I know, I know. Everything is so up in the air that today’s speculation is tomorrow’s toilet paper, and it ain’t even on paper.
The most recent possibilities I’ve seen about the football season is that the Big Ten could play an eight-game schedule starting around Thanksgiving. The next most recent conjecture was that a January start was a possibility. That one came with a preemptive argument nullifying wintry weather by stating that games could be played only in domed, climate-controlled stadiums. Hell, if we deferred it to spring, we could play in the southern hemisphere, so it would be like fall, only not here.
So, what’s going on? From a Penn State perspective, we know James Franklin isn’t happy with the cancellation of the season. Neither are players’ parents, who rationalize that if it is safe to go to class, it is also safe to play football. Finally, the players themselves are unhappy. No explanation is needed there.
Who is right?
So who’s right? Obviously, we do not have a crystal ball, so we do not know what effect a football season would have whether it starts in September, November, or January. It’s all guesswork at this point — uncharted territory. We know we have a pandemic that is making lots of people sick and a partial shutdown that is causing economic woes, but we don’t know how football will affect either.
I’ll avoid taking political sides, as typically obtuse and dogmatic false dichotomies exist on both sides, much to the collective chagrin of logicians everywhere. Politicizing the Covid-19 pandemic has led to bad decisions, false promises, outright lies, and dubious progress toward the goal of eradicating the scourge. Far be it from a half-assed football columnist to propose “perfect” solutions like the PhDs over at the University of Facebook. I will, however, opine that there are no complete and foolproof solutions coming from the political sector, no matter who we vote for. In fact, much of what either party might do will make matters worse.
Is football worth all this?
What I ask, though, is whether playing football is worth all this turmoil. We’re being denied a significant form of entertainment, but that is what it is — entertainment. As such, it is not a necessity. It is a luxury. Luxuries are rewards for a healthy society, but this society is not healthy, either with respect to disease pathology or economic pathology. We can pretend that we are, but we have the pandemic and the YOLO “live for now” philosophy, which collectively cry, “BULLSHIT!”
Oh yeah, you argue that our economic health depends on getting back to “business as usual.” Right. That means spending money we don’t have on things we don’t need — overpaying NBA players and corporate executives, for example. Generally living beyond our individual means, for another. Not having savings to tide us over when things get rough, while letting our government print money willy-nilly to anesthetize us into thinking they can make everything OK — that’s the reality of our predicament at the moment.
The government cannot invent money to buy us out of this dilemma. Printed bucks lose real value. All we’re doing with them is deferring the big bill and attempting to soften the landing, while at the same time sowing the seeds for runaway inflation and devaluation of the dollar. Kidding ourselves into believing those politicians who make vacuous promises leaves us dumbed down and vulnerable.
We need to play football.
So, will football help? Yeah, it’s more anesthesia we could use to take our minds off the larger problems looming before all of us. Furthermore, if we act like everything is all right, who is to say that things are not all right. We should spend the remaining money we don’t have on more things we don’t need. We don’t need football; we just want it — just like the rest of the lifestyle we are kidding ourselves into thinking we can afford with complicity from our friendly public servants in Washington.
Both sides of the aisle agree on this! They all drink from that same fountain! The charade goes on, but they know their dirty secret: Keep those printing presses running at warp speed and pumping out greenbacks. Both sides will claim to be responsible for putting more of the increasingly worthless paper in your pocket and will attempt to cajole you into voting for them, so you can have more of the same. At what cost? Our future. Live for now, and to hell with the forthcoming train wreck!
Until we can start producing more than we consume, restoring the balance of trade in our favor and righting our economic ship, printing more baseless dollars to fund our profligate personal and government excesses will only send us careening in the other direction . We kick the can down the road, hoping we can do so forever and ever. We cannot. Politicians know better, but they’re concerned only about the next election. Eventually the bills must be paid. Foreign governments will cease to be interested in funding our profligate spending and artificially elevated lifestyle. Then what will we do?
I think these kinds of reactions (i.e. cancelling football) have long stopped being about science, given the events since the end of May.