How I love October, especially this year when the Roughriders are back in playoff contention, and I’m getting to spend a lot of fabulous quality time with my soon-to-be eight year old grandson Andrew.
He was named in part after his great grandpa, Andy Currie, who is in the Canadian Football Hall of Fame. Much as I love watching this game more than any other, I’m beginning to hope that Andrew does not become excited about contact sports like football or hockey.
Both sports are likely to change rather dramatically in the years to come as the evidence grows that getting hit in the head repeatedly over a period of several years is just not a good idea. The latest reminder came with the news that Alex Karras died at the age of 77.
He was an All American lineman at Iowa in the 1950’s. Alex and quarterback Kenny Ploen won the Rose Bowl together in 1957. They came close to being teammates in Winnipeg, but Alex stayed in the U.S. and played a dozen seasons for the Detroit Lions.
He told me once in an interview that the most money he ever made in the NFL was $15,000 a year.
When he died it was revealed that Alex Karras was suffering from dementia among other things. So does Kenny Ploen, and many other greats of the gridiron and the rink.
Many are suggesting that current Blue Bomber quarterback Buck Pierce should walk away from football before it’s too late. That’s an impossibly tough decision for any athlete to make. Playing this violent sport at such an intense competitive level is an incredible high, and when you win a championship, it doesn’t get any better.
Until changes are made to the way football and hockey are played, my advice to my grandson and other boys like him would be “stay away please”.
I’m Roger Currie