The Meaning of Football Violence (Part III)

NO RISK, NO GLORY!

In my novel, ULTRA BOWL, a “time-napped” NFL team is forced to play in a world championship where nations field robot teams to compete for tech supremacy, market share and global power.

Before taking the field, where they’ll face certain defeat and likely death, these 21st century football players are addressed by one of the architects of this 22nd century “robotopia.” “You’ve shown me a greatness that the most sophisticated machines will never know. You’ve shown me what makes humans great—their heart, their capacity to love and be loved, their willingness to sacrifice themselves for those they love, to risk their lives and die for what they love. No machine, no robot, no matter how intelligent or how indestructible, can risk. No machine, no robot can achieve such glory.”

This year’s Super Bowl, despite the ongoing revelations about football’s dark side, was watched by 120 million viewers. Football is our greatest communal event. Some call it our “secular religion.” Why? Perhaps because football celebrates our humanity in a way no other sport does. Football players are our heroes not only because of their athletic skill, but also because they risk themselves on the field. In our increasingly bloodless, virtual, machine-enabled world, every time a football player steps onto the field, he’s demonstrating what only a mortal human can. Courage! No Risk, No Glory! And that’s something no machine can do.

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