My Complicated Relationship With Sports

I spent nearly my entire life hating sports.  I was too cool, smart, and hip to be into sports. My focus was on the important things in life; real things. I didn't care who made the most points at sportsball the previous week.Two things happened to turn me from a life-long hater of all-things-sporty to an obsessive sports fan. First, my hands "broke," which prevented me from playing videogames. Up until then, videogames had been my main hobby and community. But then the two herniated discs in … [Read more...]

The Washington Redskins and the Potential for a Better Identity

It’s a little hard to believe that, in a culture so obsessed with political correctness and respect for all people, a team name like the Washington Redskins persists and can, in fact, be staunchly defended by large swathes of the populace. This month, amid rumors that a name change could be in the offing, Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder wrote an open letter to the team's fans reaffirming his commitment to the name. “When I consider the Washington Redskins name,” he writes, “I think of what i … [Read more...]

College Football is Not The Breakfast Club: The False Innocence of Unpaid Players

by Ryan Masters I have always loved the feel-good sentimentality of a good high school movie. I loved any substitute teacher that would play Lean On Me or Stand and Deliver rather than handing out worksheets. Dangerous Minds made me seriously consider teaching in the inner city. An inner city, that is, where the kids were dangerous enough to be intimidating, yet were ultimately pliable by a closer examination of Bob Dylan lyrics. Just last week, The Breakfast Club almost moved me to tears out … [Read more...]

Why I Won’t Encourage My Kids to Play Football

On August 29, 2013, the N.F.L. announced that it had agreed to pay $765 million to settle a lawsuit brought by thousands of players and their families. The lawsuit claimed the N.F.L. had actively concealed information about the dangers of repeated hits to the head, which have been discovered to include increased risk for dementia, depression, and degenerative brain disease. More: The money would be used for medical exams, concussion-related compensation and a program of medical research for r … [Read more...]

Are Concussions the Price We Pay for Manly Men?

 Owen Strachan and I appear to have joined a theological team.  Strachan suggested that Christians must support their claims that “Every square inch of the cosmos is Christ’s!” (a quote from theologian Abraham Kuyper) by thinking more biblically about football.But the views of some critics can be summarized as: “Doesn’t matter. Football makes Manliness™.”On Thursday, Strachan introduced on Twitter his article, Our Shaken Faith in Football. “Gender roles controversy?” (Yes, oc … [Read more...]

Aaron Hernandez and Stories of Violence

By Ryan MastersAs a lifelong Washington Redskins fan, I have always been indebted to the late Sean Taylor. Taylor was a free-safety whose speed and size made him basically a quick-shutting human gate. In his brief stint patrolling the deep middle of the field, professional wide receivers, grown men all, regularly dropped easy passes in fear. He is still the only safety that has been drafted in the top five in the past twenty years, and no one disputed that it was an excellent decision. He … [Read more...]

How Church Softball is the Ultimate Jesus Juke

For the past five years, I've participated in a sport where old men go to pretend they're still athletes. Granted, there are dudes out there who still got game, and there are occasionally young guys who come out to play who aren't over the hill, but for the most part, it's guys in their mid-30s to mid-40s who have sedentary office jobs and run, jog, and do athletics once a year. The sport is church softball.Church softball is kind of hard to explain. It's not really that different from a … [Read more...]

ELSEWHERE: Would You Give Up Your Career For Your Religion?

Grantland's Jason Schwartz has posted a fascinating and thoughtful piece about Ibby Jaaber, a talented basketball player who walked away from a promising career as a point guard because he felt it conflicted with his Muslim beliefs. What's more, he even paid back hundreds of thousands of dollars to his former team, claiming the money was "unlawful". The American Conservative's Alan Jacobs offers some more commentary. … [Read more...]

Football Season Changed Forever as Men’s Warehouse Fires George Zimmer

"You're gonna like the way you look. I guarantee it."Anyone who has watched sports on TV in the past 25 years can hear Men's Wearhouse founder George Zimmer pitching his company's suits in his distinctive, gravelly baritone. Men's Wearhouse, one of the largest men's specialty clothing stores in the country, has been a fixture of the menswear market for decades, and Zimmer has been the face of the company the whole time. He has built Men's Wearhouse an image of caring for their customers' … [Read more...]

Overcoming the Sexualization of Our Children

What is child pornography? On its face, that seems like a pretty absurd question. Were you ever unfortunate enough to be exposed to child pornography, you would think there would be no mistaking the filth that you were seeing. It would be obvious what it was, and you would obviously be disgusted and horrified by it.But, as Todd Hoffner's bizarre and tragic story shows, it may not always be as obvious as you'd think.In 2012, Hoffner was the celebrated and well-respected coach of Minnesota … [Read more...]