Aggression and Violence in Sport:
Did they go to high school together? Were they teammates on a youth team? Are they perchance cousins? Serious sport has nothing to do with fair play. It is bound up with hatred, jealousy, boastfulness, disregard of all rules, and sadistic pleasure in violence.
In other words, it is war without shooting. George Orwell When my kids were young, I coached their youth soccer teams. After every game the teams would line up to shake hands.
The handshakes are a ritual acknowledgement that, fundamentally, opponents are necessary for the game to take place and to make the play transcendent. A bean ball by an opposing pitcher we call a headhunter.
We see our linebacker as a hard player; but last year, when he played for our rival, he was a thug. Did he have a criminal record then? Maybe, but now we imagine him redeemed.
Studies have shown that violence in the game, particularly if perceived as unfair, increases the likelihood of violent acts by spectators. Fan violence is further magnified by strong identification with the team, underlying racial and ethnic tensions, social alienation, alcohol consumption, and predominance of young men in the crowd.
The savage beating of Bryan Stow, a Giants fan, by two Dodger fans is a recent and egregious example. Most of us seek the spectacle of the game to escape the struggles and banality of everyday life: Spectators recognize a spectrum for permissible vs.
To disavow our interest in the varied displays of aggression would be hypocritical, denying a core aspect of our complex humanity. It's in our DNA When players genuinely recognize and acknowledge one another, it marks the game for us as a humane competition.
Since we seek organized displays of aggression, we cannot deny our complicity when players are routinely hurt in the service of our entertainment.
Can we convince ourselves that the brain injury that so often and predictably comes from playing in the NFL is a side matter, separate from our enjoyment of big hits? Are we devoid of responsibility for uncritically supporting the NFL, which dangles enormous sums in front of players some of whom have little more to market than their capacity to inflict or bear life-altering injury?
We need to balance our appetite to watch aggressive sports action with the other side of our natures, the part that wants to affirm our identification with the humanity and vulnerability of the players on both sides.Top White Sox pitching prospect Michael Kopech has UCL tear, likely to have Tommy John surgery.
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