Sunday, October 5, 2014

Sometimes voting is like football

The Red Sox season is winding down quickly and while I won’t miss seeing them lose game after game, I do not like my options for fall sports. In our house there seem to be two options: pro football or college football — and neither is the least bit appealing.

I have several issues with football. The first is that it just seems to be about hurting your opponents. There are really really big guys whose only job is to push against the other team’s really really big guys so that none of them have the option to squish the somewhat smaller quarterback. These really big guys do not seem like athletes to me and I am sad to think about how they are encouraged to gain more mass than a healthy human should carry. People have argued to me that injuries are incidental — and part of any sport — and that the really big guys can run really fast. I’ll argue that there aren’t too many sports that require a player to pounce on each other at full speed or have to discipline professional coaches for putting bounties on opposing players’ knees.

The other reason I like baseball better than football is that the league seems to be a lot more concerned about the behavior of its players. Former Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon made an obscene gesture at a fan and was almost immediately suspended for seven games. Ray Rice knocks his fiancé out cold during a brawl in an elevator and seven months later and many alleged cover ups later, he finally gets suspended. I admit that it took baseball a long time to deal with their performance-enhancing drug policies, but as Alex Rodriguez contemplates his existence during his year-long suspension, the NFL has recently decided that off season amphetamine use is actually okay, clearing the way for Wes Welker to play for the Broncos this season. What kind of message does that send to kids? I’m hearing, “it’s okay to do drugs that may be bad for you, just don’t let them catch you during the season.”

So while football season — and my spouse — provide me few options for fall entertainment, the Superbowl of politics is just around the corner. Election Day is less than six weeks away and I am looking forward to making my voting choices. It’s unfortunate that voters don’t have as many choices as they should. Too many incumbents go unchallenged and without two strong parties in our state, sometimes policies are not properly debated and accountability goes out the window. Elections are about choices and if there aren’t any, I try not to give in to the urge to just draw a bunch of lines. Sometimes I look at my ballot and vote against someone or write in a name or only pick two when I could actually pick five (like for Town Council). There’s still very little I can do about the overwhelming amount of football watching in my house, but like my ballot, I often I pick “none of the above” and make other plans.

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