In a week that saw the sun disappear, albeit temporarily, we also are seeing the return of sport to the high schools in and around our community.
It's been more than two months since the 2016-17 school year closed with the crowning of champions on the diamond, track, fields and courts across the state, and according to data by the National Federation of State High School Associations, participation was greater than ever. But while the games continue, the narrative persists that physical and relatively physical activities such as soccer, lacrosse, wrestling, cheerleading — and, of course, football — are detrimental to the healthy futures of kids foolish enough to play or participate in them.
After all, how dare kids exercise, work with a team, and/or communicate with others without the help of a computer or text machine, especially under the umbrella of heightened risk sports play beneath?
To be clear: I'm being facetious.
Head trauma isn't to be taken lightly and I would never suggest such. But while the science is real, the narrative surrounding it and other physical injury has gone from "possible" to "likely" by irresponsible opponents of the activities under attack.
I participated in legitimate sport for the better part of 25 years, including football, basketball, baseball and outdoor activities such as snow and water skiing. In addition to those traditional undertakings, I spent countless hours risking injury on lakes and rivers, hiking trails, beaches and peoples' backyards. I never broke a bone, never saw the inner workings of an emergency room — and aside from minor whiplash as a result of a dare involving a yoga ball, a not-all-that-well-thought-out jump and a living room floor, have never bordered on concussion.
That's not to say that injuries don't happen. They do and I saw them. But I also saw them on bicycles, skateboards, icy sidewalks, skipping rope and during late-night walks to the bathroom with the combination of bare feet and pesky dressers or bed posts.
A famous bumper sticker once said: "S**t Happens." And it does, but far more often it doesn't, and everything else that does during the majority of that time in the sporting arena, far outweighs the unfortunate minority accounts responsible for the increasing fear.
I'm excited for the upcoming season. I'm looking forward to football and soccer games, volleyball matches and cross country meets whose outcomes remain unknown. But while the competition will be great and the experience gained from them unquantifiable, athletes will get hurt — they always have.
I don't need a bumper sticker or scientific report to tell me that — just the imperfection and unpredictability that history and experience lead me to expect. And that's a fact.