I don’t usually read our local paper, The Huntsville Times. I don’t mean to offend but….It’s small—it doesn’t even go to press every day of the week—and it is thoroughly boring. So much so that I when I moved here I decided to subscribe to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ). Yes, It takes quite a bite out of the wallet but its infinitely more interesting. It’s got substance.
Still we do get the local paper delivered every Sunday. When we moved to Alabama, it was my attempt to try to immerse myself in my new surroundings…the very one that Rocket-man dragged me to nearly kicking and screaming. It didn’t take long for me to quit reading it though; nothing in it held my interest and any local happenings I could get by word of mouth anyway. For reasons that escape me, Rocket-man still reads the local paper. He reads the WSJ too.
So yesterday morning as I was having my second cup of coffee, a headline from The Huntsville Times that was on the kitchen counter caught my eye: “Alabama, Auburn Suffer Heartbreaking Losses.”
We’re talking about football here folks. Seriously.
That got my knickers in a twist.
There is chaos erupting in Europe as thousands of Syrian refugees flood into places like Hungary, Germany and Sweden. In fact, according to World Vision (http://www.worldvision.org/news-stories-videos/syria-war-refugee-crisis) nearly 12 million Syrians have been forced to flee from their homes in Syria and surrounding countries due to war. Even more devastating? Half of those numbers are children! At least 240,000 people have been killed in Syria, including 12,000 children. Not to mention more than a million people wounded or permanently disfigured or disabled.
That is heartbreaking.
The images on social media and in the news of refugees fleeing, fighting for the lives, living in destitution. The dead toddler plucked from the ocean by an emergency responder (that image went viral last week); that is heartbreaking.
My friend just lost a long time friend—murdered—in a brutal attack at a metro station. That is heartbreaking.
I can think of a number of truly heartbreaking, tragic things happening on this planet. Football scores are nowhere on the list.
I share my thoughts later in the day with Rocket-man. We’re enjoying a leisurely walk with The Poodle before Rocket-man takes off again on business travel. I tell him what’s bugging me. It’s not the first time he’s heard me launch into a tirade against football. He knows that I‘ll never be a fan of the sport.
“Can you see why headlines like that fuel my negativity about football?” I ask. “I mean, really! That’s all that seems to be important to people in this state!”
“I see your point,” says Rocket-man.
“Oh…I hear a “but” coming on,” I said.
“Well…yes,” he replied. “You’re absolutely correct. There are a lot more tragic things happening in the world. But think about the other side of the coin; its important to still live life…to have some fun.”
“That point is certainly not lost on me,” I replied, honestly trying to keep an edge out of my voice. “Of course we still need to enjoy life. Still, it irks me that folks here are more bonkers about football than, say, heroin-addicted newborns (also a disturbing, upward trend in Alabama) or the ravages of war and its impact on a global scale.” I go on to point out that paper could have used a better choice of words, such as “disappointing” instead of “heartbreaking. “Better yet, Alabama and Auburn’s loss didn’t need to be front page news.”
“You’re absolutely right,” Rocket-man said. He wrapped one arm around my waist and held me close as we finished our walk in silence.