In the Catholic faith, before we “go to confession,” we conduct an Examination of Conscience, which often involves reviewing a set of questions sometimes called an Examen. In working on this book, I’ve worked up a Farewell to Football Examen.
EXAMINATION OF CONSCIENCE: “Why do you not judge for yourselves what is right?” (Luke 12:57)
INITIATION: how does a young man matriculate into masculine institutions without the guidance of a father?
EDUCATION: what is the proper relationship between athletics and higher education?
DIVERSITY: can football create opportunities for powerful social transformations?
AMERICAN EMPIRE AND MILITARY: is football an extension of the military culture of the American warfare state?
ANTI-WAR: in a rhetorically busy fallen world in which the state is constantly urging expanded war powers, how does one discern right from wrong?
COACHING: does football provide a means for profound character development for the young men who play it?
FREE CHOICE OF THE WILL: what is the true nature of freedom, and what are the conditions for its exercise?
RELATIONSHIPS: how do we overcome the impediments of our history to pursue unity in a broken world?
AMERICAN WAY OF WAR: how are techniques of emotional attachment and persuasion used to manipulate popular support for war?
DISORDERED ATTACHMENTS: how does football represent the common temptation to indulge excessive and disorderly passions?
NOT QUITTING: how do we endure in our commitments in the face of adversity?
SERVICE AND FAITH: is football, like military service, really antithetical to Godly life?
CHOICE: are the opportunities football creates for the young men who play it worth the risks involved in a violent and dangerous sport?