Defund the Football Team

Written by Susan Fritz | Thursday, July 16th, 2020 Posted in Blog, Politics

When I thought of this analogy, I figured the US of ADD would have moved on by the time I got my act together to write something. Sadly, Reality has rendered it a continuously current event, and anyway–injustice isn’t a thing to move on from until it’s a thing that’s solved. (sorry, folks, we may be here a while…)

“Defund the Police”, I’ll admit, sounded extreme and/or unrealistic when I first heard the phrase…but so did a peanut butter, avocado, and banana sandwich until I put the thing together and tried it (it’s delicious and I’ll eat yours if you don’t want it, thanks). That’s because social conventions, like food conventions, are meant to be broken and reformed through creative ideas and solutions.

Injury or abuse at the hands of police is not palatable—in any way. Not even, by the way, for the “bad guys” (I heard you about to “yeah, but!”). It’s also not sustainable if we wish to continue to live together and not apart (do we wish this? I suppose that’s also up for debate—for another musing…distractions are also part of the problem).

For now, there is my comparison…

If you went to a high school the size of mine or bigger, you may have gone to a football game once or twice. There, you may have noticed the crowd of fellas hanging out on the sidelines. Is it a sideline? It’s not an endzone…I’m not sure what it’s called, because I DON’T GIVE A RAT’S BEHIND ABOUT FOOTBALL!

What did I care about in high school, you ask? Well, I cared about girls’ basketball (I was/am a girl); I cared about music (I was/am a singer); I cared about drama (I was/am-ish a Thespian). I did not/do not care about football.

Sound harsh? Well, although it was a small circle in the Venn diagram of participants, there was overlap between the football players and the departments mentioned above, but there was one BIG difference: funding. While 25 or more boys stood on the sideline-y place fully uniformed without executing a single play, us basketball girls/drama dorks/music nerds scraped away for funds—or rather were simply used to making do with what we had and fundraising for the rest. I mean—do you think I ENJOYED selling boxes of fruit so the choir could purchase hideous poufy-sleeved dresses? Think again, friends, think again. But that was how it was.

The football boys got whatever they wanted and DIDN’T EVEN NEED TO PLAY. Add “by the rules” and our comparison becomes more apt…

To those of you who haven’t heard me say this, it may be shocking, but I don’t actually believe in “fairness” as it’s conventionally defined. There is, in my view, no one-to-one karmic correlation between what “should” and “should not” be. Sorry…

And yet—there is such a thing as a working brain and the ability to do math. These two forces, when combined for good and not evil, can create an approximation of “fairness” and at least minimize the many disparities which exist.

When one resource is disproportionately appointed to the detriment of another, however, there is no more possibility for the above. In-quotes “unfairness” simply becomes  “illogic”…and illogical acts are not often benign—they are harmful. The dudes on the side of the field, while appearing benign and harmless while not playing, are actually taking away from the other resources which make up a well-rounded and functioning school culture. The Thespians also need to be put in, coach. You’d also be doing the sideline-warmers a favor, too. If #34 spent more time after school in the chemistry lab, he might impress the cheerleader just as much with his AP test scores as his ability to attend practice but never play.

And when they are, oh my how the rest of the “society” thrives. The drama kid helps out the struggling wallflowers with his speech in history class; the clarinet player stays after school to practice for his chamber performance instead of going home to an empty or less-than-friendly household. The volleyball player gets a scholarship and goes on to become a nurse.

I’m still talking about high school in these examples, of course, but it doesn’t take a Master of Metaphor to extrapolate that skills set of social workers, mental health professionals, EMT workers–a vast array of Public servants–require resources as much as the citizens in Blue.

Don’t scrap the Football team, just scrape a little off the top for the rest of us.

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