Thanks for the Opportunity!

Written by on August 20, 2018


On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS August 20, 2018, #706…Thanks for the Opportunity!
After further review…We are about midway into the NFL preseason with the regular season looming, but fraught with uncertainties. The issue of brain concussions resulting in possible C.T.E. diagnosis for NFL players as well as the issue about players standing or not standing for our pre-game National Anthem is of concern. A further concern is the impending withdrawal of fans from attending or watching NFL games.
In my 58 years of association with the National Football League, 31 of which was as an on-field official, I have seen similar issues that were resolved with a clear understanding. When I was invited to join the NFL officiating staff (1960), the AFL (American Football League), who, by-the-way also offered me a contract as an on-field official, was challenging the NFL for fan attendance, as well as suing them for monopoly.
I chose the NFL since it was the more established organization. Some 7-8 years later that point of controversy was resolved.
During my years the NFL had player strikes, a lockout of game officials, contract disputes, player holdouts, etc., etc. Yet, throughout the number of discords, the league survived. Will it survive the current disputes? The TunneySide believes it will. We believe in “Grab your coat, get your hat, leave your worries on the doorstep, life can be so sweet on the sunny (aka Tunney) side of the street,” which was written during the Great Depression (circa 1930).
The concussion concerns need constant attention. The league is committed to making play safer. Their “Way to Play” program, while in its early stages, is a positive approach to a contact sport. If indeed, the colleges, high schools, and younger generations seek to emulate their professional big brothers, then the resolution is for the pros to play the right way. Football is a collision sport – “ya gotta knock somebody down” is not only its mantra, but that’s what fans want. When players “see what you hit”, helmet to helmet contacts diminish.
Prior to the 500 NFL games that I officiated, I stood with my hand over my heart while our National Anthem was being sung or played. During those few minutes, I recalled how thankful I was to be a part of this game, while mentally preparing myself to give my best effort every play.
When the game was over, I returned to my Monday through Friday job as a teacher or principal in an inner-city high school helping kids deal with struggles they faced in their daily lives.
Will you help others in their struggles while taking time to give thanks for the opportunity?
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