I have a history of playing sports competitively and being very interested in watching sports as a means of entertainment. As old habits tend to die hard, today I found myself watching the sporting news from Canada. On a discussion panel, some commentators were having a discussion about the growing issue of concussions and player safety in American Football.
While one commentator was giving his perspectives, he mentioned briefly about how American Football players really ‘earn their money’, because they continuously put their bodies and their health on the line to play the game, and this was especially so with regards to players of the Canadian Football League as they are paid salaries that are similar to that of a school teacher in Canada. The commentator was direct in his statement as he said that players literally abuse their bodies and the bodies of others to play the game.
It struck me that although he may have been unaware of what he was really indicating, he actually came out and exposed the point that there are people in this world who knowingly, consciously sacrifice their bodies and their health for money – and not even necessarily great money. This may not be seen as an issue of what people have to do as a matter of survival in this world, as we as a society tend to never admit that life on earth has been reduced to a matter of purely surviving for the vast majority of life on earth. There are even reasons that hide and cover this point up, as for in this instance many say that ‘players are doing it for the love of the game’.
Obviously this is not the case as if it were, then the desire to play for money would not exist and players would play the game with no money involved and competing to be the best would be something that is done with no monetary value attached.
Just about everyone, everything and all that we do in our world has been commodified and reduced to a point of what is profitable in order to survive within a capitalist system, so this principle of people having to compromise and marginalize themselves for money – even to the degree of having a harmful effect on the physical body – really applies to everyone.
This particular example hit home with me as I used to play American Football competitively, and to be able to play this game competitively and successfully, I was required to abuse my body and the body of others. In fact we were encouraged and rewarded as players to inflict as much physical damage on opposing players as possible. Eventually I quit playing football as I became tired of the physical toll it was taking on my body. Interestingly enough, when I look at how I generally treated my body in my life even before football, I can see that I was quite hard on my body and would tend to ignore physical damage in would inflict on myself – sometimes incidental or even deliberate – for reasons I had decided were more important than taking care of and treating my body with respect – the greater fear of survival in this world.
When the fear of survival is so deeply ingrained, we will choose bad options in fear of worse options – the bad being to hurt ourselves physically, the worse being dying from not doing whatever is necessary to survive, even if it means hurting ourselves.
This is a condition that is directly related to capitalism and the context thereof – money and survival. It is amazing what people will do to themselves to be able to compete with others, to be special, to be noticed, to be love and adored, and to get rich – ‘get rich or die trying’.
I am one vote to stop this madness – such neglect and self abuse. I am one for an equal money system where all life is valued from birth to death and no one is required to ever again compete and fight for survival.