I am no longer going to watch football at any level. No more NFL. No more college. When I visit my old hometown I will no longer go to the high school football games. This decision has been percolating for several years now. I first started having misgivings about football when I read about older players like Earl Campbell who were physically damaged by football. I remember reading that Earl Campbell couldn't walk up stairs because he couldn't pull his feet back. For a while I could brush that off. Everyone knew football was brutal and physical payments later in life were inevitable. It's the old cliche, the guy in his 40s with the trick knee from that high school football injury. Even I have damage from football. The middle metacarpal in my right hand has a bump in it from a break I suffered my freshman year on the gridiron. (That was a weird injury because I don't remember how it happened. At some point late in the game I remember my hand hurt like the dickens. I even returned a kick off with that broken hand. How dumb was that? Although, I did catch that kick with one hand. How awesome is that?) The revelations about the head injuries the players suffer and the suicides of players like Junior Seau have been pushing me to give up the game. Even Terry Bradshaw has admitted he is receiving treatment for memory loss. What I learned about subconcussive blows almost caused me to stop watching last year. I then decided to give the sport one more season and then give it some serious thought. It was Chris Borland a young NFL player retiring at the peak of his career, literally giving up millions of dollars, in order to preserve his health who gave me the final push I needed. As Frank Deford pointed out during a recent NPR piece football may soon go the way of boxing where those from a less affluent background make the choice of financial gain with the later trade off of health issues. He even goes so far as to call football "indefensible." I think he's right. How can I sit on my couch and watch a player like Troy Polamalu literally kill himself for my entertainment? I can't any longer. Goodbye, football.
I have only one last step left to completely wall myself off from football. I need a new Tervis Tumbler. My current tumbler has a Carolina Panthers logo on it. I need to go to Tinder Box at the mall and get a new tumbler. I wonder what the chances are of them having a Detroit Tigers tumbler?