More celebration of Super Bowl Day by attacking the sacred institution of Murkan Football. Josh Spokes is on a tear on the subject, thanks to people treating football fandom as some sort of marginalized minority identity. Friends are making informative comments on his on-a-tear posts, and I sought and got permission to quote a couple.
Here’s the thing: I grew up in a rural and impoverished town in the Midwest. Football was a cultural juggernaut. It was a tool the privileged and powerful in that town used to demonstrate and exact their dominance, while also paying lip service to the idea that they weren’t viciously racist and bigoted – after all, if you could play football and not call them out, they’d treat you like a person.
I’m capable of seeing and appreciating the beauty of raw athleticism and tactics. But the culture of football is toxic.
I’m disturbed by the sexism, racism, and homophobia of football culture. I’m also disturbed by the way in which injured players – including those with devastating brain injuries – are discarded like trash.
When I was in high school, you were ostracized, and in some cases even bullied if you didn’t support football culture 100%. The jocks and the cheerleaders were notorious for picking on the nerds, the Drama club people, and the rest of us misfits. The only nerdy ones who escaped this bullying were anyone who was into band, because of course they were integral to the games.
Nothing was more effective at allowing boys to terrorize sissies like me as the enforced football games as part of gym. It was a walking HORROR.
I can only imagine. There was a good deal of subtle but real ostracism around sports at my school, and it was a tiny private academic girls’ school. I would have to multiply my experience by 100 to come close to the normal experience at a public high school.
I wonder if some fandom is unconscious appeasement. “Don’t beat me up – I love your game! I’m not a jock, but I love love love your game, I swear it!”
Give me ballet any day.