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By Susan Olling

It’s that time of year again.  Yes, when normally sane-looking people have to make a pilgrimage to the nearest television or stadium to watch a football game.  Why?
During a hotel stay recently, last year’s Buckeye Nut U. vs. Ann Arbor Tech game was being repeated.  This Buckeye Nut U. alumna, who went to most of the home games during her time at The University, read a copy of the McPaper and tried to ignore the screen.  I didn’t watch this thing last fall, no reason to watch now.  I did notice that the Buckeye Nut U. players didn’t wear their usual home uniform (at least the one I remember).  These new ensembles need to go away. There aren’t enough adjectives to describe these atrocities to the retinas.  Thank goodness for the McPaper.
I can’t understand why last season’s nonsense had to be regurgitated.  Any ideas?
Speaking of The University, a big thank you to whoever back there helpfully sent a postcard with the football schedule and game watch sites in our area.  I was curious about the 25 Nov opponent: TTUN.  Guess someone couldn’t remember the team’s name.  Ann Arbor Tech is much more creative than TTUN.  And clearer.  Oh yes, the postcard went into the shredder while I had a good laugh.
Unlike what seems to be going on in western Ohio, other parts of the country are seeing a decrease in the number of youth and high school football players, and some high school  football programs are disappearing.  Parents are having second thoughts about encouraging their sons to play football.  Perhaps they’re being overly protective.  Perhaps there are other sports in which to participate.  A high school between Baltimore and Washington, D.C. ended its varsity program due to a “lack of sufficient players and concern for student safety.”  Recent articles are citing safety as just one reason some high schools are closing down their football programs.  Not only is there concern for the players’ general safety at work.  We’ve read and seen quite a bit about the relationship between concussions, chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), and playing football.   The cost of a football program, for school districts that haven’t recovered from the economic downturn about ten years ago, has been a reason for discontinuing football.  Demographic changes are also fueling the decrease.  There are schools with significant populations of students (and their parents) who haven’t been exposed to football and don’t understand why football’s important.
A Washington Post op-ed writer described football as being in a “fade pattern”.  It won’t disappear completely, but it won’t be the overwhelming fan favorite that we’ve known.  He compared football players on a team from the mid-1960’s to players today.  The quarterback for the mid-1960’s team, who weighed all of 177 pounds, was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame after his professional career ended.  Unfortunately, he also had “moderately severe” CTE before he died from cancer two years ago.  No surprise, today’s college players (and more than a few high school players) are much heavier (and faster) than fifty years ago.  What does this mean?  The kinetic energy of a football game in 2017 is much greater.  My least favorite college courses were two quarters of physics, but I do remember kinetic energy from all that.   If you’re larger and faster Player A and hit Player B, the kinetic energy from Player A  goes to Player B.  The collision may look spectacular from the comfort of your house, but Player B may at least need help leaving the field.
This same writer describes college football as the “appendage of higher education”.  I strongly disagree.   Higher education is the appendage of college football.  Must have bigger and better stadiums.  When I was a student, Ohio Stadium seated a cozy 88,000 or so.  It’s ballooned to a monstrosity enlarged, apparently, just to seat more rear ends.  We should just call college football teams what they are:  NFL farm teams.  I would love to see college football rosters that include the player’s majors.   Probably quite a number of exercise studies majors and the like.   And undeclared.  I’m appalled when I see articles describing how much some college football coaches are paid.  Four million or more dollars per year just to coach football?!  Ri-i-i-ight.  And I know what I can tell the next pimply-voiced Buckeye Nut U. student calling for money.  Evidently, one of the highest paid of these gentlemen described football as “the last bastion of hope for toughness in America in men.”   Perhaps this coach should think about booking a stay at Parris Island or San Diego.   I understand it’s quite a memorable twelve weeks.
One of my college friends suggested in last year’s Christmas card that the lot of us should go to a football game back in Columbus in the fall.  I responded that I hoped they would have fun; I wouldn’t be there.  I suspect I was booted from more than one Christmas card list.  Oh well.

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