Big Feelings About Sportball

I have a connection to Ohio, and I went to THE Ohio State University (at Newark), but I care about football about as far as I can throw one (which isn’t far). Husband, however, is more than marginally interested in the collegiate version of the sport, so I find out a lot of stuff tangentially.

My only other association with sports is through my mom who is from New England, so by default I love the Red Sox, the Patriots, the Celtics, and the Bruins (also, fuck the Yankees). And what I find interesting is that a lot of people hate those teams and the OSU Buckeyes because they’re all pretty good and do well most of the time. It’s also probably because they have a lot of very annoying fans; kind of like The Big Bang Theory or Jesus.

So it wasn’t really a surprise that when OSU’s head coach, Urban Meyer, got in trouble for a very weird thing and college football fans lost their goddamned minds. So basically the whole issue boils down to this: Meyer didn’t fire one of his underlings when said underling was suspected of domestic violence. I have a lot of feelings about domestic violence, as you can probably imagine, but I am also a relatively logical person, and I know you don’t fire anyone for a rumor as, at the time of the incident there wasn’t any police action or charges being pressed to go on. I’m actually not even sure you can legally fire someone for being arrested. I’m not saying Meyer and the coaching staff did the right thing when it came to Zach Smith because honestly the guy seems like a poor choice for anyone who’s about to influence a bunch of new adults in general, but I can’t say for sure that Urban Meyer’s actions or lack thereof, were fireable or even suspendable.

Looking at the bigger picture, I’m not sure when any individual’s outside-of-work conduct should come into play when it comes to their job–there is obviously a line, I just don’t know exactly where it’s drawn. But I do understand not wanting to pay exorbitant amounts to a school that will channel that moolah plus government university state school dollars over to some fuckwad who beats their wife or to someone who knows one of their underlings beats their wife. I get it, I just don’t know if what happened here is that exactly.

What I do know for sure, however, is that a lot of people sure seem to give a shit about this which kind of shocks me because sportball in general has a REALLY AWFUL HISTORY WITH DOMESTIC VIOLENCE. I mean, it’s so prominent we’re desensitized to it and actually joke about it. These dude physically and sexually assault people–especially female partners–at an alarming rate. I’m sure the outrageous amounts of concussions, steroid use, and just generally spending the majority of your day being as aggressive as humanly possible all play a role in the behavior of a lot of athletes, but what also plays a role is their celebrity in that so many of them get away with it or get light to no sentences if they’re even charged.

Here are some stats on the ones who have been arrested in the NFL. Note that I said arrested–this doesn’t include anyone who was just accused.

The above list might not seem too bad since it just shows 100 arrests from Jan 2000 to now, but the issue is ongoing, deep-seated, and persistent. In fact, just this summer two of the leading women working on the NFL Players Association’s commission on domestic violence left because, well, basically the commission is a sham.

When it comes to college and even high school ball, cities and states are so corrupt that kids can get away with almost anything: parents, teachers, police, and attorneys will go to sickening measures to cover up cases of abuse all in the name of winning a fucking game. I wish I could find the interview now, but I followed the Jameis Winston case in 2013, and I remember very specifically the prosecuting attorney was asked if he was choosing to not file charges because he didn’t believe Winston committed sexual assault or because he didn’t believe he could get a conviction, and that man looked at the interviewer and said “because we can’t convict him.” He believed the kid was a rapist, but knew the state of Florida would let him off (and he wasn’t going to risk a loss on his career.) Sure the school settled with the victim, but that didn’t stop Winston from getting the Heisman the same year or being the NFL’s #1 draft pick (coincidentally just like OJ Simpson).

So what I want to say, with all the above in mind, to the people who were outraged specifically with Urban Meyer’s lack of action and who will continue to speak out against him, is this: thank you. Thank you for finally giving a shit about domestic violence in football. Thank you for standing up for a woman, even if this woman is coming off as insane: not that that would ever justify brutality against her–in fact, thank you for being able to look past that apparent “crazy” that so many men love to cite when dealing with an “irrational woman.” Thank you for taking a stand for what’s right, and good, and just, and thinking of your moms, your sisters, your wives, your daughters, maybe even that random lady walking down the street that you don’t know and never will know but you have the ability to recognize she’s a human being deserving of equality, respect, and at the very least the right to not be assaulted despite not being related to you. Thank you for finally deciding to step up and speak out and say NOT TODAY, ASSHOLES! WE NO LONGER TOLERATE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IN SPORTBALL! I KNOW WE’VE KINDA BEEN SHITHEADS ABOUT IT FOR LIKE A REALLY, REALLY LONG TIME AND TURNED A BLIND EYE AS A FANBASE WHEN THE THING HAPPENED AND THE OTHER THING AND THAT OTHER THING TOO, BUT THIS IS THE MOMENT WE CHANGE, GUYS! TODAY WE SAY: NEVER AGAIN!

Because that’s what this is, right? We’re finally ready to have this conversation…right? Guys? Hey…guuuuuys????

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Worrying

I used to do this thing in college where I gnawed on the inside of my lip. It created a bump, and I just kept fucking chewing it. When I developed the “anxiety bean” in college, I was dealing with a bunch of fucked up shit, and I managed pretty well mentally, but the physical manifestation was a slight cause for concern. My dentist noticed the bump, and he called in his father, also a dentist at the practice and an absolute asshole to boot, to take a look. The guy glanced in my mouth for all of five seconds, looked me dead in the eye, said, “You’re giving yourself cancer,” and walked out.

Well, thanks Motherfucker, DDS, I’m just chewing the ever loving shit out of my mouth because I’m riddled with anxiety, but that news is like the sound of the ocean, the smell of lavender, and petting a cat all at once. Maybe that was just a scare tactic, but I did eventually stop and, as far as I know, didn’t develop oral or any other kind of cancer. But, exciting news, everyone: it’s back!

There was a short time earlier this month that I thought maybe it had never actually gone away. It seemed like it was a normal part of my mouth and like gnawing on it was what I was supposed to do, but I know the truth: there was a long stretch of time I didn’t have this–almost a fucking decade–and there’s a reason it’s back now.

I have almost none of the stressors I had back in college, and when I look around everything in my life is absolutely amazing. I still have anxiety, but it’s much more manageable than it’s ever been in the past. So what the fuck, anxiety bean? I thought you’d fucked off for good?

I may have figured it out today. I was reading an article about Roy Moore and the “school” he was part of that detailed all the ways that those involved believed that women were not their equals. And I was chewing like a fucking cow on cud. Moore has been accused of abhorrent behavior with underaged girls, as I’m sure you know since the news is everywhere, but he’s not the only abuser who’s been highlighted in the media. Every day something new comes out about someone, and I think that’s great (not that it happened, but that it’s being brought into the open), but apparently this is taking some kind of fucked up emotional toll on me that I was not prepared for at all.

As probably most women will admit, we already live with this little cloud following us all the time that reminds us to do things a certain way, and it’s extra fucked up because it’s basically reminding you to not be complicit in your own rape/murder because if it happens IT’S YOUR FAULT. Sometimes you can almost totally silence it, sometimes it’s looming and booming over you, but mostly it’s just kind of there, hovering on the horizon, prompting you to get your keys out before you head to the car. But now the sky always feels stormy. I’m no more afraid of anyone or more aware that this shit happens all the time, it’s just constant and so real and raw now.

I’m not advocating for these allegations to go away. This shit is important and in the end will hopefully lead to more openness and less harassment and assault, and my reaction to it doesn’t really matter, so fuck this blog post all together, but it’s just interesting how something like this can affect a person. When I compare me now to me about 10 years ago, my situation is so drastically different, and yet I’m having this same pretty intense stress reaction that I’ve only experienced one other time in my life. How are these things equitable?

And on top of that, I consider my experiences, while harrowing in their own right, to be nothing compared to what I know other women have faced, and yet my whole person is off. How are others coping? How have they coped all along? How have women stayed so sane for so long? (By so long I mean the history of the entire human race, by the way.)

Anyway, the point is, everything is the fucking worst, and I don’t know how to transition out of that to NaNoWriMo without making the above seem like an excuse for the below, so here goes: I FAILED.

I’m closing out NaNo at 31,882 words. I actually don’t consider that a failure since it’s more than I’ve written in probably a couple years, so I’m incredibly proud to have done that and to essentially be back on the writing wagon. But I’m so fucking glad it’s over. On the bright side, come January Vacancy will begin being posted again, and I’m pumped about all the content to come. Also, tomorrow is December 1st which means blogmas begins! Will I fail at that too? Will the anxiety bean grow? Only time will tell! So stay tuned for more upbeat posts about sexual assault and serials. (Shit, idea for a band name!)