Chronic Traumatic Encepalopathy, CIF, Coliseum, college football, CTE, football, Friday Night Lights, high school football, Los Angeles Chargers, Los Angeles Rams, National Football League, NCAA, NFL, Pac-12 Conference, pro football, Rose Bowl, UCLA Bruins, USC Trojans
WITH THINGS KICKING OFF FOR THE NFL’S RAMS & CHARGERS AND THE PAC-12’S UCLA BRUINS & USC TROJANS ROUGHLY A MONTH FROM NOW, HERE’S WHAT’S ON MY MIND…
Here we are, seven days into August.
SoCal’s in the midst of another heat wave.
Huge wildfires are torching this state’s hills and forests, both north and south; I particularly feel bad for those NorCal folks dealing with the Carr and Mendocino blazes that have burned an area which is the approximately the size of Rhode Island and Connecticut combined.
And thousands of males, ranging in age from ten to their mid-thirties, are going through all kinds of suffering – grunting, sweating, crashing into each other wearing various pieces of plastic on their heads and shoulders, and otherwise going through what used to be called “Hell Week”,
In order to prepare for a season pursuing glory on the various gridirons ranging from the cathedrals of the Rose Bowl and the Coliseum,
To places where tiny bleachers, where maybe three or four hundred fans consists of a standing room only crowd, are set up behind each sideline – and I know of some fields where the bleachers are behind only one sideline.
Meanwhile, thousands of young females – and a few males – are likewise grunting and sweating, learning dance routines, cheers that are more sophisticated than “Go Team Go!”, and working on not letting selected females fall to the ground when they’re thrown into the air as they get ready to enthusiastically cheer their teams on, no matter how Bad News Bearish their gridiron squads are;
I’ve always wondered how those cheerleaders stay so optimistic when they guys they’re cheering for block and tackle as good as a bunch of jelly donuts and lose by an average of five touchdowns every week.
And in a shout-out to the football-based activity that I was involved in, right about now even more thousands of young folks are working on marching around on fields while playing musical instruments at the same time, getting ready to represent their school this fall while wearing too-heavy uniforms, (sometimes) capes and hats that often look, for lack of a better term, dorky.
Yep, it’s no doubt that football is definitely coming, as SoCal’s four main teams that block, tackle, and throw, catch, and run with that strange-looking pigskin – L.A.’s two teams who get paid big money, the Rams and Chargers, and the two teams where they attend college classes at the same time, UCLA’s Bruins and USC’s Trojans, who make up one of the biggest rivalries in the sport – are preparing for their season as I write this.
One thought is prevalent in my mind regarding these guys who provide either excitement, pride and happiness or embarrassment, anger and sadness to their fans on a weekly basis every September, October, and November…
St. John Bosco’s Braves from Bellflower, one of SoCal’s top high school programs, charge onto the field before a game with Mission Viejo. Photo courtesy of boscofootball.com
Their physical health.
Particularly the condition of the gray matters inside the top of their heads as Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, or CTE, has ruined the lives of many a football hero, the suicides of stars like the Chicago Bears’ Dave Duerson, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Mike Webster, and a SoCal football icon, Junior Seau of USC and the Chargers, being well documented.
As is stories of big names like the Bears’ sunglasses-wearing nonconformist quarterback Jim McMahon not being able to find his way home when he goes out due to the brain damage that his football career brought him.
Not to mention guys whose ankles and knees are so painfully maimed that they need canes, walkers and wheelchairs to get around in their way-too-young forties!
I always find myself praying for football players in general, as well as always remarking, “I hope their heads are OK” whenever I watch a game in person or on TV.
Once or twice I’ve wondered “Is football worth it?”, knowing full well that being the number one spectator sport in this country that it is, it will not go away.
One thing’s for sure – after reading and seeing all the damage that football players go through, during and after their careers, I’m glad I chose baseball and softball as my sports to play.
There is one thing that I look forward to during football season, more than anything else, especially after going to games for over 35 years…
Being around people who share one thing with you – the love of their football team.
In my case it’s hanging around fellow fans and alumni of my alma mater, UCLA, as I’ve always had a good time renewing acquaintances at Lot H, the grassy park area south of the Rose Bowl where blue and gold-wearing folks eat, drink, watch games on TV, and generally share good fellowship with one another.
That’s one thing that I’ve always looked forward to every season, and this year will be no exception.
OH, BY THE WAY:
Here’s my schedule of when the season previews and predictions of UCLA, USC, the Rams, and the Chargers will appear on this blog…
- USC Trojans: Preview on August 20th, Game Predictions on August 27th
- UCLA Bruins: Preview on August 23rd, Game Predictions on August 30th
- Los Angeles Chargers: Preview and predictions on September 3rd
- Los Angeles Rams: Preview and predictions on September 6th
And my choice to feature on my annual “Friday Night Lights” high school football atmosphere and experience article this fall…
Crenshaw Cougars vs Dorsey Dons, one of the biggest high school rivalries in the Southland.
Looking forward to writing these pieces this fall – watch for them!
And best wishes to all those guys putting on helmets and running around on gridirons this fall.
Bruins and Trojans on the line of scrimmage during their 2012 clash, UCLA winning 38-28. Photo courtesy of boydsbets.com