Editor’s note: This Comment of the Day is in reply to Travis Simpson’s article “Youth Football in the Age of CTE: One father’s struggle to let his son play the sport he loves.”
Travis, thank you for your heartfelt inquiry into the necessary tangle of values and beliefs surrounding CTE. I challenge the idea that football starts with love. Rather please consider boys’ fear of exclusion from the tribe, and more specifically from the approval of their fathers drives many of us into behaviors which disregard our own wisdom. What we love is approval by others more than our own inner understanding.
Practice, endurance, hard work, teamwork are all great values which do not have to be learned by trying to impress dad, older brothers, the community. I made it to the Cleveland Browns before I understood that I had become a weapon shaped by fear of losing the approval of others. From that understanding came this: Fathers who do not value their children more than cultural rituals, end up endorsing the destruction of individuality, and as we see with CTE, life itself.
Read more from Bob Rannigan, here on GMP.
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