“BETTER EDUCATION FOR OUR CHILDREN, EVEN IF IT’S AT THE EXPENSE OF SPORTS”
With Mr. Fanene’s trial yet to be held, let alone guilt or innocence be established (and I have no wish to prejudice any potential jurors), his case has triggered a line of thought that needs to be addressed in our sports-mad territory.
Aaron Hernandez, Junior Seau, and many other former contact sports players, from a wide range of contact sports, are known (post-mortem) to have been suffering from the mental derangement triggered by what is called CTE – repeated brain injury, without even the need for a concussion (‘being knocked out’).
The statistics are somewhat inaccurate, but 110 of 111 post-mortem (after death) brains of former NFL players showed damage from CTE (cite: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_NFL_players_with_chronic_traumatic_encephalopathy).
A friend, whose son was a 4A CIF All-Star in California, was severely disappointed that his son didn’t even try out for the football team when he entered University. My friend was very disappointed in his son, and one day, watching an NFL game, he asked his son, “Why?”
“Dad, you see that guy? He just ran faster backwards than I ever ran forward in my life. Why should I scramble my brains and ruin my knees in college, knowing I’ll never make it to the NFL?”
This time of year being the school break, maybe instead of pushing our children into a direction that may very well ruin their lives with no gain to show for it, that we push them more into academic success? Khanacademy.org is a free education web site that our youth can take advantage of in order to promote their academic skills, instead of their athletic skills, for future success along with a long, productive, life.
Mr. Bill Gates of Microsoft, one of the wealthiest people in the world, was giving a commencement speech, with the topic of whether it was better to be a jock or a nerd. In his speech, he brought up the case of the most highly paid athlete in the world (at the time), Mr. Michael Jordan, detailing how much money Mr. Jordan made.
In his conclusion, he pointed out that during the elapsed fifteen minutes he was speaking that he made more money than Mr. Jordan did all year. He then challenged his audience with the question — “You tell me, is it better to be a jock or a nerd?”
I played football in high school and broke not one, but two helmets, during that time. In spite of being fast and aggressive, I had to give away over a 100# advantage to some of the other players. Seldom did I make it through a practice, and never, ever a game, without being a bit groggy. In the same circumstances, would I do it again? Probably. I loved to compete (still do). Am I lucky as all get out that I don’t have problems? You betcha! (If you don’t like this essay, it’s proof positive that repeated blows to the head really has caused my brain to be scrambled, and I’ve thus proved my point!)
If Mr. Fanene’s alleged actions did occur, and, if they were the result of CTE (which would require a post-mortem autopsy), it has to be determined by a jury. But I think that we, as parents, need to think, and take a hard look at what we’re steering our children into. Let’s push our children, and our government, into better education for our children, even if it’s at the expense of sports – we owe it to them as parents.