I remember flying through the air-ass first in my first hitting drill of High School football. Lying there on the ground like a fallen tree, my coach laughed and jogged over. Gripping his hand in my shoulder pads, he yanked me up me up and cackled, “Ha! That should put some hair on your chest!” A few weeks later I was ejected from my JV game for taking a swing at a kid. I was slapped on the butt and called a man that day.
Last night I sat with a crowded party of Christians watching the Beyonce half time show when I heard a collective moan of eyes under attack. All stunned and appalled. “It could be worse,” one whispered, trying to rebound the morale, “it could’ve been… Rihanna!” A gasp rippled across the room.
I guess my friends weren’t the only ones. Christians have taken to social media declaring their disapproval of the performance by Mrs. Carter. It has been called “soft core porn” and an example of “every young man’s battle” and a clear misrepresentation of what it means to be a strong and successful woman. (Joy Bennett has a good reflection regarding this line of thought.)
And I get it. She was, after all, wearing next to nothing. She did lick her thumb and then run it down her cleavage. And, let’s not forget, those pelvic thrusts!
But in the three or so hours of the most widely watched event history, I never heard, so much as a peep, about what kind of message the NFL sends to young boys. Don’t get me wrong, I love the game, but I am puzzled as to how Beyonce’s hips can bother us more than the worship of violence on the field.
I know some will say, “It’s a game! It’s a sport! It’s a passion!” And they’re right, it is a game, but its not pretend. These guys are actually actively trying to knock the crap out of each other. And your kids see that and it teaches them that this is what it means to be a man. This is what men with hair on their chests do. They hit each other and bloody the other’s nose. And if that’s not your thing, you’re a wimp. A girl.
And we wonder why so many men (mark driscoll) have grown into such an insecure sense of manhood?
Also, what about the health related impacts that are rarely, if ever, addressed? With each season played, the life expectancy of a player drops by three years. On average, most career players spend four in the game, dropping their life expectancy to 55.
Junior Seau only made it to age 43 before he intentionally drove himself off a cliff, raising other questions about the long-term impact of brief concussions on the emotional health of a player…. But that’s all just a fancy way to say we need to talk about our “feelings”. Something that is certainly not allowed in the rub-some-dirt-in-it culture of football.
The game of football (and a few other sports) are some of my favorite past times. Nothing really comes close to strapping on the cleets, blaring rap music in my ears, and stepping out before the Friday night crowd feeling like a Star. It’ll be a sad day if football games ever become banned. The game is great, but its culture and regulations needs some fine-tuning.
There is such a temptation to jump all over a wardrobe malfunction or a suggestive shake and call it What’s Wrong With Our World. I would implore my Christian brothers and sisters to take this rare layout of an event, and see what it really means to miss the forest for the tree.