The Seeker

A Meta-Cognitive Journal About Writing… Plus Other Stuff

Big Ben, et al.– Part 2

with 2 comments

continued from yesterday…

The sad fact, too, is that coaching football can assure you continuous employment.  Schools are willing to overlook poor teaching evaluations, controversy, and even pathological behaviors.  In one district I’m familiar with, a set of twin brothers were rah-rah district football heroes.  They were hired under a rah-rah football superintendent, and essentially knew no consequences.  They did what they wanted to do.  Unfortunately, that meant one of the boys thought little of drinking at a bar one night with underaged students, four of whom died in a drunk driving accident while heading home.

That coach?  He coached downstate for a while after he resigned from his hometown district.  He then hooked up with brother #2, who had left their hometown district, worked at a private school as a football coach, and was ready to take a job as a football coach at another public school.  He never coached day one there because he was caught with a student  and subsequently was convicted of a felony (aggravated fleeing).  Meanwhile, brother #1 moved west when he found still another coaching job.  He resigned there after a superintendent’s investigation into how brother #2 came to be a volunteer coach for the team.  Brother #1 found another football job, but resigned after four days under still more mysterious circumstances.

That’s six districts that poured an untold amount of taxpayer money into the pursuit of football glory, regardless of the dark side they were bringing along with it.  Shame and embarrassment don’t see to be enough of a deterent for the people making the football decisions.

None of this is to say that I don’t like football.  I do; at least at the pro level.  The NFL is the terminal point for football, and I can at least appreciate it there because it has the least corrosive and corrupting effect on my career field.  All the damage has been done by that point.  Up to the NFL, I don’t care much for football, and it fact can’t stand about 95% of the college game.

Football at any level hinges on pathological behaviors.  You’re supposed to plow over the opponent, knock him down and knock him out.  If he gets hurt, fine.  You have to expect that– it’s part of the game.  We expect and encourage the pathology on the field, but are aghast and point fingers when those same players display the same behaviors off the field in the real world.  In Roethlisberger’s case, his behavior is consistent with the long-term effects of a brain injury (violence, inappropriate actions, lack of self-control, impulsivity, impaired judgment).  He is unable to stop himself, and the NFL is unwilling to stop him because of the revenue he generates.  A six-game suspension at this point is little more than a token penalty.

Acting with impunity is the common thread between Roethlisberger and the coaches I know of and dozens of others (insert the name of your choice…  Ray Lewis, Michael Vick, Lawrence Taylor, Ryan Leaf…).  They are elevated to God-like status in their hometowns and on their college campuses, moreso in the towns where they play professionally, and then they treat the mortal world with contempt.

How can anybody claim that football is worth all this?


Written by seeker70

May 11, 2010 at 7:00 am

Posted in Uncategorized

2 Responses

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  1. My alma mater recently decided to go Division-1 in an effort to become a more prestigious university in the state of Illinois. Ignore the fact that we don’t have the talent for any of our sports to go .500 on a season, or that we don’t even own an official football scoreboard on our athletic field. The result? Lots of money wasted on a school that just can’t compete with the big dogs, sacrificing funds that could have gone to numerous other areas of the school that would have a greater impact. Our football team? 0-16. Our “acclaimed” basketball team? 5-23. And our soccer team, who held the best end-season record of any of our sports? 5-9-3.

    High school was no different. There was constant money being poured into building new and improved athletic facilities, meanwhile the theater and music department had to stand idly by and continue performing at a school that wasn’t even on the immediate campus. This makeshift theatre was fine, as long as you had a strong imagination and could ignore the basketball-court floors, water stains throughout, and sporadic deteriorations throughout the facility.

    Bottom line: I agree, though I don’t blame football as much as I blame the system that allows football to become godlike at schools throughout the country. Have a great football team? Then great, no harm done if that becomes the temporary focus of the school. Have a great theatre department, music department, or academic curriculum? Then set the sports aside for a moment and focus where there’s something to build on, rather than trying to build on a deficient basketball or baseball squad that eats up all the revenue that the rest of the school is providing.

    Stranger Danger

    May 11, 2010 at 2:05 pm

  2. Hear, hear Jeff! Took the words right out of my mouth.

    Ray Uloth

    May 12, 2010 at 7:25 am

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