It's Super Bowl Weekend and I'm Breaking up with Football

DownloadWhen I got married, I converted. Not to a religion but to a team. My husband his family were so crazy about Washington's professional football team, that resistance seemed pointless. I didn't care that much about football at the time, so didn't feel bad about abandoning the New York teams.

You notice I wrote "Washington's professional football team" and not the name of the NFL franchise. That's because the team bears a controversial name that many find derogatory. I'm not using it.

Over the decades of my marriage, I learned the game. And I got to enjoy it. It was thrilling to watch the skill, the speed and the strategy. Team spirit and low-level trash-talk seemed like harmless fun.  But now I've had enough. And my problem with football is not just semantics. It's cultural. And it's multi-level.

First, the brain injury problem. Watching the hard hits, hearing the sound of heads smashed together, Images
seeing players fall - it feels like I'm watching violent porn. I use to think the injuries were okay, because the players would generally get back up and hobble to the sideline. Sometimes they left on a stretcher, which use to mean (this is shameful) - oh good, I can go get a snack, because they need to go to commercial break.

But how can you ignore the retired players with dementia, and the ones who kill themselves in despair? The science isn't inconclusive. It's clear. Concussions mean long-term damage.

Download-2Then there's the sexist culture, with the Barbie-doll cheerleaders (who get paid crap, by the way)  and the annoying advertisements with roaring trucks and huge cyborgs selling some dated, hyped-up version of masculinity.

Finally, there's the military jingoism. I love my country, but I don't like watching the way football has teamed up with the military - the flyovers, the huge American flags, the reference to "our heroes" and the inevitable video feed from some military base in the desert, where service men and women are watching the game. What's with this marriage? 


When did football turn into such a vicious gladiator sport?

Goodbye, Football. 

Love, A Former Fan

I Cheated On My Gym

Download-2I cheated on my old gym. I fell for a younger, shinier gym that opened very near my house.  It's spanking new, with lockers that lock, beautiful exercise rooms, mountains of equipment, flowers in the entrance and a person who swiped my membership card and said, "Have a great workout, Kate!"

I was also lulled by the robust class schedule - so many options at so many times.

Because breaking up is hard to do - and I had a longterm relationship with my old gym -  I just put my membership on hold. This new gym cost twice as much as my old one. But it was so close! And so beautiful!

Well, it's been two months and I've returned to my old gym with my tail between my legs. Gyms, it turns out, are about a good fit. The classes at Gym Shiny were filled with young mothers who look like the women in that yoga picture. The instructors shouted things like, "Come on, Ladies. It's almost bikini season!" or "You know you want your butt to look good in those booty shorts."

Uh, no. I do not work out so I can have a rocking body to display (thank God). Sure, I want to be fit, but it's to be able to take the long hikes I enjoy, lug around heavy things, and accrue all the other benefits of exercise, like better cardiovascular health, stronger bones, more flexibility, etc. You know - to live my life.

On top of that, the robust-looking class schedule at Club Shiny was misleading. Many of them required you to pay extra. Say what? I'm already paying a hefty monthly fee.

My first day back at Gym Old Faithful, I took a class with my favorite instructor. As we were setting up, she said, "Before we begin, great news! Pam is a grandmother for the second time!" We all applauded. Pam is a doctor who takes the same strength class I do. Then when we were doing a leg exercise, our instructor said, "Let's really work this, because summer is coming. And we want to be able to be able to take long walks to enjoy it!"

Ah, I'm back with my peeps. I am sorry I strayed and I've learned my lesson.

Oh, one more thing: the classes at Gym Old Faithful are actually far more challenging than the ones at Gym Shiny. Even if the goal is not bikini-ready bodies.