Sports does not consume my life, but it was a major part of my upbringing.
From a young age I was taught, first and foremost, to have fun and enjoy the sports I played. For me those sports were golf and baseball. As I grew older football, curling and skiing were added to the fray.
Looking back at the role sports played in my childhood, I am grateful for the fact mixed martial arts was never a part of it. And by mixed martial arts, I am only referring to Dana White's Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).
Anything to do with beating the living pulp out of another human being for 'sport' — and getting paid for it — is just something I will never understand or respect. UFC is just that.
UFC is not a sport.
If people choose to spend tens, hundreds or even thousands of dollars on a ticket to watch a live fight, then good for them. They can waste their money on those events. I don't give a rip.
Watching your fellow man or woman swing rights, lefts and roundhouse kicks at another's face is not something I get pleasure out of. So why do you?
UFC amounts to some level of barbarism. As to what level of barbarism that truly is, I'm not exactly sure. UFC fighters are not as barbaric as the ancient gladiators who fought for their survival in grand arenas.
Thankfully, UFC is significantly more civilized than that. After all, there is no killing allowed. However, there is a level of brutality that I can't bring myself to watch, cheer for, or participate in — ever.
For me, the worst part about UFC is that today's kids are watching bouts between fighters who, albeit willingly, enter an octagon-shaped arena to see which of them can knock the other out.
Is this a 'sport' we really want our children to be raised to watch and develop dreams of one day becoming the next Georges St-Pierre?
If you say yes, I say you're a fool.
I realize all parents want their children to grow up and do whatever makes them happy. There is happiness and tremendous wealth that can be gained from a life as a professional athlete.
There are countless former professional athletes from major sporting leagues who didn't necessarily have the greatest success in their sport of choice, but they were passionate about the game they played, made a good deal of money and often didn't retire with scars on their faces and questionable concussion issues.
With the recent rise of concussion concerns in sports, the 'sport' that tends to see more of its athletes receiving head shots is UFC. Add to that the fact that fighters in White's often bloody arena have zero equipment protecting their head and neck areas, and you really have me not feeling sorry for anyone who participates in UFC.
At least in Olympic boxing, competitors have a small form of protection around their heads to help cushion the blows they receive.
So don't cry wolf when 20 years down the road you get a call from a doctor telling you that your son or daughter is brain dead because he or she has taken too many shots to the head inside the octagon.
I will have no sympathy for you because you made a parenting boo boo.
I suggest we get back to taking our kids to the rink, the ball diamond and the golf course. Let's teach them to play a sport that they can love, play and be still be successful at into their old age.
Make them aware that their role model should not be someone who punches people in the face for a living.
Nathan Liewicki can be reached at 306-691-1256 or follow him on Twitter @liewicks.