the flag when on defense.  There were passes, there were runs, there was even a punt.

This year I decided that I could no longer watch football.  The CTE stuff has just taken it out of me.  It's hard to watch these men hitting each other and know the kind of damage they are doing.  But watching flag football with a bunch of kids made me realize that there is nothing wrong with the game of football, we just shouldn't be tackling anymore.

Don't get me wrong the hits are great fun to watch.  When I was a kid that's the part of the game I always imitated.  But as time went by and I watched players like Bo Jackson have their careers cut short, and I watched guys that were once super athletes on the field now hobbling around, and then CTE.  Well for me it just got to be too much and all I could see and think about anymore was my fears for these guys and what they were putting their bodies through.  I decided that football was just a flawed game.

Then I went to a kids flag football game and I realized there is nothing wrong with the game, except that we tackle.  Why do we need to tackle?  Football as a sport is great.  It has all sorts of strategy and skill.  It has so many moving parts its fun to see it all come together and the truth is tackling isn't necessary for the game to be entertaining and great, it is a great game.

One of the teams last night ran a power sweep left at one point.  And is was great to see.  All these kids rolling out to set blocks for the kid with the ball.  It was a well designed play and so pretty to see developing.  Problem is the kid with the ball wasn't patient enough for his blockers to block and so a defender go to him and ripped off his flag.  Now how would that have been better with a tackle?  How would it have been improved by all the kids wearing a bunch of protective gear and hitting each other?  I don't think it would have.

I have thought that football has no future.  That we are at the peak or were at the peak a few years ago and are on the down-slope, but you know I think many of us could get into flag football.  It's the game that makes football a great sport, not the hitting, not the tackling.  Players could be much bigger stars when they don't have to wear helmets.  And size and drugs and all the other negatives around football would disappear.

I am now back in on football, but flag football.  Now I just need to find an 11 person per team flag football league. 


  1. I joined the AFFL email distribution. That looks great.

  2. Good post here. Good tip to the AFFL.

  3. I will never forget Jim Brown and the Cleveland Brown power sweep: a thing of beauty. Good observations about football injuries.