They are gladiators. They are warriors.
Men held in high regard.
And they fight on the floor of the Colosseum.
The raucous roar of the plebeians
fill their heart with pride.
So they can fight without fear in the Colosseum.
Battle ready. Armor fixed. Introduction echoes through
the audience and cameras show
how they fight on the floor of the Colosseum.
How violent the crash of weaponry and skill
leaving bodies beaten and broken
carted off the stage in the Colosseum.
One victor, one week, then again they arm themselves
To fight for fame and fortune
on the floor of the Colosseum.
Heroes don’t get hurt. Heroes never die.
Mind, body and soul overcome
for glory, for camaraderie in the Colosseum.
When the fight is over and the cheers catch their breath
the gladiators prepare again
for their next time in the Colosseum.
Although some cannot separate real life from spectacle
adrenaline and testosterone still high
taken home from the Colosseum.
Violence carried out against those who cannot defend
Some beaten, some broken, some worse
and only silence in the Colosseum.
Transgressions committed of various degrees
brushed aside or looked away
as to not taint the image of the Colosseum.
These gladiators are gifted as we all can see
but without consequence or reflection
some will live their life as they do in the Colosseum.
We cheer these men who wear our colors
but we cannot dismiss bad deeds
just as we cannot dismiss the obligations held to the Colosseum.
I wrote this poem about the NFL because I’m in a bit of an odd place. I grew up watching the 49ers and being a huge fan of football. As the years have gone my interest and support has dwindled, but I can’t pull myself away from the feeling I had watching when I was young. It’s probably the fond memories of family sitting around the TV all cheering for the same outcome. Yet, I’ve been struggling to stay a supporter of the NFL.
Too many times I’ve read how the NFL tried to deny CTE and downplay the affect of concussions on the players. Too many times I’ve read how violent players harm their family and the incidents aren’t reported. Some of these same players have multiple instances of domestic violence and are continued to be sought after by teams because they are very good at playing football.
The business of football is lucrative and anything that puts that in jeopardy is hidden and brushed aside, no matter the collateral damage. I can’t reconcile this. I can’t believe the amount of times I hear how a woman or child is beaten but the famous football player is allowed to continue playing while another famous football player is blackballed because of his political views. The hypocrisy is astounding and with each year I find it harder and harder to be a fan of the NFL.
Some will say good riddance and they don’t care what I have to say. They’re right, I’m nobody. Its unfortunate that we can’t all agree that domestic violence is wrong and anybody who commits these acts shouldn’t be allowed the fame and fortune that comes with being a football star, as well as the institution that harbors them should have a responsibility in maintaining their communities.
Thanks for reading.