I have taken this quotation from the book “Meat On The Hoof”, by Gary Shaw. It is about the style of college football at The University of Texas during the Darrell Royal years. The starting players are chosen through attrition.
I really identify with this quotation because my football experience in high school is exactly as Gary Shaw describes. In my high school, the worst part of a student’s football career was his junior year, when the junior varsity team is literally a tackling dummy for the varsity. In JV, we had only 18 players left for our first game. The horror continued until i made starting running back on varsity – through attrition.
I played football until my second year of college at a liberal arts school in Iowa. Football in college was not Meat On The Hoof. I ask myself why did I stick with football for so long?. As Gary says in the quotation, football was made to be fun but it was not fun. For me, the answer is accomplishment.
In high school, I was known for absolutely nothing except football. I could not sing, nor dance, nor play an instrument. Acting was for sissies. I was not chosen for the debate team. Chess was a game that I liked but I did not want to compete in it. My eyesight was bad so any game requiring hand/eye coordination was out of the question. So, although football was not fun, I was getting something out of it: accomplishment.
In college, something changed, I started to succeed in class for the first time in my life. Thus, I quit football and concentrated on books. I changed my major from P.E. to chemistry. I went on to get two masters degrees and stopped watching football on TV. My new area of accomplishment was education. By the way, education was no more fun than football.
I still seek accomplishment in education. The difference is that now I can educate myself. I derive fulfillment from it. I think what I am trying to say is that when something stops being fun, at least there can be accomplishment. And when the accomplishment is gone, it is time to move onward.
Something seems inherently wrong when a game meant for fun is played only through external motivation. – Gary Shaw, Meat On The Hoof, 1972