My team is not dirty. All the issues were on their side of the field. This is a football game, not a Hallmark Moment.” – Scott Lago, a Pop Warner football coach in Southbridge, Mass. after a game in which five opposing players, all 12 or younger, suffered concussions.
When I read this quote the other day, it hit me that maybe, just maybe, our Neanderthal selves are much more part of us than we would like to admit.
It’s that old “Christian and the Lions” story. Thumbs up? Thumbs down? I know it’s not politically correct to discuss some of these things, but let’s face it, there are a few people who watch cars drive in a circle for hours in the hopes that someone will crash. And how about professional wrestling? It’s always real quiet when we see a professional athlete down on the field, but, obviously, that New Orleans coach had that goal in mind from the beginning.
Desmond Morris wrote a book back in the '70s called, “The Naked Ape,” and it was about us. Morris was a zoologist who studied animals his entire life. Then he took all of that animal information and wrote a telling book about the fact that, even though I’m writing this in a white shirt with a necktie on, and in an airplane, I’m really an animal.
Yeah, we can go through the soul discussion and the ability to choose discussion, but there are still a load of things in our DNA that clearly demonstrate that we are mammals, animals, in so many ways.
I’ve always been really curious about that pheromone thing? We are attracted to each other by our smells, but we don’t know what we are smelling?
It’s kind of like a dog whistle. How many times have you heard someone say, “I walked into the room, saw him or her, and the rest is history?” I’ll never forget the talking head who, during the Clinton scandal years said, “He’s an Alpha male, and they like spreading it around.” Or how about when Barry and Mitten almost squared off at the second debate and started punching each other?
So, the question becomes: Are we doing enough to take care of our animal selves? If 90 percent of our healthcare-related illnesses come from stress, are we doing enough animal stuff to relieve it?I was seated beside a physician on a flight a few weeks ago when he described the difference between good and bad stress. He said that if you spell desserts backwards, it spells stressed . . . or something like that.So, maybe we need to figure out what is civilized animal stuff and what is uncivilized animal stuff, and just own up to the fact that we are NOT always in control of our inner animals. Mine, for example, longs to see a violent James Bond movie where no one is really hurt and it all ends up good. Yours might be football or a knock-down drag-out opera.
I’m sure that Coach Scott is a decent, church-going guy who loves his family, is a working stiff, and probably drives a minivan. Truthfully, when I Googled Scott, the only information that appeared was about Scotty Lago, the world-famous snowboarding dude. I honestly don’t think that this is the guy quoted above. This Scott probably drives a minivan, and was NOT a star football player.
Maybe we should all spend more time protecting the brains of the teams’ leadership . . . because, if they teach little kids to hit like missiles, they can’t be thinking straight.