Football as the collision of Hobbes & Locke

Gerard Baker of England has become a convert to American football.  He explains why:

In its energy and complexity, football captures the spirit of America better than any other cultural creation on this continent, and I don’t mean because it features long breaks in which advertisers get to sell beer and treatments for erectile dysfunction. It sits at the intersection of pioneering aggression and impossibly complex strategic planning. It is a collision of Hobbes and Locke; violent, primal force tempered by the most complex set of rules, regulations, procedures and systems ever conceived in an athletic framework.

Soccer is called the beautiful game. But football is chess, played with real pieces that try to knock each other’s brains out. It doesn’t get any more beautiful than that.

via Gerard Baker: Football Is Better Than Soccer – WSJ.com.

As the bowl season get under way, let us contemplate the nature of football and why we like it so much.

HT:  Ace of Spades

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Hmm. Surely I can’t be the only one for whom this evokes that old quote (I think by George Will) that says “Football combines the two worst things about America: it is violence punctuated by committee meetings.”

    Of course, that was said critically. I guess it’s putting a positive spin on the same idea to say that football “sits at the intersection of pioneering aggression and impossibly complex strategic planning” … maybe.

    Football’s really not all that complex, to me. Baseball seems much more of a strategic mental game, to me. Or even more “complex”.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Hmm. Surely I can’t be the only one for whom this evokes that old quote (I think by George Will) that says “Football combines the two worst things about America: it is violence punctuated by committee meetings.”

    Of course, that was said critically. I guess it’s putting a positive spin on the same idea to say that football “sits at the intersection of pioneering aggression and impossibly complex strategic planning” … maybe.

    Football’s really not all that complex, to me. Baseball seems much more of a strategic mental game, to me. Or even more “complex”.

  • Pete

    I dunno – I like the t-shirt that says “The Evolution of Man” and depicts four guys: The one on the left is a football player down on all fours, the next is a bit more upright, the next is still more and the fourth one is fully upright with a soccer ball at his feet.

  • Pete

    I dunno – I like the t-shirt that says “The Evolution of Man” and depicts four guys: The one on the left is a football player down on all fours, the next is a bit more upright, the next is still more and the fourth one is fully upright with a soccer ball at his feet.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Baker says:

    Football captures the spirit of America better than any other cultural creation on this continent

    This can’t be an original observation, but I have to imagine that the main “spirit of America” it captures is our love of war.

    Oh, of course we Americans tell ourselves we don’t love war, that we’re actually a peace-loving people. We say this even as we mock the idea of Islam being a religion of peace. Pot, kettle, kettle, pot.

    Anyhow, I was inspired to think along these lines by an article about the new Nike uniforms for the Oregon Ducks (Ooh, an article about clothing in the sports section!) I was amused/disturbed to see that Nike actually refers to these uniforms as the “Nike Pro Combat system of dress”. Got that? Combat! But just in case you didn’t get the idea, they go on to refer to the “Nike Chain Maille Mesh” (a “lightweight ultra-breathable material”). For all the warring knights?

    Just as Americans loved to watch “shock and awe” delivered to our TV sets, so we love to watch two teams of warriors beat the snot out of each other. And we diagram their movements on the (battle)field with a telestrator much in the same way as battlefield movements are drawn in historical war analyses. Land is, in both cases, gained or lost, and one side knows they’re losing when the other team is “deep in [enemy] territory”.

    It’s no surprise that most Americans do not prefer a ground game, either in our wars or in our football. We prefer to be dazzled by an impressive show of aerial force.

    And, perhaps as a palliative for our somewhat lackluster record of recent wars, at least in football there are no ties or otherwise inconclusive outcomes. If only our wars could be given time limits or be forced into a decisive overtime!

    I don’t say this as a football hater. I appreciate a good football game. Of course, I also enjoy the early stages of a war, too — even if I wish I didn’t.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Baker says:

    Football captures the spirit of America better than any other cultural creation on this continent

    This can’t be an original observation, but I have to imagine that the main “spirit of America” it captures is our love of war.

    Oh, of course we Americans tell ourselves we don’t love war, that we’re actually a peace-loving people. We say this even as we mock the idea of Islam being a religion of peace. Pot, kettle, kettle, pot.

    Anyhow, I was inspired to think along these lines by an article about the new Nike uniforms for the Oregon Ducks (Ooh, an article about clothing in the sports section!) I was amused/disturbed to see that Nike actually refers to these uniforms as the “Nike Pro Combat system of dress”. Got that? Combat! But just in case you didn’t get the idea, they go on to refer to the “Nike Chain Maille Mesh” (a “lightweight ultra-breathable material”). For all the warring knights?

    Just as Americans loved to watch “shock and awe” delivered to our TV sets, so we love to watch two teams of warriors beat the snot out of each other. And we diagram their movements on the (battle)field with a telestrator much in the same way as battlefield movements are drawn in historical war analyses. Land is, in both cases, gained or lost, and one side knows they’re losing when the other team is “deep in [enemy] territory”.

    It’s no surprise that most Americans do not prefer a ground game, either in our wars or in our football. We prefer to be dazzled by an impressive show of aerial force.

    And, perhaps as a palliative for our somewhat lackluster record of recent wars, at least in football there are no ties or otherwise inconclusive outcomes. If only our wars could be given time limits or be forced into a decisive overtime!

    I don’t say this as a football hater. I appreciate a good football game. Of course, I also enjoy the early stages of a war, too — even if I wish I didn’t.

  • SKPeterson

    Here is the classic view via Carlin (warning: occasional crass language).

  • SKPeterson

    Here is the classic view via Carlin (warning: occasional crass language).

  • Booklover

    Sorry, I’m not the one to weigh in with an appreciation of football. My husband has had 5 back and neck surgeries, and the blame lies greatly with football, which he played through high school and college. Every time when we’d get ahead financially in our marriage, he’d have another surgery, be disabled and unable to work for awhile, and the story kept repeating.

    But even if it hadn’t been for our personal experience, I still don’t like the game, I guess for the same reason I don’t like boxing. I just can’t root for a team whose prime objective is to beat the opponent’s brains out.

    Not only that, when I observe sports (which isn’t often), I expect the players to be prime athletic specimens. It makes me ill to see so many obese linemen.

    OK, bring it on, I’m used to it. My husband and four sons all played football, and three of them coached it, so I’m used to the criticism. :-)

    I could go on–the unreasonable and exorbitant cost of a ticket, the massive crowds on a Sunday, the horrible half-time shows, . . .I guess you could call me a football killjoy. :-)

    P.S. But I was a good Mom. I cheered them all on, even to state championship in 30-degree-below-zero weather. I even rang a cowbell and blew my whistle.

  • Booklover

    Sorry, I’m not the one to weigh in with an appreciation of football. My husband has had 5 back and neck surgeries, and the blame lies greatly with football, which he played through high school and college. Every time when we’d get ahead financially in our marriage, he’d have another surgery, be disabled and unable to work for awhile, and the story kept repeating.

    But even if it hadn’t been for our personal experience, I still don’t like the game, I guess for the same reason I don’t like boxing. I just can’t root for a team whose prime objective is to beat the opponent’s brains out.

    Not only that, when I observe sports (which isn’t often), I expect the players to be prime athletic specimens. It makes me ill to see so many obese linemen.

    OK, bring it on, I’m used to it. My husband and four sons all played football, and three of them coached it, so I’m used to the criticism. :-)

    I could go on–the unreasonable and exorbitant cost of a ticket, the massive crowds on a Sunday, the horrible half-time shows, . . .I guess you could call me a football killjoy. :-)

    P.S. But I was a good Mom. I cheered them all on, even to state championship in 30-degree-below-zero weather. I even rang a cowbell and blew my whistle.

  • Dan Kempin

    I enjoy all sports, but football is the only one that really captures my attention. (Hockey would be my strong, though fairly distant second.)

    I enjoy football for a number of reasons. First of all, it is one of the few sports where games really matter. They play once per week, and if a superior team is outplayed, they lose. Game over.

    Second, football is truly a team sport, and on a level that other sports do not achieve. What I mean is that while other sports–basketball, hockey, soccer–all have positions and roles and strategies, the players are largely interchangeable. The “stars” do the same thing as everyone else, only better. (Baseball would be the exception with specialists is pitching, hitting, and fielding.) Football has distinct and differing roles. A lineman could not play receiver, and vice versa. Quarterback, linebacker, kick returner–these each require not only aptitude for the position, but physical characteristics as well. The team needs all of these differently gifted athletes, and a weakness at any one position could cost the game.

    Third, it is a very strategic game, without ceasing to be athletic. It is a chess match played out on a mock battlefield. The king is taken by chasing him down and bringing him to the turf.

    Plus, the way that the ball is put in play for such brief and intense periods of time is totally unique.

    So yeah, I like football. At least, I like the NFL. And though I don’t get the reference to Hobbes and Locke, nor do I wish to extol it as more, in the end, than a game, I think there is a reason that people pay exorbitant ticket prices and pack stadiums and buy big screens to watch it. It’s a great sport. I could live without any other sport and not really notice, but I would miss football.

    Even though it is just a game.

    And tODD, #3, I agree with your assessment that football touches on the American spirit of war. I think you go too far in your analysis, though. Americans don’t love war itself, they love to win. I would argue that the American fascination with war games is not a morbid fascination with war as a “game,” but with the old latin adage, “If you seek peace, prepare for war.”

    (With many flagrant and appalling exceptions, of course.)

  • Dan Kempin

    I enjoy all sports, but football is the only one that really captures my attention. (Hockey would be my strong, though fairly distant second.)

    I enjoy football for a number of reasons. First of all, it is one of the few sports where games really matter. They play once per week, and if a superior team is outplayed, they lose. Game over.

    Second, football is truly a team sport, and on a level that other sports do not achieve. What I mean is that while other sports–basketball, hockey, soccer–all have positions and roles and strategies, the players are largely interchangeable. The “stars” do the same thing as everyone else, only better. (Baseball would be the exception with specialists is pitching, hitting, and fielding.) Football has distinct and differing roles. A lineman could not play receiver, and vice versa. Quarterback, linebacker, kick returner–these each require not only aptitude for the position, but physical characteristics as well. The team needs all of these differently gifted athletes, and a weakness at any one position could cost the game.

    Third, it is a very strategic game, without ceasing to be athletic. It is a chess match played out on a mock battlefield. The king is taken by chasing him down and bringing him to the turf.

    Plus, the way that the ball is put in play for such brief and intense periods of time is totally unique.

    So yeah, I like football. At least, I like the NFL. And though I don’t get the reference to Hobbes and Locke, nor do I wish to extol it as more, in the end, than a game, I think there is a reason that people pay exorbitant ticket prices and pack stadiums and buy big screens to watch it. It’s a great sport. I could live without any other sport and not really notice, but I would miss football.

    Even though it is just a game.

    And tODD, #3, I agree with your assessment that football touches on the American spirit of war. I think you go too far in your analysis, though. Americans don’t love war itself, they love to win. I would argue that the American fascination with war games is not a morbid fascination with war as a “game,” but with the old latin adage, “If you seek peace, prepare for war.”

    (With many flagrant and appalling exceptions, of course.)

  • http://not-aimlessly.blogspot.com Taylor

    If football is analogous to Hobbes and Locke then surely soccer is analogous to Burke- it is the sport of a gentleman.

  • http://not-aimlessly.blogspot.com Taylor

    If football is analogous to Hobbes and Locke then surely soccer is analogous to Burke- it is the sport of a gentleman.

  • Sam

    Football, the American sport.
    We like it the same way we like to watch our miltary wage war on TV (“Watch Shock and Awe, America’s Invasion of Iraq, 7 p.m. Eastern, 6 Central”). We sit on our couches and watch other people’s sons risk their health (in living color) while we wave banners, drink a beer, and cheer them on.

  • Sam

    Football, the American sport.
    We like it the same way we like to watch our miltary wage war on TV (“Watch Shock and Awe, America’s Invasion of Iraq, 7 p.m. Eastern, 6 Central”). We sit on our couches and watch other people’s sons risk their health (in living color) while we wave banners, drink a beer, and cheer them on.

  • ken schafer

    Shock and awe I find in the intensity of tennis. Full and sustained mental effort coupled with physical strength. Asn to war I think we all prepare for in the senxe of fight or flight. It is our nature in this fallen world.

    About calling the kettle black on both sides of the Christian/Muslim divide you are completly foot falting. Islam has the history of war as the heart of the religion whereas Christianity is a religion of peace. One not attained but “already” for the “not yet”. Jesus’ return+++

  • ken schafer

    Shock and awe I find in the intensity of tennis. Full and sustained mental effort coupled with physical strength. Asn to war I think we all prepare for in the senxe of fight or flight. It is our nature in this fallen world.

    About calling the kettle black on both sides of the Christian/Muslim divide you are completly foot falting. Islam has the history of war as the heart of the religion whereas Christianity is a religion of peace. One not attained but “already” for the “not yet”. Jesus’ return+++

  • helen

    Dan @ 6
    . A lineman could not play receiver, and vice versa. Quarterback, linebacker, kick returner–these each require not only aptitude for the position, but physical characteristics as well. The team needs all of these differently gifted athletes, and a weakness at any one position could cost the game.

    You didn’t see UT in the Holiday Bowl yesterday. Among other things, QB David Ash received a TD pass and Jaxon Shipley threw one, his third this season, all the while playing wide receiver. Ash also threw a 47 yd pass for another TD.
    I’ll give you the kicker: for punting, extra points and field goals they only have Justin Tucker,
    who beat the Texas Aggies, literally in the last two seconds, with a field goal. UT 27-25 A&M “See you next year, Aggies! Well, no, Florida will be beating you next year. Sorry about that! ” :)

  • helen

    Dan @ 6
    . A lineman could not play receiver, and vice versa. Quarterback, linebacker, kick returner–these each require not only aptitude for the position, but physical characteristics as well. The team needs all of these differently gifted athletes, and a weakness at any one position could cost the game.

    You didn’t see UT in the Holiday Bowl yesterday. Among other things, QB David Ash received a TD pass and Jaxon Shipley threw one, his third this season, all the while playing wide receiver. Ash also threw a 47 yd pass for another TD.
    I’ll give you the kicker: for punting, extra points and field goals they only have Justin Tucker,
    who beat the Texas Aggies, literally in the last two seconds, with a field goal. UT 27-25 A&M “See you next year, Aggies! Well, no, Florida will be beating you next year. Sorry about that! ” :)

  • Joe

    Taylor – if soccer is the sport of gentlemen then the gentry is worse off than I could have imagined:

    http://www.pattayadailynews.com/en/2010/06/13/football-hooliganism-a-class-divide/

    I love football, grew up playing it in the shadow of the Frozen Tundra of Lambeau Field. It is a great sport.

    But over the years I have come to appreciate lacrosse as the greatest sport to actually play. If you like the ‘warrior’ spirit – then play a game that was actually used as training for and a substitute for war.

  • Joe

    Taylor – if soccer is the sport of gentlemen then the gentry is worse off than I could have imagined:

    http://www.pattayadailynews.com/en/2010/06/13/football-hooliganism-a-class-divide/

    I love football, grew up playing it in the shadow of the Frozen Tundra of Lambeau Field. It is a great sport.

    But over the years I have come to appreciate lacrosse as the greatest sport to actually play. If you like the ‘warrior’ spirit – then play a game that was actually used as training for and a substitute for war.

  • helen

    Football has become more conscious of the dangers of “beating each other’s brains out”.
    Concussion has become something to be concerned about, finally! But the message has to get all the way down the line, where high school and under often play with inadequate equipment, and the coaches haven’t absorbed the lesson. I remember when the “head butt” was taught deliberately in high school and every season some kid broke his neck. Now penalties are assessed for a deliberate helmet to helmet hit (at least at college level, though probably not often enough).

    Booklover, you’re right about expense. I’ve never been to a college or pro stadium; I won’t pay the price of a ticket and the crowds are just too big. [Football is great, if your company buys a box or a suite.] In high school I saw all the games because all my children played in the band. I wish they would show the college bands at half time and stash the “talking heads”!
    [I don't know why the people selling ad space think that only inadequate old men watch football on TV either!]

  • helen

    Football has become more conscious of the dangers of “beating each other’s brains out”.
    Concussion has become something to be concerned about, finally! But the message has to get all the way down the line, where high school and under often play with inadequate equipment, and the coaches haven’t absorbed the lesson. I remember when the “head butt” was taught deliberately in high school and every season some kid broke his neck. Now penalties are assessed for a deliberate helmet to helmet hit (at least at college level, though probably not often enough).

    Booklover, you’re right about expense. I’ve never been to a college or pro stadium; I won’t pay the price of a ticket and the crowds are just too big. [Football is great, if your company buys a box or a suite.] In high school I saw all the games because all my children played in the band. I wish they would show the college bands at half time and stash the “talking heads”!
    [I don't know why the people selling ad space think that only inadequate old men watch football on TV either!]

  • http://not-aimlessly.blogspot.com Taylor

    @Joe- very true- I was just making a political theory joke. I agree with you that lacrosse is a very warrior-like sport. Unfortunately women’s lacrosse is very tame (and not very popular) so I stick to soccer and basketball.

  • http://not-aimlessly.blogspot.com Taylor

    @Joe- very true- I was just making a political theory joke. I agree with you that lacrosse is a very warrior-like sport. Unfortunately women’s lacrosse is very tame (and not very popular) so I stick to soccer and basketball.

  • Matt

    I just returned from England yesterday, visiting my sister who was studying abroad there. I’m a die hard American sports fan – football being my favorite of the traditionally American sports. However, I’ve grown to grown to love soccer and as a fan of the English Premier League (the top English soccer league) I was able to see Wigan vs Liverpool while over there.

    Much of the entertainment value comes from their being constant movement on the field – except for breaks in play for fouls and when the ball goes out of bounds, the ball and the players are always moving, looking for any weaknesses in the defense. And while I’d give football the leg up in terms of the need for intricate strategy, their are plenty of formations and styles in soccer, and with someone knowledgeable enough you can good debate about the merits of playing a 4-4-2 vs a 3-6-1. And when the skill level is high enough soccer can look sublime.

    Also, as I’ve experienced my first game, the atmosphere was great. The Liverpool fans were standing the entire game which I think shows an added passion for the club, that you don’t normally find for pro sports in America. And those were the away fans.

    Overall, while it’s a fun argument to have, deciding what sport is the best isn’t really an intellectual decision. No one decides one day that football is the best because it ticks of the marks that the best sports should. Or that soccer is more beautiful because of objective reasoning. You like it because of subjective reasons that cannot be argued into somebody. I also think that once you’ve played a sport you’re better able to understand the skill level that goes into what you’re viewing at the professional level, making one’s admiration for the sport that much greater. Overall, I’d say soccer is my favorite sport to play, but I’d place both soccer and football as equals when it comes to viewing.

  • Matt

    I just returned from England yesterday, visiting my sister who was studying abroad there. I’m a die hard American sports fan – football being my favorite of the traditionally American sports. However, I’ve grown to grown to love soccer and as a fan of the English Premier League (the top English soccer league) I was able to see Wigan vs Liverpool while over there.

    Much of the entertainment value comes from their being constant movement on the field – except for breaks in play for fouls and when the ball goes out of bounds, the ball and the players are always moving, looking for any weaknesses in the defense. And while I’d give football the leg up in terms of the need for intricate strategy, their are plenty of formations and styles in soccer, and with someone knowledgeable enough you can good debate about the merits of playing a 4-4-2 vs a 3-6-1. And when the skill level is high enough soccer can look sublime.

    Also, as I’ve experienced my first game, the atmosphere was great. The Liverpool fans were standing the entire game which I think shows an added passion for the club, that you don’t normally find for pro sports in America. And those were the away fans.

    Overall, while it’s a fun argument to have, deciding what sport is the best isn’t really an intellectual decision. No one decides one day that football is the best because it ticks of the marks that the best sports should. Or that soccer is more beautiful because of objective reasoning. You like it because of subjective reasons that cannot be argued into somebody. I also think that once you’ve played a sport you’re better able to understand the skill level that goes into what you’re viewing at the professional level, making one’s admiration for the sport that much greater. Overall, I’d say soccer is my favorite sport to play, but I’d place both soccer and football as equals when it comes to viewing.

  • Matt

    @Joe

    Hooliganism was a serious problem in England in the 80′s, but since then it’s been drastically reduced. While you can find examples of hooliganism throughout the globe up to the present day, in all the major leagues it’s rarely an issue. At the game I went to, their was a serious police presence as their were a lot of away fans at the game. I only saw zero physcial violence or intimidation despite the large presence of away fans, although verbal jabs in the form of chants (the away fans had their own section) could be heard. I would guess, now a days, much of the police presence at such games isn’t needed but is there in the remote case some violence breaks out. I felt I was experiencing the best of both worlds. An intensly passionate fan base, but also one that was just interested in supporting their team and not going further than that. I’d suggest a Premier League game for any fan of sports, if you’re over in England. It’s a great experience and while it might not produce a convert, I think they’ll be a greater appreaciation for the sport of soccer.

  • Matt

    @Joe

    Hooliganism was a serious problem in England in the 80′s, but since then it’s been drastically reduced. While you can find examples of hooliganism throughout the globe up to the present day, in all the major leagues it’s rarely an issue. At the game I went to, their was a serious police presence as their were a lot of away fans at the game. I only saw zero physcial violence or intimidation despite the large presence of away fans, although verbal jabs in the form of chants (the away fans had their own section) could be heard. I would guess, now a days, much of the police presence at such games isn’t needed but is there in the remote case some violence breaks out. I felt I was experiencing the best of both worlds. An intensly passionate fan base, but also one that was just interested in supporting their team and not going further than that. I’d suggest a Premier League game for any fan of sports, if you’re over in England. It’s a great experience and while it might not produce a convert, I think they’ll be a greater appreaciation for the sport of soccer.

  • steve

    Was Baker giving a compliment or a back-handed insult?

    Well, personally I never though football was that complex of a game but, then again, I know people who think cricket is not that complex. So I guess it all depends on your perspective.

  • steve

    Was Baker giving a compliment or a back-handed insult?

    Well, personally I never though football was that complex of a game but, then again, I know people who think cricket is not that complex. So I guess it all depends on your perspective.

  • kenneth

    Thank you, Helen for saying that football can ravage people and often does. A High School player I knew lost ost of his fine legs because of tackles at the knee. Come right down to footbvall is a brutal game thaqt needs far more checks than it currently has or likely ever will have.

    There just is something about tennis and soccer that brings out the play in people that any other sport does not. Love set and thank you! I play for the love of Jesus+++

  • kenneth

    Thank you, Helen for saying that football can ravage people and often does. A High School player I knew lost ost of his fine legs because of tackles at the knee. Come right down to footbvall is a brutal game thaqt needs far more checks than it currently has or likely ever will have.

    There just is something about tennis and soccer that brings out the play in people that any other sport does not. Love set and thank you! I play for the love of Jesus+++

  • http://not-aimlessly.blogspot.com Taylor

    @Helen and @Kenneth: Devastating injuries are prevalent in both soccer and football. The problems you speak of are not a product of the sport but of individual athletes.
    Serious yet accidental knee injuries and concussions are prevalent in both sports. Tragic, life-changing injuries in both sports are often not the result of the sport itself but rather an out-of-control athlete. An ill-timed or reckless slide tackle in soccer can snap in half the other player’s leg.

  • http://not-aimlessly.blogspot.com Taylor

    @Helen and @Kenneth: Devastating injuries are prevalent in both soccer and football. The problems you speak of are not a product of the sport but of individual athletes.
    Serious yet accidental knee injuries and concussions are prevalent in both sports. Tragic, life-changing injuries in both sports are often not the result of the sport itself but rather an out-of-control athlete. An ill-timed or reckless slide tackle in soccer can snap in half the other player’s leg.

  • Pete

    Taylor @18 sez, “Tragic, life-changing injuries in both sports are often not the result of the sport itself but rather an out-of-control athlete.” I am skeptical of this. I am old enough to have watched the famous “Lawrence Taylor snapping Joe Theisman’s leg” play. There was nothing “out-of-control” about that – strictly within the rules. Seems the game is more of a set-up for just such an injury (not to mention head and neck injuries) than is soccer.

    I’m a former soccer player and a soccer dad. A friend of mine is an orthopedic surgeon and a football dad. He claims that he sees as many serious orthopedic injuries from soccer as from football. I dunno. We live in a small town and last year a high school football player wound up paralyzed from a neck injury. Our town is an admittedly small sample, but living here 21 years and being very involved in the soccer scene, I’ve never seen such an injury in soccer. I’d be interested to know the actual, national (or worldwide) statistics.

    Many things commend soccer. Its simplicity, its lack of expensive equipment, its internationality. I’m 58 years old (the photo is perhaps a bit misleading) and I can still be lured into a pick-up soccer game now and then. Not many folks are able to play tackle football once they’re out of high school.

  • Pete

    Taylor @18 sez, “Tragic, life-changing injuries in both sports are often not the result of the sport itself but rather an out-of-control athlete.” I am skeptical of this. I am old enough to have watched the famous “Lawrence Taylor snapping Joe Theisman’s leg” play. There was nothing “out-of-control” about that – strictly within the rules. Seems the game is more of a set-up for just such an injury (not to mention head and neck injuries) than is soccer.

    I’m a former soccer player and a soccer dad. A friend of mine is an orthopedic surgeon and a football dad. He claims that he sees as many serious orthopedic injuries from soccer as from football. I dunno. We live in a small town and last year a high school football player wound up paralyzed from a neck injury. Our town is an admittedly small sample, but living here 21 years and being very involved in the soccer scene, I’ve never seen such an injury in soccer. I’d be interested to know the actual, national (or worldwide) statistics.

    Many things commend soccer. Its simplicity, its lack of expensive equipment, its internationality. I’m 58 years old (the photo is perhaps a bit misleading) and I can still be lured into a pick-up soccer game now and then. Not many folks are able to play tackle football once they’re out of high school.

  • Rosalie

    comment to Pete (#2 on 12-29-11) do you know where to get the tshirt: evolution of man with the football player evolving to a soccer player…I had one years ago and cannot find it. We have not had professional soccer here for about 10 years and now we have Wichita Wings again…I have season ticket once again andI love it!

  • Rosalie

    comment to Pete (#2 on 12-29-11) do you know where to get the tshirt: evolution of man with the football player evolving to a soccer player…I had one years ago and cannot find it. We have not had professional soccer here for about 10 years and now we have Wichita Wings again…I have season ticket once again andI love it!


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