Football and America
By Michael Lauricella

Before reading this I would like to tell my reader that I like football. I only want to expose some of the bad elements and let downs of the game. Every part of life has problems so please do not get upset about the bad side of Football.
Football is the game of America. We as American worship Football unlike any other in the world. The game consumes players, coaches, and fans for good and bad. The players get overwhelmed and devote all their time to the sport, playing hours after school. They play through pain and mental struggle. The coaches push their players beyond the limit, asking for complete devotion to football. They rarely have compassion.The fans route for their teams, yelling screaming and watching people smashing into each other. Yet is the sport bad?
If one had never seen football before in his life and stumbled into a game what would that person think? Would he see young men in armor battling in a war zone for dear life? Would one see the stead fast disciplined of two armies?
My father always talks to me about his brief time in football, seven years. Fascinated, I listen to him and his complaints. He rants about his coaches, who yelled at him, the insane players, whom he spent all his time with, and the injuries he had picked up. (His shoulder had a 10th degree sprain, which now a days would call for surgery; he just got it popped back into his shoulder) But he always finishes his conversation with the regret of not playing his last two years in college.
I never liked football to a huge extent. I never had a desire to play, but it’s in my family and I see it all around me. My grandfather played at Tennessee and my father played at Harvard. My cousins play and love it. Football has so many negatives to it and yet my family loves it and the rest of America does as well.

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The part of football that really makes me think about the Morales of the game is the injury and long term effect on the body. Players are almost in a war on the field, yes that is what makes it exciting, but it's brutal. Football players in America get twice as many concussion as the next highest concussion game, soccer. About twenty percent of high school football players players receive concussions. Since 1997 At least 50 high school players have died from head injuries sustained in Football. There are two meanings for the term NFL, National Football Association and Not For Long. Not For Long is the term that players use to describe how fast your career goes. The average amount of time in the NFL in four years. only four because of injury concussion or just being cut. It's a brutal world.
Why make a big deal over concussions, so many play the next day and coaches put players back in games the next week. Unlike other parts of the body, the brain is not easily repaired. Brain damage has a long term effect. About 20.5% of players have had depressions after football because of concussions. Memory loss and mood swings are more side effects of concussions. Loss of intelligence can be another factor. IQ scores of concussion victims are often lower than before the concussion. Now even Players have started earlier, at the age of 7 and a minimum requirement of 45lbs (Southern Marin Youth Football). How many more concussions is that? If you play eight years before high chool you'll probably suffer two concussions. Even if they aren't concussions a developing brain is vulnerable.Concussions are serious and football has so many more of them than any other sport.
Football is a sport of commitment. But does that commitment go too far? School is put to the side because of fans and coaches. These kids are stars from high school to the NFL. They are playing for years of their life having coaches scream at them and fans yell for and against them, putting their heath on the line. This can either build a person or destroy him. The pressure and the stress, mentally and physically, makes most people mentally stronger. I have talked to many ex football players and they are disciplined and strong character. If you can go eight years of people often yelling at you and pushing you beyond your limits you become an individual and not a pushover.

raiders-butler.jpg(Picture of a tailgating party before a raiders game)
When I went to New Orleans for Christmas this year I saw a football game, The Saints versus the Jaguars. I had not seen a football game played live for years. There was a community built around the team people liked and respected each other as long as you are on their side. I remember my father and uncle, who took me to the game, run into at least four families they knew. But as the game began I saw why they came to watch. Football is a violent game in a beautiful way and that is what people love to watch. I was completely into it by the end of the half. But I really felt the excitement as the game went into the fourth quarter.. I saw the happy and sad faces around me. People dedicated to one of these teams were screaming along with me. The atmosphere was incredible. As I walked out of the game (Saints lost in 4th quarter) I felt why people loved it but I still didn’t know why. Should Football be liked this much, when it was destroying the player's body?
No matter what happens on this planet Football will be watched. From High School to Pro Football can be the center of a town. Communities revolve around the games. It brings communities together in a common goal and a common hero. It is a big deal. My grandfather played Football at Holy Cross high school in New Orleans. When he played a game between 10,000 and 20,000 people came to watch. That is around the same as some professional soccer teams in America.

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I was talking to a family friend of mine, Stephanie Bruno, whose son goes to Dartmouth. Her son plays Football six hours a day. She was complaining about how Football was coming first and education second. Is that how it should be? Football is a demanding sport but is it worth a person's real future for it. Stephanie's son will not go pro, and he can't take half the courses he wants.
I talked to Joe a trainer at the YMCA, while I was trying to recover from my injury. He had played football in high school in Marin. Joe is a perfect example of a person who struggled with football and succeeded. He loves to feel the pain and pressure of football and for that reason he is the person he is today. He is confident, and he stands tall. He is a strong person because of football and without it he would not be where he is today.



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Graph one
    1. The graph shows what America is watching. From the future of our country, politicians, to the Oscars the most watched programs on television. But The Super bowl almost doubles every one of them. What does this tell you about America as a nation? We love football more than anything else.Lauricella_chart_3.jpg
  1. Graph 2
    1. Shows out of 100,000 times somebody steps on a field does somebody get a concussion. 47 are in foot ball twice the amount of the nearest boys sport soccer. True that many people play football. But not twice as many so there is a definite peril in playing football for one’s heath. It is also known that 5% of all football players suffer a concussion each season. So roughly 20% of the kids will have suffered a concussion at the end of 4 years in high school.
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  1. Graph 3
    1. Shows stadium capacity of three stadiums. Two of the three listed are professional teams in sports where they get revenues in the 200 millions. And yet Florida University’s stadium holds twice as many people. I football defense there are less games in a season, but between pro and college there should be a huge gap of money and fan base.