SPORTS: NOT NECESSARILY THE HEALTHIEST ACTIVITY – Marilyn Armstrong

RDP Sunday–Gridiron

Unlike baseball, which I enjoy regardless of who is playing, though I admit I prefer seeing our team play when they let us, we aren’t going to discuss how MLB has made it nearly impossible to see one’s home-team without buying a mega cable package or owning season tickets to the sport. That’s another issue which gets a separate cover.

Today is Super Bowl day when the winners of the National and American leagues in football play each other for unbelievably expensive rings and the option of being the talking heads for who knows how many products on television. At least we can still see football on the regular network and not have to pay hundreds of dollars extra to watch our own teams play.

Although most non-football-addicted American think that football is like it used to be 20 years ago, it isn’t. Excessive roughness is a call made constantly on the field. The giant pile-ups of huge guys to destroy the quarter or running back are illegal now. It isn’t like it used to be which I think is very much for the good of the game.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

If you have been not watching football because the last time you saw it was the Disney cartoon starring Goofy, you have missed a lot of the changes that have come to the game. It’s still a rough game because sports are rough. All sports are rough, even the ones that don’t look particularly rough.

Take, for example, baseball. Do you know what pitching hundreds of balls over the course of 160 season game does to an arm? Or even the sliding and running … or that crouching the catcher does … do to a human body?

How about horseback riding? Do you know how many jockeys end their lives in wheelchairs? And how many are killed from falls that no helmet will fix?

Sports are hard on humans. All sports are hard on humans. Even sitting at a computer all day long is rough on parts of your body.

So if your reason for not watching football is that it’s too rough for a mortal humanoid, consider warfare and many of the “easy” sports we all are required to learn in school. Volleyball (tore my ankle up on that one), running (how many knees needed rebuilding after that?), shot-putting, pole vaulting, tennis (does your elbow still work?) … all of which take a serious toll on the person playing it.

English style riding and jumping

I know that we all think it’s healthy that our kids get up and go out in the world enjoy physical activity because that’s healthy, right?  Healthy activity comes at a price. Knees and backs are destroyed and many are never repaired.

Some folks are stronger than others and can withstand the battering better than others. Some can simply take more abuse, but others can take a lot less and don’t know it until it’s too late.

Like me, for example. I fell off a few horses. I didn’t even fall very hard, but I fell right on my butt. Or more to the point, I feel on the base of my spine. After a while — not a long while, either — I couldn’t walk properly anymore. I didn’t stop riding, even after the surgery which should have stopped me.

How about downhill skiers? And hockey and figure skaters?

There IS no sport that does not take a serious and potentially life-threatening toll on the body performing it.

Players have multiple surgeries on shoulders and elbows and spines and knees and get clobbered badly enough to end their life with sports-induced Alzheimer’s disease.

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS – JANUARY 13: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots throws during the first quarter in the AFC Divisional Playoff Game against the Los Angeles -Chargers at Gillette -Stadium on January 13, 2019, in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Don’t be fooled by thinking if something “looks easy” that it is easy. Ballerinas destroy their feet while male dancers crush their spines. The life of a professional dancer is shorter than that of an NFL player. And that’s not even sports. That’s ART.

BOSTON, MA – October 24: Boston Red Sox’s Andrew Benintendi catches a fly ball hit by Los Angeles Dodger’s Brian Dozier during the fifth inning of Game Two of Major League Baseball’s World Series at Fenway Park on October 24, 2018, in Boston, Massachusetts. (Staff photo by Christopher Evans)

Does any of this mean we should all stop doing anything risky? Of course not. But we should also be aware that when our kids complain that something is hurting them, to make sure that there’s no serious damage and to get that possible hurting checked by a doctor who actually knows the difference between bruising and serious damage.

I do not even know how many people are twisted into wrecks by middle age from sports they played when they were teenagers.

10 thoughts on “SPORTS: NOT NECESSARILY THE HEALTHIEST ACTIVITY – Marilyn Armstrong”

  1. Never received any serious injuries from sports. Aching knees and back are bothersome but not serious, so far.
    I did receive lots of blows to the head. That may explain a few things about my behavior. When my wife complains I tell her I was banged on the head a lot playing sports. Does not help my case much.

    It has been a fun week in Atlanta. Talked to a young couple last night st the Waffle House who flew down from Boston yesterday to go to the game. They were happy with the warm weather here.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. But I really wasn’t. I was well past the point when riding was even remotely safe, so as long as the horse wasn’t moving, I felt okay. I should have stopped riding 25 years earlier and didn’t, so my back was much worse than it would have been.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I wince when I see the hard hits in football. I know these guys train and are in good shape but even the hardest bodies begin to crumble with time. I remember seeing Joe Namath at the end of his career. It was hard seeing him limp around the bar. But Broadway Joe was smiling. The lights were still on in his toys in the attic.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m amazed at the intricacy of pro football. So many different plays. When the Quarterback takes the snap, he must see, absorb and function in a blur of seconds. Not for “stupid jocks” as some think.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Yes, sport can take its toll on the human body that’s for sure. People may think cricket seems a sedate game but they get back injuries, shoulder injuries, torn muscles, broken fingers and toes, injured joints. I heard the story of one well known Australian cricketer whose brother (a non-cricketer) had to have a shoulder reconstruction just from the damage done bowling balls for his batting brother to practice on. Now that’s family loyalty.

    Liked by 1 person

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