Dangerous Games

A FLAG ON THE PLAY; while the right wing media is called for the personal foul of roughing the passer, mocking the President’s opinion of a son playing football, I find myself asking an even better question stemming from this.  What would have been the President’s opinion of a son — his son, hypothetically if he had one — joining the military?

The reason why I ask this, is because I can understand his sentiment a bit; football is a bit dangerous.  Football players sustain many injuries.  Hell, I learned what a torn ACL was long before 10th grade biology class.  I became quite cognizant of an “out for season” or “career ending” injury playing Madden.  Football players also play injured most of their careers.  So, from this point, the bigger question hits me because there are professions that are more dangerous, hypothetically.  Football may be dangerous in regards to inflicting injury and concussions, but what about military service?  Military service is notably, more dangerous due to the fact that you can get maimed or killed out right, die either slow or fast… on top of the traumatic brain injuries that football also shares.

Before I continue allow me to referee for a second; the right wing media and it’s associated wing-nuts on the blogosphere are not off the hook.  Instead of asking further hypothetical questions you’ve chosen to mock and ridicule, to include a callback to a very tame statement the President said concerning a teenage child who was stalked, provoked, and subsequently murdered in Florida. You could have provided a little more compassion there, right wingers.  But that’s another story.

Is it a moot point that football serves as an American allegory to military warfare?  Football is merely a game of occupation and control of territory; just as war is.  There’s much terminology that is shared. (See George Carlin’s hilarious take on this here).   The quarterback is also known as the team “Captain”. There is offense and defense with an objective to infiltrate defensive or offensive lines, via air or ground assault.  There’s no other game that has such significant weather and terrain considerations.  Career ending injuries serve as the death of a Soldier on the field. And much like warfare, it has a damn good soundtrack.

So, this brings us to my question: would the President allow his son, hypothetically if he had one, join the military? To be fair, let’s examine a few past Presidents and candidates in recent history. President no. 43 — George W. Bush — had two daughters that were of “fighting age” who never served in the Armed Forces. This is even despite the fact that women are not permitted to explicitly fight in combat operator roles (at the time). Bill Clinton’s daughter has not served in military service either. Now let’s look at Pres. Obama’s defeated candidates: Out of Mitt Romney’s whopping troop train of sons, none of them ever served in the military, and Senator McCain is the only one in this group selected who has two sons with military service. This may be an edge of a bigger iceberg: are federal-level politicians afraid of their sons and daughters serving in the military altogether?  That’s a question definitely worthy of a future look.

I find it bit alarming when I hear our President doesn’t wish for a son to play football. While it’s a dangerous sport, it’s also relatively safe, with proper equipment, rules and regulations that exist to protect it’s players. Warfare is incredibly different; while there are rules of war, our modern enemies on the battlefield don’t really care. The reason why I find this alarming, because there’s NO WAY a substantial positive answer can exist. Sure he can say he’d favor a son in military service, but there’s no way to ever know because that’s just simply a stock political answer and he simply doesn’t have a son to prove claim.

So, we slide into another related question: How would he feel about his daughters, once of age, joining military service? This has been asked of George W. Bush’s daughters before, so it’s only fair to ponder the same. To be fair, most parents who romanticize on a son in the military have reservations of having daughters doing the same. Simply put, it’s just not the same to have a daughter in the military, and afterall this is about hypothetical sons and the conceptual metaphor of football, something that most parents wouldn’t like to see their daughters playing. So in the end, I’ll rate not wishing daughters serving in the military as a fair kick.

Overall I just saw something else on the field… a man who has a hesitancy towards the violence of a sport would rationally be the same man who has a hesitancy towards the violence of warfare.


Photo Credit: Pete Souza

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