So what we know here is that 32 year old Dave Coleman, father of 5, and (former) Nap resident was playing in a very, very shitty semi-pro football league for a team out of Portland, IN (borderline Amish country and nearly a 2 hour drive from his house so you KNOW that he took this seriously). During a recent game in the Toledo area, he went for a tackle or something, did not keep his head on a swivel, and got Hines’d the fuck Warded. He tried to get up. He couldn’t. He never got up again. Dead. That seems like pretty much the gist of the story here. If I forgot any important details then feel free to show me the light.
First, I have no problem with people doing what they love to do. People that enjoy playing hoops should play as much pick-up basketball that they want to play. People that like to cook should feed me delicious food that they make me for free. People that like to jerk off are more than welcome to paint their walls white until the well runs dry. I get it. It’s good to have hobbies and to be passionate about things even when you get older. However, there is a time and a place for everything in life. Competitive football does not fit into the aforementioned activities. When you strap those pads on, you are now a potentially deadly weapon. I'm no fancy big city father (pulls on suspenders) but this does not seem like something that a father of 5 should be doing.
Sure, we all laughed at the inanity of Unnecessary Roughness when legendary screen actors Scott Bakula and Sinbad rose from the dead to play college football for one more season. What a tremendous premise that was! Look at Sinbad! He can barely move! But in real life, it’s just sad to see a 30+ year old man trying to relive past glories that no one else remembers or shares. There is a reason why most NFL players are done playing by the time they are 28 or 29 years old and that is because the human body is not designed to play football for long.
Personally, there are times every once in awhile where I wish that I could strap the pads on again and hit somebody, but that notion passes rather quickly when I realize that I am 31 years old and have no desire to get hit anymore. Football is the greatest game on the planet yet, as we learned from the Junior Seau saga, you can’t play it forever. And unless you are a QB or a kicker or something, your body will eventually agree with that.
I like to think that your football “career” is similar to bringing a baseball glove to a Major League game. You only have so long to get away with that before you come off as pathetic and embarrassing. For the glove, I feel like once you have finished Little League (around 11 or 12 years old), then your days of bringing in your own mitt is over. No ball is going to come within a section of you and a real man can grab a liner with his bare hands. Also, you need both hands free to crush beers and inhale hot dogs. On the other hand, with football, you get one shot at it. That may end your senior year in high school or in college if you’re lucky or in the pros if you are ELITE. Once it is done, it is DONE (with exception of flag or touch or Brett Favre Wrangler Jeans football which are completely acceptable). If you did it right the first time, you shouldn’t feel the need to absorb more body and head blows. Period.
Back to Coleman though, obviously I don’t know the guy or his family or anything like that, but it’s a fucking horrible thought to know that his girls lost their dad during a weird football game in some obscure league. It’s hard to imagine going through that and understanding all the therapy that they may require. But this was totally preventable and everyone knows it even if it does sound harsh. I’m not even saying that he “deserved” this because that isn’t true and definitely isn’t cool. What I am saying is that grown men with kids and jobs and responsibilities shouldn’t be playing football. EVER. Coach or officiate if you want to give back and stay involved. Your playing days ended a long time ago. Deal with it.
Actually, that isn’t fair or true. Because Coleman was selfish, now his girls have to deal with it. And that is the saddest part about this very preventable situation. We’re all getting old now and we all need to come to grips with reality and limitations. You can’t drink like you used to. You get way worse hangovers. Your hand-eye coordination sucks. Your back is more prone to random spasms. It’s all about preservation now and not taking ridiculously stupid risks like being a tackling dummy in your early 30’s. Just remember that people are counting on you now so it's probably for the best if you stopped trying to concuss other schlubs every other weekend.
Also, if you play men’s softball, you are gay. Don’t ask questions. You just are.