Thursday, October 1, 2009

Can we get serious?

So, apparently Urban Meyer "saw" (his words, not mine) Tim Tebow and "he looked fine." For those unaware, Time Tebow, the Heisman trophy winning quarterback for the University of Florida, suffered a concussion during last week's game. The problem with the coach's statement is that a concussion has nothing to do with how someone looks, which is part of the problem. The other problem, which we are finding out through painful experience, is that we don't understand as much about concussions and their long-term impact as we thought we did. Tebow is still suffering severe headaches and isn't able to read, but it's okay because "he looks fine." I know the idea of student-athletes is just a charade at most D1 universities, but how is Tebow doing any class work when he can't read?

The other problem is, what was Tebow doing in a game that Florida was dominating and up by 24 points in the third quarter when he was already sick to begin with? Now coaches are coming to Meyer's defense and saying that he should have been there, because the game was still within reach, yadda, yadda, yadda. This is exactly the response you would expect and part of the problem with big-time college athletics. There was absolutely no way that Kentucky was going to catch the Gators. The problem is that these programs like running up big numbers and scores against these teams because it makes them look better and they are rewarded by the pollsters and sports reporters. Until that second part changes, the unsportsmanlike nature of the first part won't change.

What Meyer now has to consider, and I truly hope he does, is that we are talking about Tebow's long-term future here, not about just winning some more football games. As I already said the studies being done on concussions, most of them related to football, show that there are serious long-term consequences resulting from multiple concussions and we simply do not know what all the ramifications are. Now some reporters are saying he'll be okay because this is only his first one. Tebow has been playing football, and playing quarterback, for the majority of his life. The likelihood that he has not had a concussion before this is almost zero, it's just that it was never diagnosed.

Don't get me wrong. I love football, especially college football, but we as a society owe something to these kids to protect them. They are not just gladiators to be thrown out whenever we are done with them.

And as long as we are talking about ridiculousness, what is the President doing trying to get the Olympics to come the United States? Doesn't he have more important things to be worried about, like say health care or the economy? It's not like the US absolutely needs another Olympics. For some countries this is not the case.

China wanted the Olympics for political reasons, and they pulled out all the stops to make that happen. I can even see Brazil's interest in highlighting their country, but what does the US get out of this? Do we need a higher profile? Do we need to make some political statement? I just don't understand it.

It's time to show some leadership Mr. President and going to Copenhagen to bring back the Olympics is not it. I'm sure that someone told you it will make the country feel good about itself and give you a big "win," but that's not leadership, that's pandering. Don't stoop below yourself; be what you promised us you would be, a leader. The Olympics in Chicago is not change we can believe in, it's just more of the same.

Snap Judgements

Last week in God Squad one of the topics we were dealing with was snap judgements that we make about people and how accurate, useful or destructive they are. Today on the train as I was heading into Harvard, the guy sitting across from me was reading a fairly thick book with a black cover and he was moving his lips and moving his fingers around to different parts, like he was trying to figure out something, like an equation. He also happened to be Indian and so I jumped to the conclusion that he was a grad student at Harvard and he was reading a physics book.

As we kept going he shifted and lifted the book up and it turned out to be a Bible, which totally blew my first impression and brought up a whole new set of ideas about him. It also happened to be the NIV which tends to be the "conservative" translation, so now I also had to weigh thoughts about conservatives who would be reading their Bible in public.

We make snap judgements all the time. I think it's impossible not to, but we have to be aware of them as well so that we can get past them in order to see everyone as a child of God.