Parlor Spider...Step In, Little Fly

Insightful thoughts and/or rants from atop the soapbox from one who wishes to share the "right" opinion with everyone.

Friday, November 08, 2013

Unwritten Rules in Sports

I find it fascinating that, amid all the hubbub surrounding the Incognito/Martin fracas with regard to bullying and manly behavior, the one idea that kept resurfacing was that this was somehow normal...that all teams do this kind of thing. Of course, that appalls anyone in the "normal" world: a world in which taunting and foul language directed at someone else is a call for disciplinary action.
When an adolescent kills himself or herself as a result of relentless harassment, people are shocked, and the perpetrators are brought to stand trial in the court of public opinion, if not the judicial kind of court.
However, in this case, a different set of rules apply. In such a situation, the "N" word might be appropriate, and heaven forbid we try to regulate the use of, um, salty language among a group of alpha male-type people. Team sports have, for better or worse, always required some sort of admission right...just like fraternities and sororities are noted to have. Once a person is "in," then the hazing stops. No more, "Please, sir, may I have another?" degradation.
In football, more so than in any other team activity, the manly ideal would involve taking one's "punishment" for the requisite time then being allowed to dish it out to the next group of rookies to come in. If one doesn't like it, well, football is a physical game: man up and get physical with the tormentor. Walking away and "tattling" is seen as unbecoming. Laugh the whole thing off? perhaps...but I suspect one can do so only so long.
My take is that team sports, especially when played by "adults," has its own unwritten rules that the rest of us do not understand. Not everyone is suited for such games. The rules will not change, but maybe people will.


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