It’s always present in your apple-pie coming-of-age film, or, frankly, any high school mass media attempting to be relatable to teens. For some reason, a football team is a stereotypical icon of high school glory days, bringing to mind lionized images of cheering fans, smiling cheerleaders, and loud roars from the crowd.
And yet, when we only bring to mind the visceral images of football, we all too frequently ignore the harms that this sport entails. Just recently, a spate of injuries has rekindled the discussion about the pros and cons of sports participation for young adults. There are real concerns about the injuries sustained from a sport whose own rules permit violent bodily contact. Concussions are not to be taken lightly, and it’s important to note that from any perspective, an individual’s health carries far greater importance than a single game.
My high school, Palos Verdes Peninsula High School, has announced that our football team has been canceled for the rest of the year due to injury concerns. At the beginning of the year, our varsity team consisted of only 27 varsity players, which was a stretch to accommodate all the different positions. Meanwhile, after multiple injuries, the player count has decreased significantly.
From a basic economic perspective, it makes sense to retire the football team for the year. The costs outweigh the benefits — players potentially dying on the field or winning a sports game? However, one must account for the passions of the local community. In the upsurge of emotion after the announcement, 1,928 supporters signed a petition to bring Palos Verdes Peninsula football back, citing argument such as a traditional rivalry game, seniors’ hard work, and how a high school is primarily defined by their football team.
However, I wholeheartedly support my high school’s decision to retire the team. I believe that my school took the appropriate measures to ensure student safety over school spirit, the proper priority of an educational institution. Meanwhile, I also believe that this action also affects more than just our school, but can also encourage other schools to act in the best interests of their students, not necessarily what is popular in the community. Thus, I commend this brave step forward and look forward to seeing how our football team will adapt for the future.