Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Football: the new partisan divide // Leonhardt/ NY Times

I'm a baseball fan first, football second, basketball third. Soccer...OK, but I have the usual American complaints about it.  That's also the order in which I understand the games.  I am not a big sports fan.  I keep a pretty casual eye on "my teams", not much more.  But I do suffer when the the Red Sox lose, especially to the Yankees.  Less so for the Giants, who I will root for even over the Patriots.  Boston teams are always my second choice - a product of my undergraduate and graduate education in Massachusetts and long time preference for New England summer vacations.
My wife has long denigrated football's championship game as the "Stupid Bowl".  But that now seems too disrespectful a judgement.  Now that even the NFL admits that perhaps 30% of players will suffer symptomatic brain injury.  Now my background as a workplace injury lawyer causes me to recoil from the game.  I still listen to Fordham football on WFUV, keep an eye out for the Giants and Pats, Notre Dame too.  But the days of celebrating a hit are gone, the excitement of the "sack" are fading.  And now I see football frenzy as part of Texas pathology.
 - gwc
Football, the Newest Partisan Divide - NYTimes.com
by David Leonhardt

To the list of issues that divide the country along partisan lines, you can add an unusual item: football.
Yes, virtually every slice of America still watches football in enormous numbers. But blue America — particularly the highly educated Democratic-leaning areas of major metropolitan areas — is increasingly deciding that it doesn’t want its sons playing football.
The number of boys playing high school football has fallen 15 percent over the last six years in both Minnesota and Wisconsin, according to the National Federation of State High School Associations. The decline in Colorado has been 14 percent. It has been 8 percent in Massachusetts and Maryland, 7 percent in New York and 4 percent in California.
Each of these states voted Democratic in the last two presidential elections, and each is among the more educated states in the nation, measured by the share of the population with a bachelor’s degree.
My colleagues John Branch and Billy Witz recently wrote about the growing number of high school seasons that have been canceled prematurely because the teams could not field enough players deemed to be healthy. Of the nine examples in the article — from the East Coast, the Midwest and the West — eight were in states that voted for President Obama twice. (The exception was Montana.)

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