Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Will the NFL Finally Be The Answer to Climate Change Action?

I started out thinking about writing this as a Facebook post. Then a long thread of tweets.  Then I decided it was going to be long enough to post here.

So, I finally realized what it is going to take to get Congress behind Climate Change and it hit me after I came back from a run in 102°  Texas heat. (Aside: This was written Sunday evening, just a few hours before I got attacked and shows you never know when your last run will be for a while!)

Remember when Congress had hearings on steroids in baseball LONG after it was obvious that there was rampant use of steroids in baseball? N.B. I'm not saying they didn't have a right to do so (sports fall under "interstate commerce" according to Art I, Sec 8 of the Constitution.) Nor am I saying there isn't a legitimate interest (many felt Congress had "better things to do" and they probably did) as Congress is supposed to hold hearings about issues which worry the public. And nothing worries the public more than sports and money. We can argue whether that is good or not but we can't argue whether it is true. Well, I was thinking about those hearings as I tried to not die in the heat. File that under "Things I think About While Running."

Post-run, I plopped down in front of a box fan and poured cold water over me. I didn't have the energy to shower and just needed to cool my core. For whatever reason, it hit me that there are only 39 days until the NFL season starts. On my run I saw some little leaguers playing ball in this heat and thought what little badasses they must be. I was wearing the shortest of shorts, no shirt, and carrying a handheld water bottle and it took everything in me to finish my 6.3 miler at 7:30 pace. Here these kids were just playing away. But they did get to have breaks and maybe seek shade. It is baseball, after all and no one really exerts themselves for more than a few seconds at a time. (Go with me on this as I was feeling a little like a wuss.)

In front of the fan, I thought of those giant fans they use for the first full month of football which shoot out cooling water onto the players on the bench. Then I thought of how when it really starts to snow, football fans say :"This is football weather!" Why do they say that?

Because October, November, and December used to actually be freaking cold! The bulk of the season used to be played in crisp, cool weather, often punctuated by snowfall and ice and wind and brrr.  No longer. The days are warmer, the nights are warmer, and the games are being played by faster, stronger men, pushing themselves more to to the limit than ever before. Even though we live in the era of specialization and it is rare for any one player to play all four downs of the drive (especially on defense) and nutrition and hydration are no longer seen as things only the weak imbibe, it is only a matter of time before some player, in the heat of a September game, succumbs to heat stroke in a potentially fatal way. Then, finally, Congress may act.

Baseball might be the "national past time" but right now football moves the needle. The NFL will bring in $14 billion in revenue this year. That is more than 36% of the countries on this planet have in GDP for this year. (Oh yeah, I really did my research on this one, folks!) When something begins to effect the bottom line of billionaires, it finally will matter. Note, they won't really care about the health and well-being of players (we already know that is not the case *cough* concussions *cough.)  But they will care about making money.  And people dying on national television during a game because it is eleventy billion degrees in November will finally make somebody notice.  And by somebody I mean billionaires. And by billionaires, I mean the people who control the elections and coffers of like 90% of our politicians.

If for no reason other than their profit-margins will slip because the planet is warming and is making their team less valuable, we may finally have the answer to get frigging morons (like Jim "Here's a Snowball in February so Climate Change isn't Real" Inhofe) to act to make sure the rest of the world doesn't burst into flames. Again, not because they care about humans but rather about getting donors and staying elected.

And yes, I know it is supposed to be hot in Texas in July. But since every single day in July was hotter than the average here in Austin, I am fairly certain it wasn't just my tender snowflakeness which was causing me to melt. And maybe, just maybe, I predicted what will keep us all from dying.

Now which NFL player is going to give 110% for Team Humans?

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