In every relationship there are parts you love and parts you hate. My relationship with football is no different.
There are parts of football that I absolutely adore, but at the same time, I find myself conflicted with the amount of damage it does to the body. I can’t seem to fully commit to the sport, and here’s why.
My love letter to football:
During football season, my girlfriend tells her friends that she only has a boyfriend six days a week.
That’s because on Sundays, I watch football all day. Seriously.
From 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., I sit on the couch not missing a single touchdown. I have my phone in my left hand to check Twitter updates and my tablet in my right hand to keep track of my fantasy teams. In front of me, I have 50 inches of high definition, unadulterated football.
And I love every second of it.
I started watching football at a young age. Every year, my dad would have tons of people over to watch the Super Bowl while we all chowed down on his famous Texas-style chili. This has been a tradition since before I was born. Like most football-watching homes, the Super Bowl is a holiday in the Martinez-Esquibel residence.
Memories created around football are ones I will never forget, and I only have football to thank for that.
My angry drunk text to my ex, football:
All four years of high school, my parents did not allow me to try out for the football team. Every Friday, all my friends would wear their jerseys to school before the game and then be enamored by my whole class on Monday about how they played.
As upset as I was watching from the stands, looking back I can’t thank my parents enough for their decision (I guess you were right, Dad). I saw a lot of my friends deal with injuries that some might suffer from for the rest of their lives.
Football is like a human meat grinder. It takes young men, squeezes out all the money it can by damaging their bodies for life and leaves them jobless in their late 20s or early 30s.
No one is quite sure of the full repercussions of the head traumas that players suffer. Symptoms of depression, Alzheimer’s and dementia have all been connected to football head trauma.
This is on top of all the back, neck, leg and arm problems players suffer as well. I know it’s a bit of a stretch, but I believe football players are modern-day gladiators. That is how violent and dangerous the sport is and why I hate football.
If I ever have a son, I know I will absolutely not let him play football due to injury concerns. But I also know that if I have a son, he will be sitting right next to me eating my dad’s chili and watching the Super Bowl.
In life, you have to take the good with the bad, and that’s exactly what I’ll do with football.
Nick Martinez can be reached at [email protected] or @THENickMartinez on Twitter.