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In Defense of Contact Sports

Physical boy’s have noticeably better childhoods and adult lives than their counterparts, they have much lower rates of ADHD, depression and anger management issues. The more physical and risky their childhood activities the faster and better thinking they are as adults.  Physical boyhood has been under attack for a couple of decades. Government schooling, electronic entertainment, cultural Marxism, zero tolerance, toxins and chemicals in our food, political correctness, helicopter parenting and stranger danger are all part of societal changes that are a direct assault on what used to be considered normal young men. Masculinity is a dirty word. Alpha males are being banished from the record, replaced with the androgynous metro-sexual.
Contact sports are the historical training ground for physical energetic (normal)  boys. Life is hard; the physical and cardio vascular stress of wrestling, football and hockey simulate the adversity that boys will face as adults. Hard work, bouncing back, being coachable, performance anxiety, problem solving and dealing with aggression are rites of passage and all part of transforming from a boy to a man.
With the guidance of a father (coach/mentor) a boy successfully navigates his way through many of the challenges of adolescence and arrives sometime in their mid 20’s as a well adjusted confident male. The alpha male is king of his domain, and he knows it. Since he believes his dominance is unlikely to be challenged, his posture is relaxed and confident. He interacts and behaves in an honest and open manner with the world. His focus is on what he’s doing, not how he’s being perceived. As a grown up he doesn’t “mate guard” because he doesn’t need to. He’s not aggressive unless challenged. Non-physical beta males have a much higher rate of dishonest, uptight, closed and aggressive behavior for no reason; they mate guard and start fights and wars to compensate for being less than. They concern themselves with what others think and perceive them to be because they are insecure with who they are; having lacked the foundation of necessary life lessons.
Key to this is for the boy to have a strong and loving male role model to help them through puberty and into their 20’s when the boy’s brain is done maturing.
Society’s full assault on contact sports, especially football is at a record high. Study after study points at the massive problem of concussions not just in football but all sports. Bikes are the number one cause of childhood concussions in the country but I’d argue that the lessons learned from learning to ride a bike and the independence it fosters outweigh the dangers just like contact sports.
I’d also make the case that boys that don’t ride bikes or play contact sports wind up far worse as grown ups having never learned many of life’s most important lessons. Boys and men weren’t created to be safely sheltered in bubble wrap, they are created to be leaders, fathers husbands etc. Just like a ship in harbor is safe BUT that’s not what ships were made for. Safety by its very nature doesn’t allow learning and growth. The contact sports (wrestling, football and hockey) combine physical, mental and emotional challenge, risk taking, learning and rewards. I only wish more parents could embrace the fact that shielding children, especially boys, from every harm possible doesn’t serve them well. Risk is vital to development, let your boys follow their instincts and if they don’t have them – explore your parenting of them. Have you protected them from it?

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