Dick Harmon: Universities shouldn't ban college football

Published: Thursday, May 10 2012 7:00 p.m. MDT

I've witnessed firsthand some myopic, almost antisocial personalities in college students whose life on campus is centered almost totally on academic pursuits. They need a life.

Of course, some campus life can get out of hand.

And that, of course, mirrors challenges of society in general.

We are carbon-based units comprised of flesh and blood, neurons and ganglia that await more basic stimulation than you can catch from Steinbeck, Einstein or Steve Jobs. We need the whole enchilada, so to speak.

Entertainment is in our blood and has been for centuries. From the days of Greek games to the spectacle of the Roman arena, witnessing sporting events — taking part in the release — is who we are. From the Mayans to the Afghans chasing goat heads on horseback, society has long imprinted this kind of activity and needed it.

I'd argue people who attend college football games are more well-rounded individuals, more conversant, more social and fit better in civil society.

Can college football improve? Of course. Is it perfect? No.

But college football is an American creation. It is our history, heartbeat and canvas. Go to Lincoln, Neb.; South Bend, Ind.; or The Grove in Oxford, Miss.; on a weekend. College football cannot be dismissed as disposable fodder in our communities; it is life's icing.

I admire Bissinger and bought his "Friday Night Lights" when it came off the press back in 1990. But if football wasn't so important, why did he move to Odessa, Texas, and write about a microcosm of the game at the high school level? Sure, the book won a Pulitzer and made him a lot of money and was great insight into what the game did to individuals.

But that's the point: It matters.

And it really matters on college campuses today.

email: dharmon@desnews.com TWITTER: Harmonwrites

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