1.28.2009

Football Lust

Is watching football morally equivalent to ogling SI's annual swimsuit
issue? A dangerous question to ask on the eve of the game's marquee
matchup. It's pretty clear that if I were to slowly make my way
through the swimsuit issue, I would be sinning: that would constitute
a lustful, objectifying, and shallow act. You'll scarcely find a more
rabid football fan than me; and yet I have to admit I find little
difference on a moral plane with savoring a good gridiron contest.

Let's face it: I could care less about Troy Polamalu's heritage, Larry
Fitzgerald's brains, or Kurt Warner's charitable actions. For four
hours on Sunday night (or, in my case, for one hour the next Monday
morning), I want to see football strategery, awe-inspiring throws and
catches, and bone-crushing hits.

Ah yes, the bone-crushing hits. Never mind that the typical football
player is going to age at an alarming rate and enjoy not only a
reduced quantity but an impaired quality of life as a result of what
he does for a living today. Hey, they make their millions and have
fame heaped upon them, and I paid good money for my ticket, so hit and
be hit all day long for my viewing pleasure; and when you're too old
to do so at an elite level, we've forgotten you anyway and moved onto
something younger and fresher. (We're closer in spirit to those
brutal Romans than we'd like to admit, aren't we?)

In other words, just like we don't care about anything about SI's
swimsuit models than their bodies, and in fact use what they do with
those bodies to satisfy our viewing pleasure, so it is with football
and football players. In both cases, our motivations are shallow,
objectifying, and, dare I say, lustful.

Does that mean I need to quit football watching cold turkey? I'm not
sure. At the least, I'll try to remember to check myself as I enjoy
the Big Game on my treadmill Monday morning, to see in what spirit I
am enjoying the contest.

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