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    February 22, 2005
Blood on the Brain
By:  Joshua Snyder
PatsFans.com Fan Columnist

Blood on the Brain.

This is a high concept rant on my obsession with, what is in essence, a war game. I actively participate in the promotion of the NFL. I purchase its products, hit all of its sites, buy its sponsor’s products and attend its events. I am, as I write, wearing official gear, contributing to an NFL content web page. I am an active marketing tool for a game whose essence is man overcoming man thorough premeditated violent acts.

The National Football League has again attracted record audiences to its Sunday spectacles. The NFL maintains relevancy and increases its customer base by fostering the consumer’s connections to its product on more levels than almost any other institution today, maybe throughout history. It’s teams engender a sense of regionalism; it’s players are marketed to reinforce cultural stereotypes of the Hero, the Greater Good, Man vs. Nature, Good vs. Evil and on and on…

I profess to love the Heroes that take MY field each week. I cheer them as they vault onto the field. I cherish the slow motion shots of my geographically assigned titans, pounding their chests, seeming all the more ethereal as they spit columns of frozen air from their fenced faces. I shout as my sliver domed, faceless champion drives the body of another’s faceless Hero into the frozen turf and cringe when the favor is later returned. These are the Defenders of …what? … Standings…arbitrary comparisons to other groups of highly paid strangers assembled in another area of the country by even higher paid businessmen?

In order to earn a living playing a game these men, as boys, must agree to forgo much of what I as an unaccomplished nobody have been guaranteed. I am assured of my privacy, my vacations, my ability to be judged on my not considerable merits, and I stand a reasonable chance of growing old in reasonable health. All of these things a 17-year-old boy must, often in ignorance, yield up for a small chance at fame and fortune as a faceless brute.

John Madden was once asked, how long does a player have to play before the impact on his body does lasting damage?

“One game, and your never the same”

It is a violent life that I vicariously live through these men.

They love what they are doing. And, for all my prior tone I do love them. And so for that reason I will never again question a man for retiring or quitting. Football recruits men who live a destructive lifestyle, rewards them for it, and then abandons them to it.

I will still watch football, but with a well earned bundle of shame.

Blood on the brain.

Linebacker Teddy Bruschi suffered a “mild stroke” last week. The father of three was rushed to the hospital after complaining of headaches and vision impairment. A Patriots spokesperson later acknowledged that Bruschi had a vein in his brain rupture. Bruschi was later released from the hospital in to the care of his family. His future in the National Football League is uncertain.

Get well Teddy, that’s all.

 Joshua Snyder
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