By Laura Pappano
It’s Thanksgiving and aside from turkey and family, this holiday is about football. What does a celebration of early American settlers and indigenous people coming together in prayerful feasting have to do with gladiator-style battle for territory and pigskin? It hardly matters. Football (plus turkey) rules.
I love football. I will actually play in a family football game today (yes, I brought my cleats, family – watch out!) and will absolutely relish body-faking my kids and (hopefully) catching a well-thrown pass (attention: Derek) in the endzone.
I love watching football on TV. The NFL is a study in effective marketing, packaging, and production of something that before TV was in danger of being just another sport (kudos, Bert Bell).
But here’s the problem: Like a dominating older sibling who takes up all the air in the room, football simply commands too much money, attention, and status in settings in which fairness and equity matter (READ: high school and college). The issue is amplified – not caused – by football’s identity as a testosterone-charged game that discourages female participation.
Today, high school football stands will be populated by people who like lapsed parishioners