Saturday, September 10, 2016

On Football...

To say I'm disillusioned right now would be an understatement.

It's a Saturday night, and usually that means that I'm in a football state of mind.

Y'all. I love sports.

I love high school sports.

I love college sports.

I love the NFL, especially my Steelers...

but tonight I'm shaking my head, just a little.

My football Bobcats are 0-3.

My UK Wildcats are 0-2.

The top 2 draft picks for my fantasy football league team with Wallace are out for injuries.

And I'm holding my breath for Monday night.

And I know in the grand scheme of things a winning football season isn't something to worry about... in fact, football in general isn't that big of a deal.

Except it is.

Because the way I see it, football is kind of reflective of our society.

Football has adapted in response to our society.

In Breathitt County, 20 years ago we had won our first state championship and were on our way to another one. Our population was a little larger than it is now, and our school system was in better financial shape.  And our community was behind our boys in blue.

All of our community.

There were signs galore and every business had "Go Cats" on their billboard.

The only color to wear on Friday night was blue.

Fast forward 20 years, and no, we aren't winning...

but those kids also don't get much support. There aren't signs in the community and the money has all dried up.

It's almost like some people enjoy seeing others fail.

I'm not writing this saying that I am giving up on our Bobcats, because y'all know that I've been a true fan ALL MY LIFE and I've been right there in the bad times as well as the good.

What I am saying is that there is a sense of hopelessness in our community, and it plays out on the field. Negativity breeds negativity, and if all kids hear is the negative, well, that will translate to picked passes or missed blocks or for a quarterback on the other team rushing for four or five touchdowns.

And before you think I'm pointing fingers at the coaching staff, let me assure you that I'm not.  (God forbid.  Nobody knows the life of a coach and his wife and his kids. I may question calls, but that's just my nature. Best not say anything negative about the coaches around me.)

Now I know that not everybody in Breathitt Co. cares about football, and that's ok. What concerns me is that I think there is a large group of people who don't care about anything.

Complete apathy.... but for some reason, those are the people who choose to complain.

One of my favorite quotes is "The person rocking the boat isn't the one rowing." 

I love Eastern Kentucky, but I am afraid for it.

I wish I had the answer.

I wish I could create jobs and stop the drug problem and keep families together.

Those are all large problems that outweigh any problems our sports programs may face, and there isn't one single thing that I can do about them on my own.

What I can do, though, is offer future generations some hope.

It's why you'll never see me give up on a player.

They may be missing a block on the field... but I have no idea what they are going home to.

And even if I know they are going home to a mom and dad who fully supports them, I also know that being a teenage is tough, and you can't ever have enough support.

But then there's the fine line of coddling our kids, which is easy to do. It's easy to make excuses for them and to allow them to pretend that they are greater than they are... because everybody's kid is the best.


Which brings me to the other reason I'm disillusioned. See, my philosophy on football is that it is a character building game. It teaches teamwork and discipline and it's hard.

But I'm sad to say that in this game that I love, character is becoming questionable.

I understand everyone has the right to their own opinion, and our nation is far from perfect.

And I understand that oppression is real and that racial tensions are real and that even 50 years after the Civil Rights Movement there are still very large gaps.

But this whole not standing for the National Anthem really gets me.

And the fact that the NFL is just letting it go really leaves me shaking my head.

And again, that's  completely from my perspective... but I know a lot of soldiers from all races and religions died so that Old Glory can be waved and The Star-Spangled Banner can be played.

Again, I wish I knew the answer for that. I wish I knew how everyone could be treated fairly and feel loved and respected.

I guess all I can do is my small part, and treat everyone the way I'd like to be treated.

Keep being a cheerleader, and pray for better things.

His grace is sufficient, even when football leaves me shaking my head.

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