We talking craniums, collisions and concussions

February 14, 2014

Boys to blockheads - Fewer high school boys are electing to play football, and that trend has been going on long before the entire sports nation was afflicted with Concussion Syndrome. Football is a high-speed collision sport, and a lust for contact helps a young man become a better player. Is the sport less safe than all other sports except for rugby? If we’re talking craniums, and why not talk about them, the answer is yes. I am at home with the football culture where big old boys with 18-inch calves talk about life lessons and character building and say things like, “If you quit in the fourth quarter on your teammates and school and community, how soon before you quit on your family?” “Soon as a 260-pound dude wearing a helmet with skull and crossbones stickers runs through my front door growling, coach.” “Shut up, Frederick, whoever said you were funny besides your prom date?”

The Big Beast - The Cape basketball team misses Big Kountry Andrew Grau, who just signed to play football at the University of Delaware. Andrew is the 6-foot-5 football guy who was poised to have a big year. No doubt he would have made Cape a better and more physical basketball team. I think a football guy is a great addition to a basketball team or lacrosse team, provided has more more skills than just crashing into people. It would be interesting to poll the NBA rosters - its players considered by many the best athletes on the planet - to see who played high school football and who broke 800 on their SATs. LeBron was a wide out, and Iverson was a quarterback. Imagine Kevin Durant on a football field. Right, you can’t; the gridiron is no place for a beanpole.

Insanity workout - I’m not sure what an insanity workout actually is, but it's easy to drive yourself into the ground. The problem becomes major when someone else is trying to do it. High school wrestling wears me out just watching it. How many matches after a summer of workouts and tournaments and a season of matches is too many? I’d say when it gets to February in a high school schedule, most grapplers are way beyond too many. It’s just insane. You would never have a track athlete or swimmer show up for that many showdowns. It short-circuits focus and at times the brain does things to protect itself from itself, maybe saying “Roll over, Beethoven, this is getting crazy.”

Black History Month - I have been posting on my Facebook page each day of February a celebratory biography of a local black person whom I know personally and whom I consider a role model and community hero to all of us. I consider black history a part of my own, not because I have more black friends than Barack Obama, but just because I’m committed to diversity of all kinds, and as a writer, I like to capture the soul of a person. I can tell you it's been fun and people are liking it, because although we all know who the heroes are, sometimes it’s affirming to see it focused in a piece of writing.

In the picture - The Cape swim program is finally in the conversation. No longer considered just the best among downstate programs, the Vikings are ready to take a Big Gulp out of someone’s reputation. The Cape girls are considered the major threat to top-seeded Charter, and most of the top swimmers are two years away from a driver’s license.

Snippets - College lacrosse gets into full swing this weekend with a full slate of games for both men and women. Why they start a season with snow surrounding the field is a mystery to me.

Should wrestling make a comeback as a college sport, or are most athletes fried after high school?

I like women’s ice hockey and rugby. I think sports that tap into the competitive fierceness of women athletes should receive more funding.

How long can adult runners last? It depends on how late they started. The body only has so many hard miles to give; most research indicates about 12 years.

I watched the Beatles’ celebration and all I could think of was “Free James Brown!” Greatest athlete ever on stage, James rolled with soul. Go on now, git!