Definitions of “Football”:
- Any of several games played between two teams on a usually rectangular field having goalposts or goals at each end and whose object is to get the ball over a goal line, into a goal, or between goalposts by running, passing, or kicking. (Merriam-Webster)
- A form of team game played in North America with an oval ball on a field marked out as a gridiron. (Oxford Dictionaries)
As you can see, both of these definitions use the word “game”.
Definitions of Game:
- A physical or mental activity or contest that has rules and that people do for pleasure (Merriam-Webster)
- An entertaining activity or sport. (Cambridge Dictionaries)
Note that by the above definitions, football is a game, and games are done for pleasure and entertainment.
Below are just a small sampling of what some of my friends (names removed to protect the friendship) were saying on Facebook earlier tonight about the Bengals/Steelers game:
“How embarrassing. The Cincinnati fans should be so ashamed of the representation shown on that football field tonight. The Steelers didn’t win by their selfs [sic]. Our hot headed players gave it to them.”
“Hot Head burritos was the sponsor tonight right? No?!? Can’t believe they threw the season in the trash.”
“They should throw things at the three bengals who lost the game for them. No one else’s fault but theirs. Hope they are all gone next year.”
“that was just a give away, the BENGALS WILL NEVER BE ANYTHING BUT LOSERS, GET RID OF THEM NOW.”
“Well don’t like the stellar [sic] but our guys gave this to them. Both teams suck.”
“This is a dirty game. The bengals deserve to loose [sic].”
“I know I’m gonna need more heart meds.”
“I have never watched an entire football game with [name blocked]. He is a mess!!! I think he may have a heart attack.”
“Have now reached the point of the game where I officially cannot watch.”
“This game is driving me crazy.”
“Show some class Cincinnati. You don’t boo an injured player no matter what team they are on. Seriously! !!”
“I feel bad for the season ticket holders who actually give money for disappointment every season. Mike Brown does not care and won’t spend his money to fix our problem. We need a new coach.”
And it goes on … and on … and on … ad infinitum. Now, let me make one point perfectly clear … I am not picking on, mocking nor criticizing any of my friends. I love them all, else they wouldn’t be my friends. But the point that I am making here is that if football is a game, and if games are supposed to be pleasurable and entertaining … well, from the comments above does it sound like anybody was experiencing either pleasure or entertainment? I know of only one person (yours truly) who was significantly entertained, and I didn’t even watch the game, just read the comments on Facebook!!!
Now, all joking aside, I do not understand why or how people take this game so seriously. Yes, I know that Hamilton County sales tax increased by .25% in order to pay for the new stadium back in 2000. And yes, I know that average annual salary of the highest paid Bengal is $16,000,000 (yep, that’s 16 million). But all that aside, for the fans, the viewers, it is still a game, still supposed to be fun. At least it is supposed to be a game. I have never watched an entire football game, nor is it likely that I will at this stage of the game (pun intended), but I am a baseball fan and enjoy an occasional baseball game. Even so, I just don’t get upset about it either way. If it’s fun, I may watch. If it isn’t fun, I will turn it off and read, write, do laundry, whatever. I understand fan loyalty, but when it comes to the major league teams (we have two here, the Bengals and the Reds), the fans are gung-ho as long as their team is winning, but when they lose, they want to get rid of coaches, managers, players and even owners. When I first moved to this city in 1990, Reds baseball was fun! It was fun because of Marge Schott … whether you loved her or hated her, she was entertaining! Now, since Marge Schott died in 2004, Reds baseball is (yawn) boring and I haven’t been able to watch a single game since. I remember the NY Mets. In 1962, they posted the worst season (40 losses v 120 wins) in the entire history of Major League Baseball! Seven years later, they came back to beat the Baltimore Orioles in the 1969 World Series. In the intervening years, they never finished better than second-to-last, but their fans remained loyal and die-hard. The stadium was almost always packed for home games and fans cheered at the top of their lungs! It was fun! Today, major league sports in general do not seem to be much fun. It is about ticket and hot dog prices, it is about player’s salaries and egos, it is about under-inflated footballs and players on steroids, multi-million dollar players arrested for drunken driving, rape and drugs. I do not know how it is in other cities these days, but sports in this city are no longer fun, and if it isn’t fun, then it does not qualify as a game.
I think that if the game is ever to be fun again, we need to back-pedal to better days. Get rid of the multi-million dollar players, recruit teams from the farm teams, pay them a little bit over a living wage and you will get guys like Jackie Robinson who played because they love the game. Go back to smaller stadiums, charge a few bucks for a ticket, a buck for a hot dog, and show the fans a good time rather than an event for which they need to take out a payday loan. No, I know it will never happen. But it should.