Locked Out

More

I'm weirdly giddy about the NFL work stoppage.


Increasingly, I feel a personal reckoning coming for me and the game I've loved since I was five. Much like diet choices, I don't have much interest in the objective question ("Is football immoral?") And much like diet choices, I feel a slow change (in my case toward the vegetarian) coming over me. I wish I could say it's just the head injuries. But it's also how big the thing has become. I'm not so anti-populist to dislike something just because a lot of other people like it. But pro football is gigantic, and the people behind it know it, and--as is their right--they're selling every inch of it. I heard the complaints about the overhype around this year's Super Bowl. I didn't watch, but I actually have felt the creep of overhype since the weekend after 9/11. That was the Sunday when playing and consuming pro football was portrayed as an act of patriotism. I like patriotism--just not the kind you buy.

It's disturbing to grow apart from things you love, and things that connect you to a greater community. In trying to avoid meat, I've found that it's not simply the act of consuming that's delicious, it's the communalism of the consuming, the sense that eating a hamburger, or a steak, connects you with the country you love. Unlike a lot of people, I actually enjoy tofu--but it it's never been communal for me. If anything, it's been dissident. 

In that sense, in losing football, in losing meat, in losing comic books, in losing hip-hop, I am losing whole languages, whole ways of being and connecting with people. Where I am going and who will greet me when I get there? And who among them will actually understand, will require no translation, when I start quoting Biggie?

I remember when everything was certain. No more.

Jump to comments
Presented by

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

The Time JFK Called the Air Force to Complain About a 'Silly Bastard'

51 years ago, President John F. Kennedy made a very angry phone call.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.

Video

What Makes a Story Great?

The storytellers behind House of CardsandThis American Life reflect on the creative process.

Video

Tracing Sriracha's Origin to Thailand

Ever wonder how the wildly popular hot sauce got its name? It all started in Si Racha.

Video

Where Confiscated Wildlife Ends Up

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.

Video

Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.

Video

The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air

Writers

Up
Down

More in Entertainment

From This Author

Just In