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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

TODD vs. FOOTBALL...the inside scoop!

Why Todd Really Hates Football
by Todd Wright

Alright, this whole football thing tends to really upset folks. While I do play up the whole I-hate-football thing a good bit, it is a fact that I do not enjoy the sport. I don't like watching it, playing it or talking about it.

But my aversion to the game is two-fold and I thought it would be interesting to try to put into words what's really going on with me and football. Check this out...

THE SIMPLE TRUTH
I don't like football. At the most basic, honest level, I just don't enjoy the game at all. Under this "simple truth" I would place both professional and college football. There's no real hate here - I'm just not gonna' enjoy a game all that much.

Now, this would be okay. This would not be that big of a deal. Lots of folks don't like football, right? But when it comes to high school football, that's where I get into trouble. That's where it takes on a whole new level.

WHAT LIES BENEATH
I grew up in Lufkin, Texas. This is a town that idolizes high school football. I've known this my whole life and I've dealt with it. As a kid, I went to games and enjoyed hanging out with my friends and celebrating our school's victory over somebody else. Even then, I wasn't nuts about the game, but it was fine.

And then, the Panthers won the State Championship.

It was the event of the year. Business closed down to attend the playoffs. People painted themselves and took off work and drove for hours to see their boys battle it out on the Gridiron.

That was okay, I guess. I mean, I thought it was a little overboard, but I was smart enough to realize that for the players and their families and friends, this was a huge accomplishment. They had done something great. Something rare and unique and memorable.

And then, they made the phone book. And that's what changed me.

A few months after the champions returned home, the new Lufkin phonebook made arrived. And there on the cover were the coaches and students who had won the big trophy and got their names in the record books.

And I tried to remember the last time I'd seen actual people on the cover of our phone book. Usually, every year included some lovely landscape photo of some historical spot downtown or a mural of Lufkin through the ages or something like that. I couldn't remember seeing any other pictures on our phone book ever.

It started to bug me that we'd cover our phonebook with the football team but no one else. What about the countless teachers in the Lufkin area who, for years, have worked themselves to death to improve thousands of minds and lives and careers throughout the years?

What about the men from one of the three huge factories in Lufkin who were responsible for a robust local economy and workmanship that was respected all over the country?

What about pictures of our sons and daughters serving in the military?

I didn't make me mad that the team made the cover. It made me mad that no one else ever had.

That's when I realized that my mind ran contrary to the crowd when it came to the Panthers. I wasn't mad at them. I was mad at us. It bugged me...so much so that I think it burned into me a disgust for anything that looked remotely like hero worship when it came to high school football.

And in some really weird sense, thinking about high school football tonight reminds me that I am just guilty of idolatry as the next guy. I'm convicted because I know that even though I have no problem with high school football, I'm still really good at giving things priority far beyond what they deserve.

So the next time I rail against the Panthers or the Bearcats or Lobos or Tornadoes, give me some room...because sooner or later I'm going to realize that I'm the chief of sinners.

4 comments:

DWC said...

What would happen it Jonah absolutely fell in love with football ... ?

1. Would you let him pay ?
2. Would you attend his games ?
3. Would you "recant" all of these hateful and vicious words ?

Just a few questions that have crossed my mind ... and for the record ... I am not crazy about football either ... we have attended approx 3 LHS games since I graduated in 1989 ...


DWC

Todd Wright said...

Jonah actually is growing more interested in football.

Of course, I'd let him play and attend his games. And if I truly have spoken hatefully or viciously...sure I'd recant. (And then repent!)

God's definitely got a sense of humor, which means within the next two years my son will become a full-blown football fanatic.

Artie said...

As I read your post I really feel what you're saying.. but I confess I am one who reveled in the football madness of Lufkin, TX.

1. I grew up playing football.. and baseball..and basketball..

I got out of basketball as my speed never increased and I got bulky in Jr Hi.

I pitched and played first base in baseball and that was my game of choice when I was young.

But I always played football too. We were a little school much like New Caney in that we were slow and weak when pitted against most football teams..

My senior year we had a 5 and 5 season and had the best record the school had seen in 22 years.

I went to A&M during a time when football was about as good as it is now at A&M..so I was left wanting in that arena too.

Then I moved to Lufkin.

Now life covered me over too much to go to LHS football games most of my time here until 2001 when CHURCH FRIENDS invited us to playoff games..

I saw everyone I knew there...it was a great social event. I really felt connected to my community when I went.. It was just awesome. I'm sure most of the life long Lufkinites thought I was nuts but it made my day to see all of them there. I felt so blessed to be a part.

and then we won state.. and I traveled to Houston and pained my bald head along with Clay Walker and went crazy down there.

This town loved it's team and I was a part of such a cool place. It was such a great feeling to be part of this community when something happened to the school that is pretty much a none in a lifetime thing for most.

I appreciate your comments about failing to recognize those that do the day to day every day to make kids productive citizens. This community should find a way to do that more. But I still love going to the game on Friday night and seeing people I love.

Todd..Jesus is there.. I promise.

oh and it would be so funny to see you with a Lufkin Sideliners hat or the whatevertown your in at the time equivalent. God is certainly funny like that.

I see your position.. I really do..but it's not just football worship.. there is real community happening there.

Peace..

blakerussell said...

ive always the same way about HS football... it always seemed to rule everyones life... thats what they lived for, and somehow worshiped...

weird thing is my highschool didnt have football. but i did see it in the community... and it bugged me.