I was raised in Nebraska where American college football rules Saturday afternoons for three months a year.
While that seeding of false hope and expectation in the score of a college football game can crush community pride if there’s a loss and not a win, I am even more offended and astonished at a trend, particularly in the state of Texas, where high school footballers — children, really — are falsely imbued by adults who should be vested in protecting their welfare, and not religiously counting wins and losses, with a fake significance and a godliness that is inhuman, abusive and punishing.
How can a community pressure a group of children into winning, at any cost, to save adult social grace, foment bragging rights and help in the creation of a surface social visage that is to be envied, but never imitated?
It is unfortunate and offensive that high school football in so many communities — in Texas and beyond — has taken on the wages of life and death. Where is the human caring in pressing children into keeping score so early in their young lives while building up their hopeful success by the Friday night rites of injecting the unearned inflation of ego without atonement? I understand there is a rich history in high school football games that used to bring simple joy and entertainment to a community no matter the score.
I argue the joy of playing high school football in the 1900s has been lost today when it is more important to kill the other team than to win with honor and grace. Today’s game is all about creating stars out of children who then inevitably crash to the ground in a fiery heap when they are injured or when the big college scholarship is not offered along with the high school diploma or GED. Total community abandonment follows.
Those “failed” children — at 18 years of age — are left alone to relive their glory days and to somehow try to come to terms with their sudden ineptitude in losing the unrequited admiration and adoration of a community that they never quite realize existed only to build them up to hollow them out for the greater score — and the leftover is the castoff shell of the boy in the soul of the forgotten man.