How football became a thing

As a confirmed ectomorph whose defining deadly sin is sloth, athletic competition is not in my wheelhouse. I look upon soirees such as the coming Super Bowl with little more than anthropological interest. “How did that become a thing?” I ask myself. Well, not the Super Bowl itself. That I get — go big or go home. But how did football become a thing? Teams of armored giants employing group violence to move an inflated pigskin up and down a flat clearing. It seems an unlikely obsession.

“Playing Kokpar,” oil on canvas, Artist: Franz Roubaud. “That Afghan polo game with the goat carcass, same deal.”

But then I remember a winter’s day back in the ’70s, living in a semi-heated ramshackle with six other adults and a couple dogs. In the back of a back closet someone came across a stash of “boffers” – styrofoam bludgeons used in primal therapy – and suddenly we were all outside, waling on each other with all our might and rolling around with the barking dogs. And while the neighbors didn’t join in, they were delighted to watch. We could have sold tickets.

So that’s my theory. We have football because we have winter. That Afghan polo game with the goat carcass, same deal. All that suppressed energy, all that compressed companionship, the cold, the dark. It has to come out somewhere. That’s just thermodynamics.

Now I just need a theory to explain all those chicken wings.


5 Comments on “How football became a thing”

  1. Beth Rowland says:

    That’s it! Thanks for figuring it out for us, Dale. Now get on to figuring out the chicken wings thing, please.

  2. Peter Klein says:

    Chicken wings were the natural result of chopping off the wings of live chickens so they wouldn’t fly away.
    As to football, it exists because it is fun. It was an American outgrowth of Rugby and really took off with the forward pass. It might get killed off by instant replay that overturns or confirms (in some people’s opinion) rulings on the field.

  3. Jim Fox says:

    Dale, you sure think out of the box. This musing and painting makes me smile.

  4. Terrific blog, Dale. Your analysis is hilarious, and dead on! Once the majority of mother’s realize that football is not that different from boxing, health-wise, for their children, the future of that ‘sport’ will be in jeopardy, as well.

  5. James says:

    I remember you telling me in person once about the inhabitants of the communal dwelling whaling on each other with the therapy instruments. I’m glad you’ve shared it in print for everyone’s enjoyment! Thanks!

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