Voices of 165 was a collection of insightful first draft student work submitted for publication with each student’s permission. It’s purpose was to amplify the student’s voice at my first teaching job in a small, rural district in mid-Michigan. Enjoy!
Small, rural high schools have been noticing a decline in football participation numbers in recent years. In order to continue offering football as a sport, schools have had to change conferences and/or form teams using the 8-man format. The decline in participation numbers is plaguing high schools mainly due to a growing number of parents refusing to allow their children to play heavy contact sports, Amy Bass of CNN, entertains the idea of a world without the Super Bowl in “Is future bleak for Super Bowl?”
Students read Amy Bass’s article for the Article of the Week, and then analyzed, discussed, and reflected with the following prompts:
- Do you believe that the end of the NFL is near? Why or why not?
- What do you think should be done to make playing football more appealing to kids and parents? Brainstorm and reflect on ways to combat the negative light that football is in with head-related injuries.
- One of football’s naysayers compares football/the NFL with cigarettes/tobacco companies. Do you believe or agree that this is a fair comparison? Why or why not?
Here are a few senior and sophomore student reflections from the Article of the Week assignment.
“I think the NFL is near to its end and isn’t near its end. I think it is near its end because most parents of children of the youth aren’t letting their children play football because of the injuries. Another reason why is because the children aren’t playing most sports and the people playing most sports now will retire and no one will play for them. The reason it isn’t going to end is because the generation now would play and last maybe another 10-20 years max for the generation now than maybe will die off.”
“Personally, I don’t think that the end of the NFL is near. The NFL is really big in the U.S. People in the U.S. like football and the NFL too much for it to end.
The NFL may change a little, but that is normal and expected. It won’t just disappear from the world.
Honestly, if they just decided to get rid of the NFL altogether, there would probably be a huge strike and a revolt because people would be so upset.
Football is a natural and special thing in the U.S., but it is constantly changing, and it will continue to change forever.
So no, I do not think the end of the NFL is near. That is impossible.”
“I don’t believe that the end of the NFL is near because there is still a good amount of football players willing to play. Even though participation for high school football is dropping, the sport is still popular. Many high schools still have a great football program and many of those students will go on to play in college or the NFL. In the article they said football participation is dropping due to it being dangerous. In my opinion, all sports can be dangerous and you just have to get the necessary equipment. Football is linked to the most head injuries but they can make extra protective gear for it. The parents should also let their kids play football because it is a sport and there will be injuries. I don’t think the end of the NFL is near. There will always be willing participants.”
“Football and cigarettes are completely different. Smoking slowly kills you. Football is healthy for you; it’s exercise. It does have risks, but it also has benefits. Smoking has no benefits. I don’t know how they think these are alike. Just because you put two things together doesn’t make them similar. That’s like saying smoking and flying are the same. Both have risk, but the risks are completely different. Most of the time anything has it’s risks, but people do them. When you play football, you are helping your body. Smoking just kills your body. I don’t think there is a drug out there that makes you want to play football and kills you at the same time. I don’t understand why people hate football. Yes, you can get injured, but if it’s that person’s passion then they should do it. That’s why I think football and cigarettes are completely different.”
“As there has been for years, the argument of whether football and other sports are safe is being brought up again. The startling part this year is that there are small, but scary results showing fewer people playing. Many school competitions have schools dropping out or have the board members changing the rules. Parents today are noticeably more careful with their children and often make them miss out on things so that they don’t get hurt. In my opinion people are misunderstanding/missing the point of sports in general.
For a large majority of people (especially me), working out and staying in shape is not fun. The entire idea and purpose of sports is a way to have fun while exercising. My favorite sport is dodge ball. Anytime I get to play it I’m more than happy to workout. That is also the thought process for most people. Michael Jordan might not have liked to run, but if he got to play more basketball I’m sure he’d do whatever it took.
Now there are a lot of safety procedures that will sometimes make activities boring or make people unable to play. For example, everyone loves a good hockey fight, but (and this is the central focus of many sport community disputes) the player’s fighting can cause life changing things, such as concussions, injuries, etc. Before officials can manage to make equipment for sports so that these negative things won’t happen people try to take them down.
Once again this point has been brought up probably since professional sports came into existence. While these safety concerns are quite justified, they can also have consequences. As the article said there are simply fewer and fewer people playing football. Obviously not everyone doesn’t sign up for the team because they are afraid to die. The point is there are always good and bad results with change. When people come to understand, this argument might disappear altogether.”
What do you think? Is the future of the Super Bowl bleak? Will the declining participation numbers catch up with the NFL anytime soon?