Ball or Bands: Football vs Music as an Educational and Community Investment by John Gerdy


Ball or Bands: Football vs Music as an Educational and Community Investment by John Gerdy (©2014) uses research to support the notion that due to costs, injuries, its focus on elite male athletes, and a negative impact on school cultures, support for high school football can no longer be defended. He also makes a case for why music and the arts in general need more support. He comes at this topic as a musician and an athlete with a brief career in the NBA. Click at the bottom of any page to get copies for your board of education members, and be strong if you take on king football.

John R. Gerdy

  • John is founder and executive director of Music for Everyone. A former all-American and professional basketball player, he served at the NCAA and as associate commissioner of the Southeastern Conference. He is author of Sports: The All-American Addiction and Air Ball: American Education’s Failed Experiment with Elite Athletics.

John’s Journey Through Sports and Music

  • The first two chapters outline John’s background experiences in athletics and music. While his father was a physics teacher, he was also the head football coach. Much to his father’s disappointment, John chose basketball and went on to become the leading career scorer at Davidson College followed by a brief professional career. He then went on to get a PhD and work several jobs as a sports administrator. His music life started in eight grade where he quit the school chorus because the director wouldn’t do any Beatles songs (1971). In high school he picked up the guitar, and over time gradually learned percussion and saxophone. As he moved around, he looked for opportunities to play in pick up bands and perform in clubs.
  • When his kids started school he volunteered to perform and teach, and even went so far as to develop a seven-week blues curriculum, which culminates in an assembly where children sing and play percussion to a blues song that they have written. John sees little difference between open mic and pick up basketball or other team sports. Each group is striving toward a common goal, which is to figure out where everyone’s talents can contribute.
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