The Real Reason We Need Football this and Every Fall
 
This is probably a reason you haven't before considered, if you’re like me
 
The sixty-four dollar question, floating around the mountains of eastern Kentucky, is whether we are going to have high school football this Fall. While the question seems trite, it really is far from it.
 
Forget the fact that, since the earliest days of western civilization, we have used sports or sporting contests as a way to distract us from the miserable reality of our existences. This very newspaper’s editor wrote a piece on that very subject weeks ago. I won’t re-write it today.
 
Needless to say, present day American existence has seldom been more miserable than it is right now. The unemployment rate is so bad we are bragging about it dipping to 11%. The economy is in the crapper with states so inflicted with “runaway virus” they are contemplating shutting down a second time. 
 
Our leaders think, if they bury their heads in the sand, the virus will just disappear. We are being led, at the national level, by charlatans and fools.
 
In the midst of all of this is the question whether the Bobcats will play on The Riverbank this coming fall. Boy, do I ever hope so.
 
I don’t hope so because of any personal reason. Uncle Abe seldom leaves his “Holler” aside from coming to town to drop his article off at the Times-Voice on Sundays.
 
I hope so because we need the distraction. We need the distraction far more globally than just in Breathitt County.
 
However, all of that aside, I saw something posted on social media by a high school football coach I know who happens to be from eastern-Kentucky but not from Breathitt. I found his take on why we need football to be salient, well made, and entirely true. It was a take I hadn’t considered.
 
According to him, we don’t need to play for the star athlete. He will get a scholarship, more than likely, to play college football regardless of what we do. As he said, “Talent gets found and the scholarship process works itself out…”
 
I thought about that when a very good player I know from Madisonville, Kentucky got signed to play for Murray State this past week. He had been overlooked and was headed to play for Thomas Moore University. The Racers called and offered him at the “last minute.” 
 
Like that guy said, the situation worked itself out, regardless of what we did or didn’t do. Good luck to that young man, he will do well, partly because it didn’t come easily to him.
 
The kid who needs football, this Fall, is the kid who dislikes school. This is the kid who likely won’t play football after high school. This is the kid who, being on the football team, is his school’s sole and exclusive redeeming aspect.
 
You know this kid or have known him for years. This is the kid whose attendance, behavior, and effort are there only so he can remain eligible.
 
Here’s a question to Governor Beshear. Here’s a question for the head of the KHSAA, Julian Tackett. Here is a question for Phillip Watts, who needs no introduction to anyone reading this. 
 
What makes that kid even show-up for school, this fall, if there is no football? Broadening it further, what makes that kid, who actually exists in every sport, show-up this fall if his (or her) game will not be played? 
 
Even if the kid attends, why would he follow the rules, he isn’t really disposed to following, and give a consistent effort in the classroom, where he has only before done it to remain eligible to play a game which has been cancelled? For this kid, it has been football which has motivated the above behaviors over and above any other factors. 
 
Now before anyone says “...but we owe it to this kid to keep him from dying from Covid-19," the national statistics indicate a kid, under 24, has as much chance of dying from Covid-19 as being struck by lightning. Should we cancel football, this fall, for fear of an electrical storm? Pretty sure there will be at least one.
 
The guy on social media concludes with the fact that, every year at graduation, there are kids getting diplomas who make it because football kept them on the right path. They were often dragged along by coaches across that finish line.
 
Their futures are much the brighter for getting a high school diploma. Will that kid get his robe and mortar-board in the Spring of 2021, without football? 
 
It’s a fair question. Someone needs to be answering it!
 
This is your old Uncle Abe Yokem, and I am still up here SHOUTING FROM THE MOUNTAIN-TOP! 
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