I didn’t watch my new-hometown Ohio State Buckeyes v. USC in the Cotton Bowl.
Or OK v. GA, or the Tigers v. the Tide.
Not even gonna watch the Eagles, my beloved, original-hometown Iggles, who I’ve rooted for since I was 6, play in the NFL playoffs. Not even if they make it to the Super Bowl for only the third time in my life.
Why am I giving up football?
Nope, has nothing to do with the National Anthem protests. I’m with the players. Nope, has nothing to do with the Buckeyes not getting into the playoffs.
I’m giving up football for a more simple and personal reason: Head injuries. Concussions. Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE).
As someone who has suffered a traumatic brain injury, or TBI, I don’t feel right watching large, strong men ramming their heads into one another, damaging their brains and creating life-long medical issues for themselves and their family members. And society. I get very upset when they cart someone off who has just suffered a concussion.
And no, I’m not calling on anyone else to join me. This is my issue. You can do whatever you want. Watch all the football you want. Or don’t watch.
And the thing of it is, I love watching football. My first job as a newspaper reporter was covering high school football. I worked with Randall Cunningham (remember him?) on his autobiography. I’ve watched every single Super Bowl. I can turn on a game, any game, and immediately understand what’s going on, figure out who to root for and become invested in the outcome.
But it’s time. I’ve given up football.
It admit it, I’ve regressed a few times this season. I’m weak. Watched the end of the Ohio State v. Penn State game. It was amazing. Watched a little bit of a couple Eagles games, including the one where Carson Wentz limped off the field – breaking my heart.
Here’s the thing about why it’s so hard to go cold turkey: Football is everywhere. We went to a restaurant – and the football games were on. To a bar and … same thing. It’s right there, right in front of me. What can I do? How can I not look?
“Look at me, talk to me,” said Susan, who’s never liked football and has no problem not watching.
Yeah right, like I’m gonna pay attention to and talk to someone, even my beloved, hometown-wife Susan, when the last few minutes of an exciting game are on a few feet away.
If I give up watching football, does that mean I must give up watching SportsCenter – and the football highlights?
Can I read about football in the Dispatch? Or Sports Illustrated?
What about when someone posts something about football – or a video – on Facebook?
Do I have to turn away when I’m watching Seinfeld or the Big Bang and a commercial comes on for an upcoming football games?
And, if the Eagles do actually make it to the Super Bowl, my mom (who lives in Philly) is sure to call several times to talk about the Iggles, with the first call coming seconds after they win the NFC championship game. Do I have to hang up on my very-own Mom?
Sorry Mom, gotta do it. I hope you understand.