Are you ready for some football? American football, that is. It is, in fact, the first sport in which I fell in love. Some of my favorite Sunday afternoons were spent rooting my beloved San Francisco 49ers to victory in the
cold ass good ol’ Stick, Candlestick Park. Not 3M Park or San Francisco Stadium. Neither Dot-com Park nor Monster Park. The Stick. There was never a dull second throughout the 60 minute contest. I was mesmerized by the agility of a Roger Craig running back, the precision of a Joe Montana quarterback, the speed of a Jerry Rice wide receiver and the foresight of a safety Ronnie Lott as they collectively pursued the advancement of the oblong ball into the opponent’s end zone. The tomboy in me would attempt to recreate those highlights with my brother and dad and hell, all the rest of the boys in the neighborhood.
The love I hold for my beloved San Francisco 49ers continues to stand the test of time. Yes, even when we went 2 – 14 in the 2004 season. Diehard still. However, my love for the sport has waned. It’s neither the copious amounts of money spent on new stadiums, like the $1.2 billion slated to build those same beloved 49ers a new one (couldn’t we feed some hungry and house some homeless?!?), nor the ever changing rules that have evolved the quarterback position into a, well non-football player (they might as well put a bubble around them to ensure no injury befalls him). It is, however, difficult to maintain the same level of enthusiasm knowing that the movements that incited oohs and aahs in the younger me are resulting in life-damaging concussions. Sure, each sport brings with it a level of danger that may result in game-ending, season-ending and maybe career-ending injury. But life-ending?!? When some of my football heroes of years past have chosen to end their lives in order to will their brains to researchers for extensive study, it’s time to put the foam finger down. Research is finding that the very game that brings such excitement to its fans is equally pernicious to its players.
Am I ready for some football? Eh. Will I celebrate another 49er winning season capped with a Super Bowl victory? Indeed.