What’s So Great about Football?

by Jamie Nichols 

Editor’s Note: The following story was written by a student in our Urban Youth International Journalism Program, which is generously funded by the McCormick Foundation.

People take off their clothes and paint their bodies in the freezing cold just to show their loyalty to their team. This is football. I can’t believe how many people are so loyal to their teams. I love football and I play football but I would not do all of that. It seems to me that football is our country’s most popular sport, based on how many people talk about it.

I interviewed students and teachers at Robeson High School about their views on football.

Amber M. Stoker is a 24-year-old City Year staffer at Robeson. She loves football because of the physical contact and her favorite team is the Chicago Bears. She has never been to an NFL game but she’s been to high school games. Even though she likes the sport, she knows that injuries are a serious problem. She knew someone who had a football scholarship to college but it was messed up because of an injury.

Dwayne J. Branson, 24, is also a City Year staffer from Chicago. He loves football because he bonds with his family while he’s watching. His favorite team is the Green Bay Packers. He went to one of their games at a young age and didn’t understand it but still had fun. He’s also been to several high school teams. Like Stoker, he knows that injuries are a problem that can “bring a team down.”

Spencer W. Hendrikson is a 23-year-old City Year staffer from Chicago. He likes football but likes baseball more. The Bears are his favorite team. He’s only been to one game, at a young age, and he’s known people who played football when he was in the Boy Scouts and also his gym teacher. He thinks the game is often “too violent” and “people don’t take care” to avoid injuries.

Dane M. Harken, 23, from Tucson is another City Year staffer. He likes playing football but he thinks watching football is boring. He likes soccer better. He said injuries are “scary” and can cause brain damage later in life. He thinks better helmets should be mandatory. He’s been to high school and college games, though never an NFL game. He actually knew NFL star player Lance Briggs.

City Year staffer Susan R. Liv, 23, from Naperville thinks “football is exciting” but mostly she just watches the Super Bowl. She enjoys other people’s excitement and sees it as a cultural event. “I think it’s a rough sport…when someone gets injured it affects the whole team…and (injuries) are common,” she said. She also doesn’t like how much down time is in the game.

Robeson student Reginald Jenkins, 15, thinks “football is interesting because people get their bones broken.” He has never played or been to a football game but he’d like to play.

Robeson student Jarimah Dilworth said he likes “football because of the physical contact.” He played himself in the past but doesn’t want to continue. He likes the Bears because they are his home team. His favorite player is Brian Urlacher of the Bears.

The common themes of my interviews are that people are loyal to their home teams and many people, even those who are fans, think the game is too violent. Ultimately, many people feel like they can’t live without football. I know I can’t!

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