The State of New York is considering regulating children’s games.
Recently, the New York State legislature held hearings on whether the state should ban tackle football for children under the age of 12. Depending on how the hearings are perceived politically, this ban could move forward in the legislature and become law next year.
At issue, of course, is whether playing tackle football, even at a young age, can create serious long-term health issues due to head injuries. By now, after a decade of much publicity on the long-term effects of playing football, if you care about this issue, you’re mostly aware of the pros and cons of both sides of the argument.
I’m not a scientist, nor a doctor, nor do I have any expertise in CTE, so I will neither try to persuade or encourage parents with young children on if they should allow their children to play tackle football. To be honest, it is none of my business how individual parents care to answer this question.
Then again, what business is it of the New York State legislature? Is their reasoning for considering legislation that parents in New York don’t have the capacity to act in the best interest of their children? My guess is that the typical parent in New York is better suited looking out for the welfare of their individual children than a one-size-fits-all bureaucracy.
One would also think that the New York State legislature, with rising deficits and a state population that is shrinking on its watch, would have bigger fish to fry than to micromanage how parents decide what sports they’ll allow their children to play. But New York is far from alone in taking on football for children under 12, as many other state legislatures have or are considering the same type of legislation.
This episode is just a tiny example of a half-century experiment in America, where parents have either sat back blithely unaware or actively encouraging the outsourcing of raising their own children to federal, state, and local regulators. The results of this experiment have been horrific. Children today are vastly more likely to be depressed, psychotic, commit suicide and to be grossly overweight.
It Takes a Village entered our lexicon a while back, and we’ve taken it for granted that this is the best strategy for a society to raise its children. Science and mathematics say otherwise. A 2011 University of Michigan study showed, among other things, that children's mortality rates are higher in polygamous than in monogamous families. Which begs the question, if more resources to raise children the better, then why is this so?
For that we have “Hamilton's Rule," given to us by evolutionary biologist W.D. Hamilton. His mathematical theory illustrates that how many resources we are willing to invest in another person partially depends on the degree of genetic kinship we share with them.
All of this, of course, is just fancy talk saying the maternal and paternal instinct to feed, clothe, and provide proper guidance is a more urgent tug when it comes to your own children than that of strangers. I’m sure you didn’t need a study to tell you that. But if we accept this as true, why don’t we behave this way?
Whether children under the age of 12 shall be allowed to play tackle football is the question. Facts suggest we should resist the temptation to chime in, and allow that decision to come from those it matters the most to: each individual parent.
Matthew Kastel is a 25-year veteran of working as an executive in the world of sports, including professional teams, organizations, and some of the largest vendors in the industry. Matt has also written two novels and teaches and lectures at universities on the business of sports. For more information you can visit his website at thirdstrikeproductions.com. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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