I used to read about the ancient Romans and how they put people in the public arena and then set the lions upon them. Apparently they got a kick out of seeing people mauled to death and eaten in front of them. I have trouble finding that as being entertaining. With the advent of the football season it brings to mind what people want to see in our public arenas and it's not that far off from where the Romans were and believe me it's not just in football.

In all sports, it is the most extreme physical violence that draws the most attention. That crunching tackle that leaves a football player twitching on the field is always a good show and it brings some backslapping laughs from the fans of the tackler. Think about two boxers pummeling each other's bloody heads in a boxing ring and spectators screaming for a knockout. A 200 mile-an-hour smash into the wall in a NASCAR race is always a show stopper. Then there is the baseball pitcher who throws at the hitter's head, just to keep him honest. I could go on but I won't.

In some circles we bring our children up with high expectations of them participating in sports. We tell them about the dream of being an all star and proving themselves on the gridiron, the hockey rink or the baseball diamond as if it was their destiny in life. The trouble is that dream is all too often not theirs but their guardians.

They have tried to make rules to make the sports less violent but there is always push back. Why? Because that's not what they came to see and I will be chastised for even writing about it. I'm told it's un-American.

Mike Holst