George W. Bush and Blowhard Football Coaches

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Despite
my small size, I played football my first three years of high school.
It was a great experience, especially during my freshman year, when
we won the state championship despite being double-digit underdogs.
However, my football career ended abruptly my junior year, when
I hurt someone for the first time.

I
was always a poor tackler. In hindsight, I think the coaches only
played me on defense because I was fast and could intercept passes.
When I did tackle someone, I usually did it by dragging them down.
Never, in my entire football career, did a coach praise me for a
"good hit."

I
hated tackling because I hated to hurt people, and I avoided injuring
anyone until my junior year. Then, one practice during a tackling
drill, one of my friends ran the ball straight at me. I made contact
and wrapped him up, but he would not go down easy, so I drove my
feet to knock him backward. Suddenly, he said, "My ankle, my
ankle!" I knew something was wrong. The coaches helped him
off the field and then restarted the drill. When my turn came up
again, I was so worried about my friend that I made only a halfhearted
attempt to tackle my new partner, and he got past me.

The
coach forced me to go again, and, once again, he whizzed by me.
"Come on, Andrew," my coach yelled, adding an expletive.
This angered me, and my blood boils even today when I think about
it. I had just injured someone, possibly seriously, and he was yelling
at me for not expending enough effort to hurt someone else.

The
next day, I learned that my friend had two bones broken in his ankle,
and I watched him walk on crutches for the next six months.” Sorry
I hadn’t noticed that before. Other than that, it’s just fine. Thanks
for publishing them.

That
was the beginning of the end of my football career. I finished that
season because I did not want to be a "quitter," but my
heart was no longer in the game, and I did not play my senior year.
I had seriously hurt someone, and I could not think of a way to
justify it. I tried to justify it by telling myself that I only
did what the coaches told me to, but that did not absolve me. Even
though I hurt my friend on the coach's orders, I was still
responsible for the injury.

Camilo
Mejia, a Florida National Guard soldier, refused to return to Iraq
from a two-week leave, claiming conscientious objector status. As
for his sincerity, Lew
Rockwell
said it best when he wrote that "not a living
soul doubts his sincerity." Yet a military court sentenced
him to one year in prison for desertion.

Camilo's
experience resembles mine. He took part in war, where blowhard politicians
like George W. Bush force others to hurt each other, and decided
that he could no longer participate. Like him, I found myself unable
to participate in a system in which blowhards (coaches in my case)
order younger people to hurt each other.

I
doubt that anyone would blame me for refusing to participate after
an obnoxious blowhard forced me to try to hurt others. Camilo refused
to participate in war because he realized that war forces young
men to hurt each other simply because others tell them they should.
I cannot blame him. Can you?

November
3, 2004

Andrew
Young [send him mail] is a
junior history major at Kentucky Wesleyan College in Owensboro,
Kentucky.

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