|I cannot live without books. -Thomas Jefferson||Reading Lists|
|There exists in human nature a strong propensity to depreciate the advantages, and to magnify the evils, of the present times. -Edward Gibbon||Quotes|
I played high school football, in a manner of speaking. My friends and I often played tackle football without pads on the weekends, usually on muddy fields, which served to reduce the force of the tackles. As a junior at Jackson High School in Portland, at 5 foot 2 inches tall and weighing in at 115 pounds, I lingered at the third position on the varsity football depth chart as a cornerback, and played only near the end of lopsided games, simply too small to be taken seriously.
Growing up, football and basketball were my favorite sports. ¬†I played lots of touch football with my friends and family. ¬†Yet as parents, when our boys played high school sports, my wife and I did not allow them to play tackle football: ¬†We felt ¬†that with the amount and severity of injuries in football, the risk was too high. ¬†Given the recent revelations of long-term injuries in football, the question can be asked anew: Would we have let our children play football today, or more urgently, would we want our grandchildren to play football today?
When I was growing up, my father taught us a little ditty from his Mennonite boyhood:
Play the Alpenkr√§uter song (vocals and piano)
It was a charming little tune, and I would sing or hum it on the off occasion during my youth. At no time did it occur to my father to translate or to explain the song, nor did it occur to me to ask. I suppose sometimes the music is captivating enough. Some time in my teens, my curiosity was finally aroused regarding its meaning and perhaps its place in Midwestern Mennonite culture, so . . .