Monday, August 3, 2009

I'm Mad as Hell

So I waited literally for months to see some televised PBR action, and I dutifully avoided visiting the web site so I wouldn’t see or read anything about what happened in Tulsa, and I was looking forward to a fine weekend of coverage of Tulsa and San Antonio.

Then, because we are ridiculously busy here of late, so busy that one or the other or both of us is working at least part of every weekend, we managed to watch Versus on Saturday night, but then one of us was on the road by late Sunday afternoon, and the other was scrambling to finish a bunch of chores that just couldn’t wait till Monday morning.

So the short end of the story is, I (the one left holding the chore bag) finally managed to tune in to Versus just in time to see the championship round for San Antonio last night. I was just stretching out on the sofa, with three dogs trying to shove one another out of my lap, when Matt Bohon came flying out of the chute on Spit Fire, got smacked in the head with a big ol’ horn, hung up and got trampled, and ended up face down in the dirt.

Doctor’s verdict: A broken shoulder blade, broken upper jaw, broken lower jaw, facial lacerations, and a(nother) concussion.

My verdict: Enough is enough. I am so mad I’m just about to stroke out.

So now hear this: It’s time for the PBR to make it mandatory for competitors to wear helmets.

And furthermore: It’s time for fools like J.W. Hart to quit opining that if you wear a helmet, you’re a pussy. Okay, so he hasn’t come right out and said that on the air, but I’d bet good money he’s said that, or worse, in unrecorded conversations.

Certainly I recall that in Beyond the Bull, J.W. remarked after a particularly lackluster performance that he might as well just sell his bull-riding equipment and buy himself a purse and some make-up. That kind of crap has no place in any professional sport, and taking a position that puts people’s lives at risk, like lobbying (yes, I'm saying he's lobbying) for riders to go helmet-less, is unconscionable.

And one more thing: Here’s why it’s time: Sooner or later, some helmet-less bull rider is going to take a horn or a hoof to the head, and that will be all she wrote.

Somebody (somebody’s son, husband, father) is going to die, right there in the arena or in the ambulance on the way to the hospital, or in the hospital after his family has had to decide to pull the plug, because the folks in charge at the PBR don’t have the guts to stand up and do the right thing.

When that happens, those folks at the PBR who declined to fix this will have the blood of that young man on their hands.

It’s just a matter of time.


Black Boots said...

Amen, sister. AMEN.

shannon said...

Amen, SQ. And with the number of riders who've changed to helmets recently, I don't think too many of them would make much of a fuss if they did make them mandatory.

Shawk said...

I know they've tried to say that as younger riders come up having always known helmets, it will soon become a moot point, but that isn't terribly helpful for the stubborn riders not wearing helmets.

Do people think of football players as being less manly because they wear helmets? Or hockey players? I know it's not part of the "cowboy culture," but protecting your brain is a dumb thing to be stubborn about.

your_glasshouse said...

I agree with you wholeheaartedly. For a second there, I thought Matt was dead.

If the "cowboy way" means wearing a hat instead of a helmet and thus means life threatening injuries when something goes wrong, I want no part of it.

The PBR would do well to make helmets mandatory for the safety of the riders and the sanity of their loved ones and the fans.

/End rant.

Stockyard Queen said...

Welcome to the Stockyard, Your Glasshouse. I stopped short of saying I'd quit the sport of the PBR doesn't make helmets mandatory, but it has crossed my mind more than once.

your_glasshouse said...

Aw, thanks for letting me join your crew! I decided it was time to stop lurking.

As for quitting the PBR, I meant something more along the lines of not being a fan of using the mysterious "cowboy way" as an argument for keeping things as they are. I'm fairly new to the PBR so I'm not familiar with the cowboy culture and it's unwritten codes.

I think it will be interesting to see how things change regarding helmet use, among other things (I'm looking at you, judges)- as the PBR becomes more mainstream.

Stockyard Queen said...

Well, Your Glasshouse, get ready to hear some sexist crap from a lot of the boys of the PBR, broadcast right into your living room. I'm thinking in particular of Lostroh saying he'd ridden "like a girl" earlier in the season. It seems to come with the territory.

Black Boots said...

When Matt went down and there was no immediate movement, I was truly afraid that we'd witnessed a fatal blow. And that? Might make it awful hard to be a fan of this sport. AWFUL hard.

All these riders need helmets, now, immediately. Anyone not willing to play by the rules can leave the effing sandbox.

snowangel said...

I am a huge fan of JW, but i agree. It took Lane Frost giving his life to get the protective vests in and it will probably take another much to young life to get the helmets in as much of a shame as it is.

Stockyard Queen said...

Welcome, Snow Angel, thanks for stopping by.

It's ironic in the extreme that Matt got hurt almost exactly 20 years to the day after Lane Frost died in the arena in Cheyenne.

I just read Brett Hoffman's tribute to Frost, which echoes with sadness over the waste of a young life . I guess as long as we're just wasting brain cells that the riders might need later when they're out of our sight, it's okay to let them ride without helmets and hope for the best.

Hoffman, BTW, is a proponent of helmets.

shelia said...

I'm thinking about Lee Aiken (sp). Was his head injury due to no helmet? And, if so, I wonder what goes through JW's mind when Lee shows up at an arena with his absent look and jumbled speech. His recovery has been called miraculous by some--but could it have been prevented with a helmet?

Stockyard Queen said...

I don't know if a helmet would have totally prevented Lee's injury, but I'm pretty sure it wouldn't have been as serious if he'd been wearing one.

Shawk said...

I think Lee Akin's recovery is miraculous in that they had little hope he would walk or talk again and he is doing those things, although of course not at the level he was previously.

But considering how much progress he has made, could have had made even more if he'd been less seriously injured due to helmet use? I don't think I saw Akin's wreck so I'm not entirely sure if a helmet would have been helpful, but... you have to wonder.