FIT@50 / week 81
This is my first season of Texas high school football. I’ve not been to a high school football game since I last felt the sharp crack of my left tibia and fibula in 1982. While much less painful than that October night, I’ve enjoyed becoming a drum-line booster for our 14-year-old.
I love sports. I don’t care if it’s pee-wee football or senior citizens Bocce ball, I enjoy the skill but more importantly, the heart of the competitor. It’s why I will not watch the NFL or any other team endorsing a disregard for America’s principles over the purpose of turning a profit.
When high schoolers kneel during the National Anthem to protest social injustices, just what injustices are they protesting? Maybe they are protesting the fact that over half of children their age live at or below the poverty level, and instead of getting to stay after school to play a game, they leave for work.
Maybe they protest that while Nike, UnderArmor and Riddell adorn their prepubescent bodies, kids from families who cannot afford socks will drop out of school at a rate 7 times higher than those who kneel while our nation’s anthem is played.
And I’ll add that less than 30% of students to busy working after school jobs to feed themselves and their families than to play a game on Friday night will enroll in college. Oh, and of those that do, less than 50% will graduate.
Protesting an unspecified purpose is no protest at all—it’s imitation. I’ve yet to have the term “social injustice” operationalized. The only specific point of clarity is the name of a football team’s second string quarterback.
The ignominy of social imitation without fully understanding the implications is that only .04% of high school students who qualify will enlist in the military. Those 2 players out of a 54 person roster have already illustrated behavior non-conducive to military eligibility.
While I’m sure the back-up QB they pretend to understand appreciates the disregard for their yet undetermined futures, please accept that he’s fully enjoying the fruits of his one or two good seasons that netted him millions more than their relatives combined will have earned over multiple generations of living in a free nation.
So back to Texas high school football. Our 8-year-old likes a girl from his class. A few weeks ago, I jokingly suggested he wear a tie to the game to impress her. He balked at the idea. Tonight, we pile in to drive to the stadium. It’s a chilly fall evening, so lil’ dude has his Harley Davidson jacket zipped up tight.
He flashes a smile and yanks down on the zipper. Yep, he’s got a tie clipped to his t-shirt. He seals up the surprise until they meet. Unfortunately, she didn’t show. Heartbroken, we return home and he sighs, “I wore this tie for nothing.”
I thought about it and understood it wasn’t for nothing. Although he didn’t like the look or idea of that checkered polyester tie over his school spirit t-shirt, he wore it for the right reason—respect for someone/something he cared about.
That’s much more than I can say for those children on their knees surrendering the honor of having the freedom to play games on Friday nights in the name of social injustices while 51% of their peers cannot afford the cost of a stadium ticket.