Because of the fact that some games demand the use of physical force, they are often considered as brutal by sports amateurs. Yet it must be admitted that in certain kinds of sport, the use of force is demanded by the rules, which does not make it more brutal or cruel. Since every kind of sports involves certain physical activity, it releases the energy within and allows to get rid of stress.
However, some people still consider that sport makes people violent, mainly because of the sport episodes with the participants losing their temper shown on TV. It will take much time to assure people that going in for sports does not involve getting too rough and becoming senseless.
Still there is some hope that people will change their mind about sports if they listen to the ideas of the modern psychologists. With some professional opinions involved, it would be easier to convince people that sport is not as black as it is painted.
Violence in Sport: Playing the Game Clean
On-the-Field Violence and Professional Football: The Points of Contact
In spite of the fact that numerous kinds of sport involve certain degree of field violence, the reasons for such behavior are far from being skin-deep. Some of them root in the sphere of people’s subconscious, and it takes much time to drag the true reasons for the “antisocial” behavior into the light.
As numerous sociologists admit, some games do involve certain degree of violence in the field; there is no reason to worry, though, as long as the participants understand that this is merely a game and that as it stops, the opponents will turn into friends.
Yet sometimes violence in the field crosses the boundaries of what has been allowed. One of the greatest questions of the modern sport psychology is why this happens so. Bell (1987) says that this is an integral part of the game which bears certain resemblance to a tradition:
To the innocent eye there seems to be very little violence on the field, contrasted to U. S. football or boxing or even bullfighting. At least there appears to be no more violence than at any polistic game, and less violence than at many. (34)
Thus, the actions of the sportsmen can be hardly treated as violent, and the football players have nothing to be reproached for. This is their masculinity which makes them act in a rude and brutal way.
This is the instinct of a fighter awoken which makes the players act in such a way. It is doubtless that masculinity is to blame for the disorders in the field. Still it must be kept in mind that even the toughest game must be fair and just.
Does Playing Sport Causes Men’s Violence?
Due to its relaxing and healthy effect, sport can hardly make one act violently. Because of the fact that sport makes the energy within aim at certain object, a ball in most games of sport, one will not be able to give way to the emotions in an anti-social way. Sportsmen understand perfectly well that everything happening on the field is a part of the game which is not meant to harm the others.
It must be admitted, however, that games of sport sometimes turn too brutal when the sportsmen lose the feeling of the game and take the environment as the battlefield. In this case, injuries and ever traumas are possible.
However, the reason for that is rather a case of one’s psychological problems rather than the game itself. As Yinnakis (2001) says, “If sport is interpreted as war, then the body is transformed into a weapon, into an instrument of violence and aggression.” (228). A single outburst of violence is not a tendency, which should also be kept in mind.
A Dilemma to Solve
Since sport does involve an element of competitiveness, it would not be a surprise for me to find out that the schools’ football teams are rivals and that they use every opportunity to win the game. Thus, I do not consider it a wise pedagogic idea to scold the boys down. However, letting things drift would be a mistake either. Because of the fact that violence has been spotted, the situation does need serious consideration.
It seems to me that the most reasonable in the given situation would be not to resort to sermonizing, but to hold a class with the students, asking them what they consider the top priority in sport games, namely in football, what they would do to win a game, and what kind of game behavior they consider fair.
Making them think about the moral issues of the game, such questions will drive them to the idea that a defeat in a fair competition costs much more than the victory gained with help of violent behavior.
The students must learn that the opponent should be respected, as well as be worth respecting. It could also be a good idea to demonstrate such ideas in practice, when the team is training for the on-coming competition. In addition, the rules must be restricted so that both the players and the audience could not act in a brutal way.
Bell, B. J. (1987) To Play the Game: An Analysis of Sports. Piscataway, NJ: Transaction Publishers.
Yiannakis, A. & Melnik, M. J. (2001) Contemporary Issues in the Sociology of Sport. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.