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401(k)s, abortion, youth football: 15 things we do now that will be considered unthinkable in 50 years - Vox
[via: https://kottke.org/19/04/what-do-we-do-now-that-will-be-unthinkable-in-50-years ]

"Youth tackle football
Bosses
Eating meat
Conspicuous consumption
The drug war
The way we die
Banning sex work
401(k)s
Ending the draft
Facebook and Google
Abortion
Self-driving cars
Our obsession with rationality
Abandoning public education
The idea of a “wrong side of history”



"Some 50 years ago, in 1964, 42 percent of Americans smoked cigarettes. Smoking in bars and offices was normal and cigarettes were given to soldiers as part of military rations. Half of American physicians smoked. Ads for cigarettes bombarded the American public. That year, the surgeon general released a report outlining the health risks of smoking. Two years later, only 40 percent of Americans said that they believed smoking was a major cause of cancer.

Today, we know that smoking is bad for our health. We’ve banned smoking in most indoor public spaces. We stopped allowing tobacco companies to advertise and forced them to put warning labels on cigarette boxes. By 2001, 71 percent of the country said they recognized smoking was a major cause of cancer, and by 2017, the rate of smokers dropped to 14 percent. The habit is now looked at as a relic of the past, something we’ve come to accept as unquestionably harmful.

When we think about what common habits, social norms, or laws that are widely considered unthinkable in today’s world, a variety of past atrocities come to mind. We could point to bloodletting, Jim Crow-era segregation, and drinking and driving as being on the “wrong side” of history.

But what modern practices will we one day think of as barbaric? It’s a framework invoked frequently in political or scientific beliefs: Actor Harrison Ford recently said leaders who deny climate change are on the “wrong side of history.” President Barack Obama said Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine was on the “wrong side of history.” Filmmaker Spike Lee said that President Donald Trump himself is on the “wrong side of history.”

So what, by 2070 — some 50 years in the future — will join this group? We asked 15 thinkers, writers, and advocates to take their best guess.

Bioethicist Peter Singer says people will stop the habit of conspicuous consumption. “The ostentatious display of wealth, in a world that still has many people in need, is not in good taste. Within 50 years, we’ll wonder how people did not see that,” he writes.

Historian Jennifer Mittelstadt predicts that our volunteer army will be widely considered a mistake: “Fifty years from now Americans will observe with shock the damage to both foreign policy and domestic institutions wrought by our acceptance of an increasingly privatized, socially isolated, and politically powerful US military.”

For philosopher Jacob T. Levy, the very idea of there being a “wrong side of history” is wrong itself.

Other answers range from kids playing tackle football to expecting workers to invest in 401(k)s."
us  future  obsolescence  barbarity  draft  cars  self-drivingcars  retirement  saving  drugwar  football  americanfootball  conspicuousconsumption  capitalism  consumption  rationality  scientism  publiceducations  publicschools  schools  schooling  education  facebook  google  abortion  war  military  sexwork  death  dying  meat  food  howwelive  predictions  history  petersinger  kristatippett  jaboblevy  jennifermittelstadt  haiderwarraich  kathleenfrydl  meredithbroussard  chrisnowinski  adiaharveywingfield  bhaskarsunkara  horizontality  hierarchy  inequality  jacobhacker  economics  society  transportation 
5 weeks ago by robertogreco
The Fight Over Football’s Future Is Now a Battle for California’s Soul - The Ringer
"So what will happen next? It’s possible that flag football will eventually displace tackle football among youth, and the numbers will go back up as we come to terms with the risks involved for those in high school and beyond; in fact, the case for youth flag football is increasingly being made by coaches and NFL veterans like John Madden and Drew Brees, who has said he won’t allow his own children to play tackle football until middle school. But without knowing how science might advance, or whether equipment might evolve, it’s also possible to imagine football becoming an increasingly regional sport that’s centered even more in the Southeast and is slowly de-emphasized on the West Coast. Within the past three years, Georgia has nearly overtaken California as the third-largest college football recruiting state in the country.

It’s easy to imagine football being played primarily by wealthy private schools or well-subsidized public schools that can afford to invest in the most expensive safety measures (and weather the changes in the insurance market), or by athletes from underprivileged communities who are seeking a way out. A school like Lowell, for instance, doesn’t need football to survive.

On the practice field, Danny Chan tells me that one of his best players sat out most of the year while in concussion protocol, citing this as proof that things aren’t the same as they used to be when all those 1960s and ’70s-era NFL players—whose brains wound up at Boston University—were in their prime. When that parent of his star running back pulled her child from football in 2017, Chan questioned why she didn’t lobby the city’s public schools to ban the sport altogether. Or do you only care about your own kid? he asked her.

This is the crux of the philosophical disagreement, one that bleeds into our modern political debate about paternalistic government overreach and the perceived existence of the “nanny state.” During my conversation with Archie, she points to car seats for children as an example of how our safety standards have evolved over time. And during my conversation with Rafter, he brings up car seats as a way of pointing out that we’ve adapted to modern standards without outlawing driving altogether. So whose responsibility is it to mitigate that risk, and how far should we go in mandating these safety measures? And what do we lose in making these choices?

“Football, in particular, offers communities things of value,” Rafter says. “It’s hard to measure, except through stories and testimonials. I can’t put it in a medical or scientific document. Nobody’s allowing us to have that conversation. But that’s a piece that would be a huge loss, in the worst-case scenario, in the state of California.”

The question, then, is whether you believe that those stories and testimonials depend on the existence of football, or that you feel they’re merely an echo of the communities themselves. Maybe football will someday reinvent itself in a progressive manner, the way it did at the turn of the 20th century. Maybe our cultural and scientific progress as a society means that we should eventually leave it behind. All those years ago, when Stanford and Cal dropped football in favor of rugby, Roberta J. Park wrote that the school’s presidents presumed they were promoting a safer game. But Park also made another, more curious observation: The games we play don’t really influence our morality. They just reflect who we are."
california  sports  football  americanfootball  2019  children  youth  teens  brain  health  rugby  history  athletics  parenting  activism  sanfrancisco  georgia  texas  florida 
january 2019 by robertogreco
Talent. A Football Scholarship. Then Crushing Depression. - The New York Times
"Maybe you have never heard of Isaiah Renfro. He did not start at the University of Washington, nor did he play in the N.F.L. But you should know his struggle. There are scores like him, young athletes on college campuses grappling with mental illness — a crisis that is only now getting serious attention.

What experts know is this: Recent studies place suicide as the third leading cause of death for college athletes, behind motor vehicle accidents and medical issues.

And nearly 25 percent of college athletes who participated in a widely touted 2016 study led by researchers at Drexel University displayed signs of depressive symptoms.

Since that percentage is roughly in line with the general college population, the findings countered a long-held belief that athletes are less likely than their peers to become depressed — largely because they benefit from regular, emotion-lifting exercise.

As the stigma of mental illness has eased, the reporting of cases has increased. But experts also believe that young athletes now face more stress, which contributes to mental illness, than ever before.

“Performance and parental pressure, social media, more games on TV, more players who think they can go to the pros,” said Timothy Neal, the director of athletic training education at Concordia University in Ann Arbor, Mich., and a nationally recognized expert on mental health and college sports.

The N.C.A.A. is playing catch-up.

“We are still so young in addressing this,” said Brian Hainline, a neurologist who in 2013 became the N.C.A.A.’s first chief medical officer. He cited increasing concern not only about depression, but also about bipolar, eating, anxiety and attention deficit disorders, as well as addiction. “Mental health is our single most important priority.”

What happened to Isaiah Renfro seemed to be a result of this combustible mix, where brain chemistry meets the burdens of reaching success and then maintaining it.

He was hardly alone in his struggle."
athletics  anxiety  mentalhealth  depression  2018  universities  colleges  highered  highereducation  parenting  expectations  americanfootball  pressure  health 
november 2018 by robertogreco
The Heresy of Zone Defense | Thomas Cummins Art & Architectural Photography | San Antonio, Tx
"Consider this for a moment: Julius Erving’s play was at once new and fair! The rules, made by people who couldn’t begin to imagine Erving’s play, made it possible. If this doesn’t intrigue you, it certainly intrigues me, because, to be blunt, I have always had a problem with “the rules,” as much now as when I was younger. Thanks to an unruled and unruly childhood, however, I have never doubted the necessity of having them, even though they all go bad, and despite the fact that I have never been able to internalize them. To this day, I never stop at a stop sign without mentally patting myself on the back for my act of good citizenship, but I do stop (usually) because the alternative to living with rules—as I discovered when I finally learned some—is just hell. It is a life of perpetual terror, self-conscious wariness, and self-deluding ferocity, which is not just barbarity, but the condition of not knowing that you are a barbarian. And this is never to know the lightness of joy—or even the possibility of it—because such joys as are attendant upon Julius Erving’s play require civilizing rules that attenuate violence and defer death. They require rules that translate the pain of violent conflict into the pleasures of disputation—into the excitements of politics, the delights of rhetorical art, and competitive sport. Moreover, the maintenance of such joys requires that we recognize, as Thomas Jefferson did, that the liberating rule that civilized us yesterday will, almost inevitably, seek to govern us tomorrow, by suppressing both the pleasure and the disputation. In so doing, it becomes a form of violence itself.

An instance: I can remember being buoyed up, as a youth, by reading about Jackson Pollock in a magazine and seeing photographs of him painting. I was heartened by the stupid little rule through which Pollock civilized his violence. It’s okay to drip paint, Jackson said. The magazine seemed to acquiesce: Yeah, Jackson’s right, it seemed to say, grudgingly, Dripping paint is now within the rules. Discovering this, I was a little bit more free than I was before, and I know that it was a “boy thing,” about privileging prowess at the edge of control and having the confidence to let things go all strange—and I know, as well, that, in my adolescent Weltanschauung, the fact that Jackson Pollock dripped paint somehow justified my not clearing the debris from the floor of my room (which usually, presciently, resembled a Rauschenberg combine). Even so, I had a right to be shocked a few years later when I enrolled in a university and discovered that Pollock’s joyous permission had been translated into a prohibitive, institutional edict: It’s bad not to drip! the art coaches said. It means you got no soul! Yikes!

Henceforth, it has always seemed to me that the trick of civilization lies in recognizing the moment when a rule ceases to liberate and begins to govern—and this brings us back to the glory of hoops. Because among all the arts of disputation our culture provides, basketball has been supreme in recognizing this moment of portending government and in deflecting it, by changing the rules when they threaten to make the game less beautiful and less visible, when the game stops liberating and begins to educate. And even though basketball is not a fine art—even though it is merely an armature upon which we project the image of our desire, while art purports to embody that image—the fact remains that every style change that basketball has undergone in this century has been motivated by a desire to make the game more joyful, various, and articulate, while nearly every style change in fine art has been, in some way, motivated by the opposite agenda. Thus basketball, which began this century as a pedagogical discipline, concludes it as a much beloved public spectacle, while fine art, which began this century as a much-beloved public spectacle, has ended up where basketball began—in the YMCA or its equivalent—governed rather than liberated by its rules."



"The long-standing reform coalition of players, fans, and professional owners would have doubtless seen to that, since these aesthetes have never aspired to anything else. They have never wanted anything but for their team to win beautifully, to score more points, to play faster, and to equalize the opportunity of taller and shorter players—to privilege improvisation, so that gifted athletes, who must play as a team to win (because the game is so well-designed), might express their unique talents in a visible way. Opposing this coalition of ebullient fops is the patriarchal cult of college-basketball coaches and their university employers, who have always wanted to slow the game down, to govern, to achieve continuity, to ensure security and maintain stability. These academic bureaucrats want a “winning program” and plot to win programmatically, by fitting interchangeable players into pre-assigned “positions” within the “system.” And if this entails compelling gifted athletes to guard little patches of hardwood in static zone defenses and to trot around on offense in repetitive, choreographed patterns until they and their fans slip off into narcoleptic coma, then so be it. That’s the way Coach wants it. Fortunately, almost no one else does; and thus under pressure from the professional game, college basketball today is either an enormously profitable, high-speed moral disgrace or a stolid, cerebral celebration of the coach-as-auteur—which should tell us something about the wedding of art and education.

In professional basketball, however, art wins. Every major rule change in the past sixty years has been instituted to forestall either the Administrator’s Solution (Do nothing and hold on to your advantage) or the Bureaucratic Imperative (Guard your little piece of territory like a mad rat in a hole). The “ten-second rule” that requires a team to advance the ball aggressively, and the “shot-clock rule” that requires a team to shoot the ball within twenty-four seconds of gaining possession of it, have pretty much eliminated the option of holding the ball and doing nothing with it, since, at various points in the history of the game, this simulacrum of college administration has nearly destroyed it.

The “illegal-defense rule” which banned zone defenses, however, did more than save the game. It moved professional basketball into the fluid complexity of post-industrial culture—leaving the college game with its zoned parcels of real estate behind. Since zone defenses were first forbidden in 1946, the rules against them have undergone considerable refinement, but basically they now require that every defensive player on the court defend against another player on the court, anywhere on the court, all the time."



"James Naismith’s Guiding Principles of Basket-Ball, 1891
(Glossed by the author)

1) There must be a ball; it should be large.
(This in prescient expectation of Connie Hawkins and Julius Erving, whose hands would reinvent basketball as profoundly as Jimi Hendrix’s hands reinvented rock-and-roll.)

2) There shall be no running with the ball.
(Thus mitigating the privileges of owning portable property. Extended ownership of the ball is a virtue in football. Possession of the ball in basketball is never ownership; it is always temporary and contingent upon your doing something with it.)

3) No man on either team shall be restricted from getting the ball at any time that it is in play.
(Thus eliminating the job specialization that exists in football, by whose rules only those players in “skill positions” may touch the ball. The rest just help. In basketball there are skills peculiar to each position, but everyone must run, jump, catch, shoot, pass, and defend.)

4) Both teams are to occupy the same area, yet there is to be no personal contact.
(Thus no rigorous territoriality, nor any rewards for violently invading your opponents’ territory unless you score. The model for football is the drama of adjacent nations at war. The model for basketball is the polyglot choreography of urban sidewalks.)

5) The goal shall be horizontal and elevated.
(The most Jeffersonian principle of all: Labor must be matched by aspiration. To score, you must work your way down court, but you must also elevate! Ad astra.)"
davehickey  via:ablerism  1995  basketball  rules  games  nfl  nba  defense  jamesnaismith  play  constrains  aesthetics  americanfootball  football  territoriality  possession  ownership  specialization  generalists  beauty  juliuserving  jimihendrix  bodies  hands  1980  kareemabdul-jabbar  mauricecheeks  fluidity  adaptability  ymca  violence  coaching  barbarism  civility  sports  body 
december 2017 by robertogreco
HEWN, No. 232
"The University of Wyoming 1969 Football Team. The "Black 14" wore black armbands in a game versus BYU to protest the racial policies of the school and the Mormon church. The players had their scholarships revoked and were kicked off the team.

For my high school gym teacher Mel Hamilton, one of the "Black 14": someone who taught us early that athletes have long been activists

I’ve been a Denver Broncos fan my whole life. I often joke that I learned to cuss watching my dad watch the team. My dad faulted quarterback Craig Morton for the team’s failures, and I remember the first game of the QB who replaced him – the string of profanities that my dad shouted at the television when that quarterback, John Elway, lined up behind a guard and not the center to take the snap. I’ve cheered for the Orange Crush and the Three Amigos, and I’ve remained a loyal fan through decades of humiliating losses when there wasn’t much to craft a good PR campaign or nickname around. (I never cheered for Tebow, to be clear.) Every time Shannon Sharpe leans in with his commentary on the politics of sports, I want to point out to everyone that he was a Bronco (and one of the greatest tight ends in the history of the game).

But I’ll never watch football again.

I decided to boycott the NFL this year because of the organization’s treatment of Colin Kaepernick. It’s so apparent that he’s been blackballed for his activism and his protest of police brutality. (Yes, I realize there’s an argument that he’s just not that good of a QB. I don’t buy it.) I’ve thought about ordering a Broncos jersey with a number 7 on it – a 7 with the name Kaepernick, not Elway on the back. But I’m not giving the NFL another dime.

The President of the United States spoke at a campaign rally in Alabama last night and said that NFL owners should fire players who take a knee, as Kaepernick famously did last season, during the national anthem. “Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out. He’s fired. He’s fired!” Trump role-played to roars of approval from the audience. These protests, Trump contended, are “a total disrespect of our heritage” – “our heritage,” of course, is quite the racist dog-whistle when speaking about the actions of Black football players to a crowd of white supporters in Alabama.

Trump also blasted the NFL for changes to the game that have meant “big hits” are penalized. “Today, if you hit too hard, 15 yards, throw him out of the game,” Trump said as he mimicked a referee throwing a flag.

Trump’s complaints about football came less than a day after The New York Times reported that former Patriots player and convicted murderer Aaron Hernandez had severe CTE when he killed himself in his jail cell earlier this year. Hernandez was 27. He’d last played football at age 23.

I haven’t been able to stop thinking about Hernandez’s story.

Like I said, I’m a Broncos fan, and there’s one team I hate more than any team in any sport. But I’ll tell you this: it’s a New England Patriot who’s finally convinced me: I will never watch football again. Kap could get re-hired. Every player tomorrow could take a knee. Doesn’t matter. I just can’t support this game any longer.

Wait a minute Audrey, I can hear you mutter. This is an ed-tech newsletter. What does any of this have to do with education? Everything. Football is a huge deal – culturally, financially – for schools, from middle school on. As we think about the future of education, we must not only address the labor of the professoriate, adjunct teachers or otherwise; we must address the labor of students, and particularly the labor of student-athletes. Pay them for starters, sure. But we’ve got to do more than that. I’ve previously argued that, until futurists address the NCAA in their predictions about the end of higher ed, their prattle about the coming techno-disruption means very little. Now more than ever it’s time to talk about the end of football. Two college football players died last weekend. Three died during the off-season.

This isn’t simply about exploitation of professional athletes. This isn’t simply about the politics of the NFL. The practices of K–12 education and college education are implicated here as well – how we treat and and how we create vulnerable bodies and minds. And how powerful white owners laugh all the way to the bank.

Yours in struggle,
~Audrey"
2017  americanfootball  football  us  sports  politics  ncaa  education  highered  edtech  protest  history 
september 2017 by robertogreco
Teaching ‘grit’ is bad for children, and bad for democracy | Aeon Ideas
"According to the grit narrative, children in the United States are lazy, entitled and unprepared to compete in the global economy. Schools have contributed to the problem by neglecting socio-emotional skills. The solution, then, is for schools to impart the dispositions that enable American children to succeed in college and careers. According to this story, politicians, policymakers, corporate executives and parents agree that kids need more grit.

The person who has arguably done more than anyone else to elevate the concept of grit in academic and popular conversations is Angela Duckworth, professor at the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania. In her new book, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, she explains the concept of grit and how people can cultivate it in themselves and others.

According to Duckworth, grit is the ability to overcome any obstacle in pursuit of a long-term project: ‘To be gritty is to hold fast to an interesting and purposeful goal. To be gritty is to invest, day after week after year, in challenging practice. To be gritty is to fall down seven times and rise eight.’ Duckworth names musicians, athletes, coaches, academics and business people who succeed because of grit. Her book will be a boon for policymakers who want schools to inculcate and measure grit.

There is a time and place for grit. However, praising grit as such makes no sense because it can often lead to stupid or mean behaviour. Duckworth’s book is filled with gritty people doing things that they, perhaps, shouldn’t.

Take Martin Seligman, the founder of positive psychology and Duckworth’s graduate school mentor. In a 1967 article, Seligman and his co-author describe a series of experiments on dogs. The first day, the dogs are placed in a harness and administered electrical shocks. One group can stop the shocks if they press their nose against a panel, and the other group cannot. The next day, all of the dogs are placed in a shuttle box and again administered shocks that the dogs can stop by jumping over a barrier. Most of the dogs who could stop the shocks the first day jumped over the barrier, while most of the dogs who suffered inescapable shock did not try, though a few did. Duckworth reflects upon this story and her own challenges in a college course in neurobiology. She decides that she passed the course because she would ‘be like the few dogs who, despite recent memories of uncontrollable pain, held fast to hope’. Duckworth would be like one of the dogs that got up and kept fighting.

At no point, however, does Duckworth express concern that many of the animals in Seligman’s study died or became ill shortly thereafter. Nor does she note that the CIA may have employed the theory of ‘learned helplessness’ to perform enhanced interrogation, regardless of Seligman’s stated opposition to torture. Duckworth acknowledges the possibility that there might be ‘grit villains’ but dismisses this concern because ‘there are many more gritty heroes’. There is no reason to assume this, and it oversimplifies the moral universe to maintain that one has to be a ‘grit villain’ to thoughtlessly harm people.

A second grit paragon in Duckworth’s book is Pete Carroll, the Super Bowl-winning coach of the Seattle Seahawks American football team. Carroll has created a culture of grit where assistant coaches chant: ‘No whining. No complaining. No excuses.’ She also commends Seahawk defensive back Earl Thomas for playing with ‘marvellous intensity’.

Duckworth has apparently not read any of the articles or seen any of the movies or television programmes detailing the long-term harm caused by playing professional football. President Barack Obama, among others, has said that he would not want a son, if he had one, to play football. Duckworth might have talked with football players who suffer from traumatic brain injuries.

Another role model, for Duckworth, is Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JPMorgan Chase. Dimon’s alma mater prep school has the motto of ‘grytte’, and Duckworth attributes JPMorgan Chase’s success to the grit of its leader: ‘In the 2008 financial crisis, Jamie steered his bank to safety, and while other banks collapsed entirely, JPMorgan Chase somehow turned a $5 billion profit.’ There is no basis for the word ‘somehow’ in this sentence. The Troubled Asset Relief Program provided JPMorgan Chase with $25 billion in 2008. In general, neither Duckworth nor the protagonists in her book dwell upon the political conditions that enable or thwart individual success.

Duckworth gives many more troublesome examples. The CEO of Cinnabon who never reflects on how she contributes to the obesity epidemic in the US. The Spelling Bee champs who don’t love to read. The West Point cadets who have to endure a borderline-hazing initiation rite called Beast.

Why don’t these people ever stop to think about what they are doing? We should not celebrate the fact that ‘paragons of grit don’t swap compasses’, as Duckworth puts it in her book. That might signal a moral failing on their part. The opposite of grit, often enough, is thinking, wondering, asking questions, and refusing to push a boulder up a hill.

Right now, many Americans want the next generation to be gritty. Already, school districts in California are using modified versions of Duckworth’s Grit Survey to hold schools and teachers accountable for how well children demonstrate ‘self-management skills’. Duckworth herself opposes grading schools on grit because the measurement tools are unreliable. But that stance overlooks the larger problem of how a grit culture contributes to an authoritarian politics, one where leaders expect the masses to stay on task.

Democracy requires active citizens who think for themselves and, often enough, challenge authority. Consider, for example, what kind of people participated in the Boston Tea Party, the Seneca Falls Convention, the March on Washington, or the present-day test-refusal movement. In each of these cases, ordinary people demand a say in how they are governed. Duckworth celebrates educational models such as Beast at West Point that weed out people who don’t obey orders. That is a disastrous model for education in a democracy. US schools ought to protect dreamers, inventors, rebels and entrepreneurs – not crush them in the name of grit."
grit  democracy  nicholastampio  angeladuckworth  marinseligman  positivepsychology  psychology  petecarroll  jamiedimon  americanfootball  jpmorganchase  2016 
may 2017 by robertogreco
Colin Kaepernick and What It Means To Be Patriotic In Schools – Student Voices
"In our classrooms, students are constantly asked to think deeper about the presented information, but simultaneously, our schools are structures for American obedience and compliance. Saying the pledge of allegiance before any learning happens means that any learning from the end makes the pledger assume that the learning happening shortly thereafter is part of this set of lessons that is impervious to critique and dissent. Every book, every equation, every piece of work that’s provided by every adult in the classroom is not worth amending or correcting because these are all American, and, if it’s American, it can’t be wrong. Obedience. Compliance.

Even though history scholars must read from multiple sources, first-hand accounts along with critical analyses of histories in order to get a larger scope of the narrative. In our K-12 schools, too many of our students are still dependent on one source, generally the story given by the winners. Slavery in America, for example, doesn’t always get taught as a longstanding crime against humanity that literally subjugated millions of people from the African continent that still has consequences until today. It gets taught as something that happened in the past and we’re all better now. The same goes for segregation, redlining, Native American genocide, Japanese internment, immigration policy during the 1920s and 30s, and any number of policies that don’t get taught as part of the grand American history.

Or that the pledge was part of a marketing scheme for the flags in schools. Or that it’s unconstitutional to compel kids to pledge allegiance to the flag.

America is religious about its American football, too. Certainly, football has taken over baseball as America’s most enthralling pastime. During the season, fans draw themselves along major league team lines and use pronouns like “our” and “we” to discuss the dozens of robust men on the field of play. Fans yell at other teams for their fortunes,embrace an unhealthy level of schadenfreude for successful teams that aren’t theirs, yell at their own teams for losses, and pick scapegoats they were once rooting for almost weekly. Sports fans don’t like to think that their players think about anything besides their given sport. They love to see ads showing players driven to success in the off-season. They love to see athletes signing memorabilia even after they’ve long retired from the game. They love to see athletes bruised, broken, beaten but ultimately coming back in the service of their teams i.e. billion-dollar corporations.

But the minute the athlete, especially the athlete of color, thinks to step out of line with their own visions of America, they’re relegated to the very status that made said protest possible.

When we look at post-9/11 America, our country offers “freedom” for countries which supposedly can’t speak for themselves and patriotism / nationalism for its own citizens. When our youngest citizens see the events of the past weekend, they should wonder why there’s been so much retaliation against a man who America otherwise forgot lead his team to a Super Bowl appearance. They should wonder why so few voters chose the current Democratic and Republican presidential nominees.

They should wonder why they’re told to wait and wait to engage in learning the depth and breadth of atrocities and victories that make our country what it is today.

They should ask themselves why so many of the people critical of a black millionaire athlete and a black President of the United States, who unironically wear Make America Great Again hats, also believe it’s unscrupulous to sit for the very America they don’t consider great anymore. Perhaps to many of its underserved and underrepresented citizens, especially the marginalized, this country’s never been great, but they do what they can. We need a new patriotism that embodies the labor and suppression that’s made the “America is great” narrative permissible.

Until then, it’s liberty and justice for some. I’ll pledge to that."
schools  education  2016  colinkaepernick  josévilson  protest  patriotism  nationalanthem  criticalthinking  compliance  obedience  publicschools  allegiance  pledgeofallegiance  us  policy  politics  history  flags  race  racism  sports  americanfootball  nfl  freedom  democracy 
september 2016 by robertogreco
Ladies of the Gridiron | KQED Truly CA - YouTube
[See also:
http://ww2.kqed.org/trulyca/ladies-of-the-gridiron/

"Filmmaker and visual anthropologist Briana Young needles into the huddle for a full-impact, jaw-dropping look at one of the final frontiers of gender equality: women’s tackle football. When most think of American Football, images spring to mind of raw, unbridled demonstrations of athletic might pushed to the max, but rarely do those images involve women.

Ladies of the Gridiron follows The Quake, a professional women’s tackle football team. These women embody all the same grit, sweat and dogged determination as their male counterparts, but without the money or fame. And beyond that, they must deal with a societal prejudice that keeps them very much on the periphery of professional sports, having to pay their own way even as other female athletes — such as those in the Lingerie League — draw a salary."]
towatch  documentary  sports  americanfootball  women  gender  edg 
july 2016 by robertogreco
The Funnel — The Gray Market
"Run the numbers above, and the percentages come out like this: 0.1 percent of Thompson's estimated 80,000 New York or London-based artists will make a million dollars or more; 0.4 percent will earn six figures and major gallery representation; and 6.3 percent will keep one foot in a gallery and the other in a supplementary job (or relationship, apparently).

But to me, those percentages only seem to tell us about mid-career or established artists––the rough equivalents of the "4-year career" NFL players. Of the alleged 30,0000 artists seeking galleries in NYC and London, how many rookies make the jump into the ranks of the represented every year?

To try to estimate their success rate, I went back to the 2014 TEFAF Art Market Report. From what I could cobble together there––and I'll put my calculations in the Comments section, if anyone is curious––the two featured cities hosted an estimated 1,728 primary market galleries during the survey year. That would suggest that only about 8.6 percent of artists joined a gallery roster in 2013––which, to me, seems roughly in line with Thompson's figures.

The upshot then: It looks like it's about five times easier to become a "signed rookie" in the art world (8.6 percent) than in the NFL (1.6 percent)... but it's actually almost twice as hard to earn a few hundred thousand dollars by making art (0.4 percent) than by playing pro football (0.75 percent).

Naturally, these numbers come with a couple of warnings. First, they obviously only cover two major art world cities. Second, I'm pulling Thompson's figures from the 2008 edition of his book, which means they're outdated––if we're willing to trust them at all. ("Stuffed Shark" is quieter about its methodology and sources than I'd like.)

But if we trust Thompson and combine the two caveats, the 2015 figures are likely even more extreme thanks to the industry's post-recession growth. Maybe not by an order of magnitude, but in a game of odds this long, every new competitor makes a difference.

I'm not writing this post to discourage striving artists about their chances. I am, however, writing it to make them aware of the battlefield they're entering. Despite all the romanticism still attached to fine art––especially by its hopeful practitioners––it's among the most competitive industries in the world.

So if you want to make a career of making work, approach it with the everyday intensity of a pro athlete, spurred on by what someone smarter than me once called "appropriate fear." Otherwise, the funnel is waiting to make you the wrong kind of statistic."

[See also: https://news.artnet.com/art-world/creative-economy-numbers-new-york-330374 ]
nfl  americanfootball  art  artmarket  economics  2015  timschneider  careers 
september 2015 by robertogreco
Marshawn Lynch and the Theater of Disobedience -- Fusion
[video URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SUI54niIfl8 ]

"In this installment of The Illipsis, Jay Smooth caps off the most recent NFL season by celebrating “this season’s real MVP,” Seattle Seahawks running back the Marshawn Lynch, whose ornery standoffishness should be considered a kind of guerrilla theater. “It’s shown us so much about how we all think America is supposed to work, and how differently some of us think about that than others,” Jay says. “For a whole lot of the rest of us, Marshawn Lynch’s theater of disobedience has been the most perfect, most poetic counternarrative about how we experience America and how we wish America could work.”"
marshawnlynch  disobedience  resistance  2015  jaysmooth  us  society  americanfootball  power  control  counternarrative 
february 2015 by robertogreco
Watching football after a traumatic brain injury — The Message — Medium
"I still watch football; I still drink Coca-Cola. I do these things in bad faith. I do them because they are ubiquitous; I do them because I do not know what I would do, if I did not. I do not know who I would be.

But any of these things could change tomorrow — and I have to confess, I don’t know how I would feel if they did. Cheated? Grateful?

Nothing is inevitable. Not even the NFL. Today it is a perfect machine of violence, spectacle, intrigue, and entertainment; today it is boxing, cigarettes, and Coca-Cola combined. Tomorrow it could be reduced to a fraction of itself, something at the periphery, a familiar scent in the air. Will our children even remember what it was like?"
2015  timcarmody  americanfootball  health  cigarettes  smoking  soda  football  culture  brain  change  taboos  nfl  sports 
february 2015 by robertogreco
George Sauer, the Super Bowl Hero Who Hated Football| The Lives They Lived | The New York Times Magazine
"Then he did something that almost nobody had done before and astonishingly few have done since: He opened up about just how awful it was to play professional football. The words he used were not ambiguous. He described how “the structure of pro football generally works to deny human values” and criticized its “chauvinistic authority.” He told Dave Anderson of The Times that “for me, playing pro football got to be like being in jail.” His plan for self-liberation was to become a writer — he took an assignment from Life magazine for an article about quitting pro football. He wrote 12,000 words that were never published.

A few years after he retired, in 1973, another disillusioned football player — also a wide receiver, for whatever that’s worth — would accomplish what Sauer could not. Peter Gent, who played five seasons for the Dallas Cowboys, published a dark, funny, profane novel called “North Dallas Forty,” which dramatized the ruthlessly competitive, militaristic elements of the game that tormented Sauer. In Gent’s voice, you can hear Sauer’s: “When an athlete, no matter what color jersey he wears, finally realizes that opponents and teammates alike are his adversaries, and he must deal and dispense with them all, he is on his way to understanding the spirit that underlies the business of competitive sport. There is no team, no loyalty, no camaraderie; there is only him, alone.”

The great sadness was that Sauer loved the essence of football and could not stay away from it. Failing to make headway as a writer, he returned to the sport, tentatively at first as a coach for Oberlin College, where the competitive atmosphere must have been a tad more humane. Then he signed up again as a player for the short-lived circus known as the World Football League.

The rest of his life was spent wandering, writing constantly but never publishing. He couldn’t bear the imperfections of his own prose, perhaps discovering, as Gent confessed in a new preface he wrote for “North Dallas Forty” in 2003, that “writing is the only thing I have done that comes close to being as terrifying as being a football player.” Like many football players before him, and surely many, many more to come, Sauer suffered from dementia at the end of his life. It is impossible to know whether it was caused by football, but there is no doubt that as much as the game made him, it also destroyed him, and that he sensed this even at the time.

Watching how football is played now — in which every single achievement on the field is rapturously celebrated, as if human experience scales no greater heights — it is hard not to wonder how much of this is compensatory, a high-pitched attempt to disguise the inhumanity of the game. Could these really be the happiest, most exuberant men on earth, or are they compelled to behave that way for our enjoyment? How many George Sauers are trapped behind those steely masks, dreaming of something else they would rather do with their lives if only they could escape? Every now and then, the secrets spill out. This season, people around the N.F.L. were shocked when John Moffitt, a journeyman lineman, up and quit the Denver Broncos, leaving a hefty salary on the table and leveling an indictment of football even bigger and more sweeping than Sauer’s. “How much do you really value intelligence,” Moffitt told ESPN the Magazine, “when as a society you continue to do unintelligent things?”"
georgesauer  americanfootball  2013  disillusionment  competition  petergent  authority  chauvinism  sports  self-liberation  writing  life  living  humanism  dehumanization 
december 2013 by robertogreco
Junior Seau Is Dead, Cont. - Ta-Nehisi Coates - The Atlantic
"I can't really over-emphasize how much this is a personal decision, and not—as one commenter put it—a "personal boycott."

I have no real designs to keep grown men from playing football. I don't really have designs on anything. I think as progressives we sometimes get trapped into discussing morality strictly in the paradigm of "affecting change."

But I think morality in the Emersonian paradigm—that "nothing is at last sacred, but the integrity of your own mind," that religion is what you do when no one's looking—is just as important. The Montgomery Boycott is not "only" important because of its results. You don't just protest segregation as a demonstration to other people, you also do so as a demonstration to self.

In football, as in so many other things, each of has to decide where that demonstration to self must be made. Personal morality is rarely improved in a crowd.

More later."
morality  healthcare  self  religion  spectators  personalmorality  crowds  professionalsports  ethics  headinjuries  americanfootball  sports  juniorseau  ta-nehisicoates  2012 
july 2012 by robertogreco
Junior Seau Is Dead - Ta-Nehisi Coates - The Atlantic
"Perhaps it's too much to expect them too. Malcolm Gladwell puts the responsibility right where it belongs:

"Slate: Should the NFL be banned too?"

"Gladwell: As long as the risks are explicit, the players warned, and those injured properly compensated, then I'm not sure we can stop people from playing. A better question is whether it is ethical to WATCH football. That's a harder question."

I'm not so sure that it's hard at all. The answer, at least for those displeased with pro football's response, seems pretty clear. Doing the damn thing is the hard part.

I now know that I have to go. I have known it for a while now. But I have yet to walk away. For me, the hardest portion is living apart--destroying something that binds me to friends and family. With people whom I would not pass another words, I can debate the greatest running back of all time. It's like losing a language."
morality  headinjuries  americanfootball  2012  juniorseau  nfl  healthcare  professionalsports  ethics  sports  ta-nehisicoates 
july 2012 by robertogreco
Very Deep in America by Lorrie Moore | The New York Review of Books
"“Rooting is in our blood,” Janet Malcolm has written, and when traveling around this country one would be hard-pressed not to notice that sports stadiums have become to the United States what opera houses are to Germany. Every community has one, even ones without much money. Friday Night Lights, whose final season has just come to a close, is a weekly hour-long dramatic series (forty-three minutes without commercials) whose focus is a high school football team and its place in a particular Texas town by the fictional name of Dillon—inspired by the real-life town of Odessa."
tv  fridaynightlights  lorriemore  television  2011  books  film  texas  sports  americanfootball  football  us  culture 
august 2011 by robertogreco
Oregon’s Speed-Freak Football - NYTimes.com [This reminds me of the system I used when coaching six-man flag football.]
"Kelly has transformed football into aerobic sport…style is particularly of moment because it is apparent football, at least in short term, will become less violent. Kelly's teams have found new way to intimidate, one that does not involve high-speed collisions & head injuries. "Some people call it a no-huddle offense, but I call it a no-breathing offense," Mark Asper, an Oregon offensive lineman "It's still football. We hit people. But after a while, the guys on the other side of the line are so gassed that you don't have to hit them very hard to make them fall over."...point of a play sometimes seems to be just to get it over w/, line up & run another. The play that preceded last touchdown was a 1-yard loss—setback in traditional offensive schemes…But "3rd & long" is not as difficult a proposition for offense when opposing defense can barely stand. "Obviously, all of our plays are designed to gain yards. But our guys understand cumulative effect of running them really fast."
college  football  ncaa  oregon  cv  sports  collegefootball  via:kottke  soccer  americanfootball  futbol 
december 2010 by robertogreco
Super Bowl Gris-Gris: The New Yorker
"In and around New Orleans, the remarkable success enjoyed by the Saints this football season, culminating in the team’s first Super Bowl appearance, can be partly explained by the favorable influence of gris-gris. The term, pronounced “gree-gree,” technically refers to a voodoo amulet, composed of graveyard dirt, eyes of newt, and other readily available local ingredients, meant to ward off evil spells; in looser usage, gris-gris translates roughly to the dark magic itself, which can be directed in favor of, or against, a particular party’s interests. The Saints are a talented and imaginative team, but only gris-gris can account for some of their unlikely victories this season, including the win over the Vikings in the conference championship game, in which Minnesota’s Brett Favre inexplicably abandoned all football sense, tossing a doomed late-game pass into the hands of a Saints defender."

[see also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gris-gris_(talisman) ]
gris-gris  vodou  voodoo  neworleans  americanfootball  superbowl  superstition  religion  talisman  amulet  nola  voudoun 
february 2010 by robertogreco
A modest proposal for improving football: the ‘time-in’ - The Boston Globe
"If you’ve ever noticed that football games slow to a predictable crawl at the end of each half, the time-in is the rule for you...When the clock is stopped, for whatever reason, a coach could call a “time-in,” & force the clock to start up again. Think of it as the antimatter version of the timeout...Which brings us to the ultimate question: what is the point of sports? Do we want our teams to follow a series of guidelines that improve their chance of victory? Or do we want excitement? The NBA answered this question in the 1950’s, when winning teams found that the best strategy was to simply dilly-dally and run down the clock. While clearly a good strategy, it sometimes had the unpleasant side effect of preventing anything from happening at all, causing fans to storm out & demand their money back. This precipitated the shot clock, the 24-second countdown designed to ensure that coaches’ incentives to win were in line with the fans’ desire to watch players actually shoot a basketball."
football  americanfootball  rules  sports  entertainment  via:kottke 
august 2009 by robertogreco
The Helmet Project
"The "Helmet Project" web site is an attempt by its creator, a completely amateur graphic artist and a long-time fan of football at all levels, to create and maintain an on-line "catalog" or "atlas" of uniform-sized, accurate, and up-to-date images repres
graphics  design  sports  colleges  americanfootball  football  logos  history  reference 
september 2007 by robertogreco

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