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radicalliberal

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Member since: Wed Dec 14, 2011, 07:40 PM
Number of posts: 603

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I know it's been over a year since this OP was posted, --

-- and (needless to say) I also know it's dwarfed by issues such as war and the like. But the topic is still relevant.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tom-judson/why-i-hate-sports_b_3015465.html

Tom Judson
Actor, musician and author

Why I Hate Sports
Posted: 04/05/2013 10:57 am



I'm fascinated by the reaction to the video of the Rutgers basketball coach abusing his players.

My first experience with organized team sports was kickball in first grade gym period. The gym teacher would select as captains two of the more athletically inclined youngsters while the rest of us sat on the red line and one by one were chosen as players for their teams. My agony in being passed over increased in direct proportion to the number of boys on the line diminishing. Eventually two choices remained: me and the mentally disabled kid in our class. I recall no extra attention or encouragement from the gym teacher to ameliorate this situation.

By the time I got to high school there was no attempt made to hide the fact that in my little town 65 miles north of New York City sports were king. In the local paper was page after page filled with photos of sports teams posed in a group, and star players holding trophies, and action shots of remarkable maneuvers during games, but one would search in vain for any mention of academic or artistic achievements.

This view that sports were a higher priority was reflected by my community at large when one year the provision of the school budget increasing athletic funding was passed while funds covering new books for the library were nixed.

In the classroom I held my own and in the music department I excelled, but these things didn't really matter at our school; esteem was earned by athletic prowess and nothing else.

Our school building had two wings: the administration/gymnasium/auditorium was in one and the classrooms were situated in another. Connecting these two wings was a short, narrow corridor. Each morning one had to pass through this hallway to get to homeroom. This is where all the athletes congregated before the first bell. I called it "Jock Row" and the memory of it haunts me to this day. I'd take a deep breath, lower my gaze, hold my books close to my chest and plunge in.

"Faggot." "Faggot." "Faggot." "Faggot." Every morning for four years -- every single morning -- I'd hear this epithet mumbled for as long as it took me to run the gauntlet. They might as well have thrown bottles; at least those bruises would have been visible. It is inconceivable to me that no one knew this was a daily occurrence. Yet no one -- none of my friends, nor my teachers, nor school administrators ever once came to my aid, much less tried to curtail the behavior.

Indeed, the same individuals who taunted me before homeroom would be lauded for their sports records in the morning P.A. announcements. Worse still, some of the boys who verbally abused me in Jock Row would walk around the corner and flirt with my sister. Even as a teenager I could see how utterly reprehensible that was. And yet these were the ones displayed as role models to the student body at large.

Even in adulthood, sports are seen as somehow preferable to other interests. Every hotel has umpteen ESPN channels, but try to find a classic movie! Every holiday afternoon with the family is underscored by the unending din of 50,000 screaming voices in the stands of whatever game is being broadcast.

Those boys who abused me in the hallway grew up to be sports fans. They sit in their living rooms in their team jerseys and scream at the television set. They attend games and riot and stampede and stomp each other to death. Is anyone even surprised any more when this happens? Apart from a performance of Macbeth in 1849 and the 1913 premiere of the ballet The Rite of Spring and of course that little mishap at Our American Cousin, I am unaware of any violence related to a theatrical event.

The few professional ball games I've been dragged to have made me very nervous. Even now I refuse to throw a ball overhand out of fear of being laughed at. A dread of Opening Day is the one thing that has kept me from becoming president of the United States.

Absolutely nothing in the Rutgers video surprised me. Nothing. I've seen it all my life. That coach is just a jerk from some other school's Jock Row all grown up and acting like a big, bad man. It did make me briefly wonder what became of all those guys from my own corridor of hell, but a second later I realized I don't give a shit.



For the record, I am not gay; and I'm not sedentary, either. I've been pumping iron at a local health club for years. I've spent a small fortune on personal trainers. In other words, I'm not easy to stereotype.

I don't consider myself to be a sports hater. I reject the term as being applicable to me. I'm simply a critic of the negative aspects of the culture of school sports. The article I've copied and pasted above is an excellent presentation of a point of view so many of you sports fans are unwilling to consider, but will automatically dismiss and ridicule without a shred of empathy or compassion.

No real effort was made in this topic to try to understand why some people, especially some guys, have misgivings about the predominance of sports in our society. Instead, such people have been attacked by sports fans as being bad, evil people. I thought liberalism was supposed to be about trying to understand the other guy's point of view and trying to promote understanding. I guess I'm mistaken.

There has not been a single word in this topic about sports-related bullying. Not a word. Ordinarily, I would expect liberals to be sympathetic to victims of bullying in the schools. But, again, I'm mistaken. At least not when the bullies happen to be "jocks." Even when the bullying was particularly demeaning and it went on for years, many sports fans don't care and tell the victims that they should get over it. Indeed, I don't know of a single instance when a single DU member who posted that he had been bullied by "jocks" in high school received any sympathy from a DU sports fan, such as "I'm sorry that happened to you." There may have been such an exchange in this forum somewhere, but I've never seen it.

So, the so-called "sports haters" are put down. Can anyone honestly say that bad attitudes are never found among sports fans? The rape victim in the Steubenville case (not to mention other rape victims whose perps were "jocks") continues to be persecuted to this very day, despite the "guilty" verdict! Those who are doing the persecuting, which is some of the cruelest behavior I've ever seen, are sports fans.

On the one hand, you have sports fans who are offended (quite easily, it sees) that someone has posted "I hate sports" or some uncomplimentary comment -- a comment that has no power or effect upon anyone, especially in a society whose popular culture is saturated with and dominated by school sports. On the other, a victim of rape is persecuted for "ruining the future careers" of two high-school "jocks" in Steubenville, Ohio. (Mind you, the victim -- like all other rape victims -- will have to live with the crime that was committed against her for the rest of her life.) Which is worse? You be the judge.
Posted by radicalliberal | Mon Aug 4, 2014, 04:24 PM (1 replies)

I wasn't criticizing the article.

I was simply reacting cynically toward another instance of people paying lip service to a noble concept that is rarely followed in real life -- at least in some circles of people. (No, I'm not saying the social scientist in question was paying lip service.) The article is excellent. Just so I'm clear, the comment I've just made is not a criticism of the article.

With all due respect, I question your rosy view of schools today. Bullying is still a problem to the same degree it ever was, if not worse. Besides, not all school districts are the same. (I've even seen the difference between the moral climate that I observed in my school district when I was enrolled there -- a politically ultraconservative district whose moral climate was lousy -- and the school district in which my two daughters were educated before attending and graduating from a university.) Different school districts have different policies, and the leadership of adult leaders may be morally uplifting or (as it was in my school district) morally indifferent and corrupt.

I still believe a boy who has no interest in sports can expect to be ridiculed and marginalized by his peers, not to mention by many adults. That is the logical outcome of defining masculinity in terms of athletic prowess. (Of course, the fact that there have been men of great courage who avoided sports when they were boys is conveniently ignored.) Some DU members have bad memories of mandatory P.E. because they were treated quite badly. I've noticed that whenever an individual DU member recalls being bullied by "jocks" in high school, those of the DU sports fans who respond usually express no sympathy to the DU member in question. Bullying doesn't seem to bother them much.

(Incidentally, I'm not sedentary. Since 2007 I've spent a small fortune on personal trainers at a local health club working on a bodybuilding program. I've been astounded at the great difference between my currently ongoing health club experience and the mandatory boys' P.E. of my youth. I got no physical exercise in the latter. Except for the relatively few innovators and reformers, I have nothing but contempt for the phys ed establishment. They neglected the health needs of nonathletic kids. Instead of encouraging them to become physically active, they discouraged them. They also turned a blind eye to many of the worst, most demeaning forms of physical bullying that have ever occurred at schools. They never really cared about promoting physical fitness. Especially for the kids who were the most in need. In their view nonathletic kids were inferior nonpersons deserving of contempt. No, they only cared about sports; and they only cared for athletic kids. Well, as long as they were an asset to the team.)

Before I continue, let me say that I have no quarrel with you. You're obviously a decent person. I'm simply stating my own observations.

There's something ironic about raising the issue of kindness in an Internet forum. Kindness does not typify the nature of many forum exchanges (which is not to say it's never found). But what we have is a situation in which the anonymity provided by this amazing technology dramatically reduces inhibition and lowers middle-aged and elderly adults to the level of junior high school bullies. Understanding is rarely promoted. The motivation of most people online (and I must admit to being guilty of this as well) is not to learn another point of view, but is to argue incessantly with someone who has a different point of view.

Look, I just want to drop this, okay? I'm tired physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I regret that I ever posted in reaction to your OP (which is an excellent OP!). I even considered deleting my posts, but it's a bit too late for that. I'll just learn from my mistake. If I'm wise (for a change), that is.

In fact, this very well may be my last post here at DU. (I've already resisted the temptation to post at Able2Know and Good Men Project. I've given up my posting addiction with regard to them with the realization that it's pointless, anyway.) There are a few DU members who would be delighted by my decision: "Don't let the door hit you on the way out." Not that I have any problem with DU. It has much to recommend it! I've just gotten burned out by posting in Internet forums. (Plus, I've been spending too much time on the Internet. In real life the need for self-discipline and self-improvement demands my undivided attention.) It now seems so futile to me. Rarely is anyone's mind changed. A civil discussion cannot be conducted without someone eventually engaging in name-calling or some kind of rudeness to people they don't even know. Hence, the great irony of a discussion of kindness in any Internet forum.

Uh-oh, I've made myself look foolish. I'm a fool, I don't deny it! Lousy writing (on my part)! Who cares? Sometimes clowns can be entertaining.

FSogol, I'm dropping this. This is my last post. If I've finally learned from my mistakes, I won't even log in again. Again, I'm not quarreling with you; and (for the last time) I'm not criticizing the article, which enunciates a noble principle. You know what they say (and I do mean this with all sincerity): Go in peace.

Posted by radicalliberal | Fri Aug 1, 2014, 05:15 PM (1 replies)

Arrgghhh! It is way too long for me to read, and I am so short on time!

Help! Help! I am being dominated by females in my household by their very presence! I'm married only to a woman instead of another guy! In our repeated attempts to propagate the human race and thereby contribute to the gene pool, we have managed only to produce two more females in this world! No sons! I have no male companionship inside the confines of my humble dwelling! I'm outnumbered, I tell you! Three females but only one male! Not a son in the whole family! (My wife's genes are to blame for all this.) It just isn't fair! (Now, where did I put that copy of The Masculinist Maifesto by Macho Marx? Oh, well, at least I'm still sweaty from my last workout; and my codpiece feels just right! )


I've been known to be silly at times.
Posted by radicalliberal | Mon Feb 10, 2014, 06:38 PM (1 replies)

Warren, I'm not sure why. Seriously.

Perhaps I'm just too emotional and thin-skinned for my own good. Perhaps I'm afflicted with mood swings because of current health problems. Perhaps I feel out of place. Perhaps I'm feeling burned out. Perhaps all of these. Board messaging is such a quirky way to communicate. It's easy to misunderstand and to be misunderstood. It's also easier to lose one's temper and get mad and go on a verbal rampage. As a character once said in an old Boris Karloff's Thriller episode (namely, "The Devil's Ticket"), (I should) save it for the psychiatrist (meaning I should see one, as long as he's not incompetent or crazy). Should also "straighten out my affairs" (same show). Love that Robert Bloch!





I'm probably not really suited to post in hardly any forum, anyway. Not the most secure person in the world. There is also the issue of the futility of posting. So, I now take a temporary, if not permanent, leave of absence (unless I succumb to the temptation to make a fool out of myself again).

The show's on me!
Posted by radicalliberal | Thu Jan 30, 2014, 01:55 AM (2 replies)

To say there is no rape culture is patently absurd.

I wonder if there is a single rape victim anywhere who would say, "You're absolutely right. There is no rape culture." I would challenge anyone to point out a single rape victim who would say that.

School sports always bring out the best in people, so many people say with depressing regularity. (That's why mandatory P.E. should be nothing more than Compulsory Sports instead of providing exercise programs to actually promote physical fitness.) Oh, really? You mean all the sports fans stand up for rape victims everywhere, even when the perps happen to be athletes? You mean there isn't a rape culture already set in place in just about every community that has a school sports progam to publicly shame the next victim who actually dares to press charges against the athlete(s) who raped her? How would you feel if it happened to your daughter?

But, of course, as we already know, there really is no rape culture. It's just a product of some people's imagination.
Posted by radicalliberal | Sat Jan 11, 2014, 08:25 PM (2 replies)

Another reason why science geeks don't have groupies is because --

-- anti-intellectualism has long been a component of the popular culture of this country, beginning in Colonial times when men of thought and letters were viewed as effete. Today, as always, young boys who have no interest in sports are marginalized. They are viewed as being deficient and inferior. There are even mental health specialists who still claim that boys who show no interest in sports should be suspected of having homosexual tendencies.

Masculinity is defined solely in terms of physical strength and/or athletic prowess. (Hey, guys, even I pump iron! Out of personal desperation.) Moral courage (courage of the sort that was manifested by the decidedly nonathletic Sakharov and Wallenberg) is way under-appreciated at most. Never mind that the civil rights movement of the 1950s and the early 1960s never would have succeeded without men and women of moral courage. I guess this trait is not sexy enough to please a lot of people.

Decades ago a New York sociology professor named Patricia Cayo Sexton published a book entitled The Feminized Male, which was an unbridled diatribe against those boys and men who today are referred to as "geeks" or "nerds." Since my study habits were poor in high school, I never qualified for the honor -- yes, the honor -- of being referred to as a nerd. But since I was nonathletic and had never had any desire as a boy to participate in any sport, I was stunned by the virulence of this vicious woman's venom. I felt as if I had been personally attacked by a complete stranger nearly a thousand miles away who knew absolutely nothing about me. I dare say from an emotional standpoint that I knew exactly how a black person feels while examining white supremacist hate literature and how a Jew feels while examining anti-Semitic hate literature. I'm just as stunned now as I was then; but at that time I finally understood why all of my mandatory boys' P.E. coaches had had such a dismissive attitude toward nonathletic boys, who were forced against their will to take a class that was completely useless and even detrimental to them.

Sexton's book of hate and bigotry read like it had been written by Ann Coulter or Phylis Schafly, but she herself was on the political left! She claimed that "feminized males" were a potential threat to society. (Remember, she was expressing hatred toward children -- okay, boys -- simply for not being athletically inclined or physically strong!) She claimed the assassins of President John F. Kennedy (1963) and Senator Bobby Kennedy (1968) were "feminized males" who were enraged by the Kennedy brothers' "virility." She also claimed that the anti-Vietnam War demonstrators at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago were "feminized males" who were -- yes, you guessed it -- enraged by the virility of the cops. (I bet most of the cops would have said that was nonsense.) One of her recommendations to supposedly improve the state of education in our country was to rewrite all word problems in physics textbooks in terms of physical phenomena in school sports. No, this book was not a best-seller. But it's still in print after all these years; and it does express the views that a lot of people had at the time of its publication, views that are still prevalent today. Incidentally, years later she was quoted in the local daily as having said, "Beware of scientists. They're pencil-necked geeks."

Despite her bigotry and her hatred of nerds and geeks, she continues to be honored at the leftist website Dissent Magazine ( www.dissentmagazine.org ). Amazing!

Is it any wonder that some of the most anti-intellectual institutions in this country are high schools?

So, we live in a society whose popular values are completely warped, as far as masculinity is concerned. Often at personal risk to his own life (surviving several assassination attempts), Wallenberg saved the lives of more than 10,000 Jews in Hungary. But since he was a slightly built man who was not particularly attractive physically and * gasp * actually disliked competitive team sports, Wallenberg would be considered almost effeminate and certainly sexually unattractive. No, society says I as a man should admire someone like "Broadway Joe" Namath -- who once was a guest on The Late Show with Johnny Carson in the summer of 1970 where he said, "Women are only good for sex." No one in the audience booed him. (I saw the broadcast on TV with my mother present. I loved her reaction! She said, "Why, he's not even good-looking!") According to our shallow social values, Namath was/is a "real man," certainly more of a man than the slightly built Wallenburg was. Indeed, society says that I should -- nay, must -- admire the misogynistic Namath because he was a professional football player. But I know better. Between the two of them, I know who was more of a man.
Posted by radicalliberal | Sat Jan 11, 2014, 10:45 AM (1 replies)

I hope you're not saying that all such sexual assault accusations are false, as many fans claim.

Statistics show that athletes accused of rape are considerably less likely to be convicted than nonathletic men who are accused of committing the same sort of crime. The bitter truth is that women who have been raped by athletes don't stand much of a chance of receiving any justice, especially if the case is tried by a jury. All the defense attorney has to do is pack the jury full of -- well, never mind! Talk about jock privilege!

Also, notice the way the victim in the Steubenville case has been treated after the "guilty" verdict was declared. The young girl in Maryville, MO, recently attempted suicide. The victim shaming in those two cases (not to mention others) is some of the most despicable conduct I've ever seen. I wish the rape victims had as many supporters as the athletes have fans, but they don't. In fact, many people don't seem to care at all.
Posted by radicalliberal | Sat Jan 11, 2014, 07:47 AM (2 replies)

What about all the people who rush to defend rapists?

What about individuals such as Candy Crowley and Poppy Harlow who expressed sympathy for the convicted rapists in the Steubenville case -- after, not before, the conviction? What about the death threats the victim received? The "blame the victim" mentality abounds. What would you call that?

I believe you when you say there is no rape culture in Northampton, MA. Since you live there, I'll take your word for it. But what about communities such as Maryville, MO; Steubenville, OH; Fort Bend, IN; Glen Ridge, NJ; etc.?

What about injustices such as the following?


http://www.democraticunderground.com/10024293735

Cyberbullying Drove The Maryville Rape Victim To Attempt Suicide This Weekend

Daisy Coleman, the teenage girl at the center of the controversial Maryville rape case that came to light in October, has been hospitalized after attempting to take her own life on Sunday night. Her mother, Melinda, told a local Fox News affiliate that Daisy experienced an onslaught of cyberbullying after attending a party this past weekend.

Two years ago, 14-year-old Daisy was sexually assaulted by a member of Maryville’s high school football team and left semi-unconscious in her front yard in the middle of the night. The charges against Daisy’s alleged rapist were dropped, and the Coleman family became the subject of intense harassment and abuse. This past fall, after the Kansas City Star initially broke the details of the story, the Colemans gave several media interviews in an attempt to draw more attention to the inadequate criminal justice response to cases of sexual assault.

But in an interview with the Daily Mail published on Monday, Melinda Coleman explained that it hasn’t been easy for Daisy after going public. “She had been pretty good, when we were doing interviews and she felt like people were supporting her, and honestly being in bigger cities where people were more open-minded it was helping her a lot,” Coleman said. “When we got back here where we had to be quiet, it became really, really hard.”

http://thinkprogress.org/health/2014/01/07/3127711/maryville-rape-victim-suicide/



No wonder rape is an under-reported crime!

As I've said, the "blame the victim" mentality abounds. No wonder bullying in the schools has been tolerated for generations! According to the traditional view (now currently advocated by a psychologist named Izzy Kalman, who's bound to become a hero to RWs everywhere once he has received more publicity), it's the victims who are the problem, not the bullies!

I seriously doubt that most of those who use the term "rape culture" maintain that it predominates in virtually every community. But you cannot always predict how the local community will react when a scandal is exposed. Just look at Maryville for the latest example. To say that rape culture is limited to only rapists is a bit like saying that hardly any Americans would carry out orders to inflict pain (or worse) on another human being if the U.S. came to be ruled by a fascist regime. Psychological research has indicated otherwise.

If the term "rape culture" has no meaning, then what do you call this sort of sickness in our society? To say that the rape culture exists only among rapists fails to address the attendant injustices involved, such as the few I've just referenced. This sickness is not limited to the rapists.

Incidentally, as I've just pointed out, the rape culture is supported by many women; so, I'm not applying a broad brush to men. (After all, I happen to be a guy.)

To use another racial analogy, to say that rape culture is limited to the rapists is like saying that white racism is to be found only in the Ku Klux Klan.
Posted by radicalliberal | Thu Jan 9, 2014, 03:49 PM (0 replies)

ProudToBeBlueInRhody, I just came across an interesting post that was submitted . . .

. . . two days ago in response to an OP at Good Men Project. The OP is entitled "Five Reasons Your Child Won’t Be a Scientist (and What You Can Do About It)," and the poster's username is "KatyD."

http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/hesaid-five-reasons-your-child-wont-be-a-scientist-and-what-you-can-do-about-it/

I've copied and pasted the text of her post below, as follows:




Don’t forget that in most schools, jocks and cheerleaders (who generally are not into, nor good at science) are at the top of the social food chain, while those at actually like science are at the bottom, or close to it. They are regarded as “geeks,” “dweebs,” “nerds,” “losers” and worse, and are frequently targets of bullying and harassment by the jock/cheerleader crowd. Consequently there are parents who don’t want, and even actively discourage, their kids from liking science and becoming a “nerd,” lest they have a miserable high school social life.

In elementary school, I loved science, especially learning about rocks and minerals. And to a degree my parents encouraged it, though they were limited because neither had gone to college, and my mother didn’t even finish high school. But once I got to junior high and high school, she began pushing me to be a cheerleader so I would be “popular,” and my father wondered how he would ever get me “married off” if I spent all my time in my room studying instead of going on dates. Never mind that I was woefully uncoordinated physically, and that I had already discovered (painfully) that behind their pretty faces and perky smiles, the cheerleaders were the meanest, nastiest girls in my school. After trying out once and failing miserably, I told my mother I had no interest in cheerleading and would never try out again. But she still didn’t understand why, and I also found myself internalizing messages that boys didn’t like smart girls, so I drifted away from science. Many years and many career upheavals later, I regret bitterly that I did not pursue a scientific career. I would likely be much better off, emotionally, spiritually and financially. But it’s too late now.

On a similar note, my husband attended a high school ruled by football; they won multiple state championships and regularly sent players into major college programs and the NFL. Football players could do anything–even physically abuse other students and openly cheat on their work–and teachers would look the other way. His junior year, when a new school board president suggested cutting money to the football program and spending more on academics (especially science), she received death threats. My husband played football, not because he liked it (in fact, he hated it with a passion) but because his father expected him to, believing it would make a man out of his shy, slight son who preferred reading sci-fi novels to tossing balls around. He rarely left the bench and still regrets wasting time doing something he hated, just because his father didn’t want him to be a “pencilneck.”

I’m not sure schools have much of a chance at encouraging more students to pursue STEM fields, as long as we live in a culture that holds up grown men who play little boys’ games as heroes and pays them obscene amounts of money, while virtually ignoring scientists and ridiculing them as “geeks.” Or when we measuring our daughter’ success by how good they look jumping around in a skimpy uniform, instead of encouraging them to conduct their own science experiments in the basement. Our culture is deeply anti-science and anti-intelligence in general. And I don’t see it changing anytime soon.





I dare say this is a particular negative aspect of the culture of school sports that sports columnists and sportswriters are loathe to examine. (Well, there has been the exception of Robert Lipsyte, who isn't exactly popular with sports fans; but he retired recently.) In fact, I'd be amazed to come across a single article written by a sportswriter that dealt with this issue.

This is one of the reasons why for decades I've considered the sports media as a whole to be extremely biased.
Posted by radicalliberal | Sat Oct 5, 2013, 03:28 PM (2 replies)

This coach deserves to be honored, as do other coaches who share his moral convictions.

I salute such coaches. But I must object to this nonsense that he is a typical coach who represents the norm. If he were, in fact, the norm, this wouldn't be news.

As much as I truly hate to say this, I have great difficulty believing that the majority of high-school football coaches are morally opposed to any of their players bullying other students at their schools. I know that some are because I've read reliable reports about them, but the majority?

In my opinion, there are two compelling reasons why the majority of high-school football coaches would not be expected to oppose bullying by any of their players:

1) Many of these coaches work under intense pressure put upon them by the boosters and other fans to win games. If the team loses too many games (at least in the judgment of the fans), the coach is likely to lose his job. The fact that a coach may be a positive influence in the players' lives by teaching them to respect others and make positive contributions to society is only a secondary consideration to many of the fans. No, I take that back. Winning is the only thing that matters to these fans. So, if a player (especially one who is an asset to the team) bullies a student who occupies a low position in the social heirarchy (e.g., a quiet, studious nonathletic boy) and makes his life miserable, that is of no concern to the fans. They just want the players to win games. Many people have no problem with bullying in the schools, anyway.

2) One word: Machismo. (Because of a forced association I had with an unpleasant adult male for four of my teenage years, I learned what machismo was all about before I even heard the word.) This mindset defines masculinity in terms of athletic prowess. Teenage boys who are not strong physically, especially those who have no interest in sports, are deemed to be effeminate and inferior. High-school football players are called "real men," "studs," "alpha males," etc. Nonathletic teenage boys who have no interest in sports are called "sissies," "wimps," "feminized males," "fags," etc. Even today some health care professionals counsel parents that a young boy who lacks an interest in sports should be suspected of having homosexual tendencies. The fact that there have been men of great character and men of great courage who were not interested in sports is denied by those who perpetrate this marginalization of nonathletic boys. (Incidentally, I believe that good coaching of the sort described in this article builds character; but I don't believe that merely participating in a sport builds character. Hey, I agree with Joe Ehrmann! )

A study of history will show that when a group of people are deemed to be inferior, they eventually will be mistreated. So, the mindset of machismo views nonathletic males as being inferior and deserving of no respect. Machismo also has no problem with bullying. In fact, it promotes bullying as a supposed social good serving the purpose of culling the herd. The bullying of nonathletic boys will be tolerated or even encouraged because they are viewed as being inferior and deserving of no respect as fellow human beings.

Why should anyone be surprised that the bullying of slightly built boys and overweight boys has long been a feature of traditional mandatory "sports only" P.E.? They are the outcasts and deserve to be treated like dirt. One DU member recently posted that when the athletic guys in his P.E. class saw the scrawny boys naked in the showers, they would call them "queer bait" to their faces. (This is evidence of sports building character, I suppose.)

Amazing, isn't it? A class that could have been used to encourage sedentary boys to become physically active and take up some kind of exercise program only served to subject them to humiliation and bullying, sometimes on a daily basis -- a not-so-positive "gift" from the culture of school sports. (Incidentally, some DU members continue to support this policy of Compulsory Sports to the detriment of nonathletic students -- which is actually a conservative stance, not a "progressive" one. Sounds ironic, doesn't it?) So much for the professed concern about wellness and physical fitness! This has gone on for generations. Has any sportswriter (or anyone else) ever written about it?

While I'm here, I might as well get this off my chest: I've noticed that a few of the sports fans here at DU have expressed no sympathy for the rape victims in the Penn State and Steubenville scandals. They seem to care only about the image of high-school and college football, victims be damned! I've been amazed to see such a callous attitude in a progressive forum. The 16-year-old girl has received death threats and continues to be vilified by the local community and cyber bullies online. (Meanwhile, football fans Poppy Harlow and Candy Crowley express sympathy for the two players who were convicted. ) These young people will have to live with this trauma for the rest of their lives. I know a 62-year-old man who suffered a nervous breakdown when he was 17 because of bullying at school (by "jocks," by the way) and an abusive stepfather at home. In the mental hospital he was raped by another inmate, a muscular man in his 40s who physically overpowered him and anally raped him. My friend still has nightmares about it to this day.

We live in a society in which football is sacred. Anyone who is crushed by the "jockocracy" is shoved out the door. Pathetic.
Posted by radicalliberal | Thu Sep 26, 2013, 07:31 PM (3 replies)
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