Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Aggression, Sport, Violence, and Competition

Hiya all...

Today I am writing of my interest in Sport.  I play a variety of sports particularly Cricket, Cycling, and more recently Touch Football.

I am writing today to basically state that I am Human and have failings...  I appreciate that we all have failings and in the event that YOU do not acknowledge them then at least from my perspective you have FAILED.

But that is getting off track a bit.  This post today is about Aggression, Sport, Violence and Competition.

I suppose that I wish to write particularly about the role that aggression plays in sport and competition and to pose the question of where is and where does the line get drawn???

What prompted this thought was a game of touch footy that I played where aggression became part of the game and it spirralled out of control.  Now I need to be clear here and state that this did not end badly ie. people getting into fist fights... but there was a level of pushing and verbals.

It started for me at least with a guy "touching" me with a harder than needed slap across the back, which in the context of the touch was definitely deliberate, and further sprouted his mouth off about how I was a "pussy".

I need to add that the comment above does not relate to the nice warm fuzzies that you get from Cats such as described by the image below... (for those fans of The Big Bang Theory)...

Now ideally I would have been best to leave this comment alone and play the game but I guess this day I had had just a little bit more aggression in the system than was required.  For I stated to the offending player that if he was going to do and such say such things then he would be well to come and say it a little closer to where I was standing!!! So as we may be able to discuss the issue further.

I did not take a step towards him!  However did ask him to bring it over if he wished to make something of it.  As it does.... this created a bit of a stir between the players, but it was moved on and the game progressed.  There continued to be "banter" throughout the game with a continuation of touches from both sides that sort of progressively got more beyond the bounds of the realm of fair play.  There was one occasion though where I did the same and instead of making a touch I pushed the person and they went over.  (I have since found out that there were players on both sides who were much more physical with their touches than was appropriate.)  This created a stir again I was quickly surrounded by players from both on the field and funnily enough I also found myself surrounded by people who had approached from the side line (both players from the opposing side and spectators who were there from the opposition).  Unfortunately this event ended the game as the Referee called the game off after this.... due to overt aggression from both sides!

I am obviously not going into a great deal of detail into the game detail.  The event has since been sorted with players and managers from both teams getting a repremand from the governing body.  Particularly those who enetered the playing field from the sideline and spectators.

But the event got me thinking.  Because although I went beyond the norm I admit and I sure that many of us do love sport as an outlet for aggression.  The games that we play give us the capacity to release the tension that may get built up over time from a variety of sources such as work, relationships, and a variety of other stressors that we all bring to the table.

Some of the biggest paying and viewed sports have as inherent element of their game play as Outright violence.  Or violent acts.  Such as tackling and general body collisions within Rugby League, or NFL (for those within the states, who seem to be the some of the biggest readers of this BLOG) as well as on occasions Football (soccer) as well as Cricket.  All have aggression and the use of aggression as the core and inherent strategies.

 Now at this point I could take a wide and varied journey exploring the many facets of this from discussing such topics as Crowd violence, outright violence to a myriad of others such topics.

BUT I am looking to to view the use of aggression from my personal perspective exploring my own use of aggression as well the use of aggression from others such as those involved in elite sports who are often idealized and celebrated for their sporting achievements.

I use aggression to motivate myself in that I can make statements such as "JUST FUCKING DO IT" #JFDI (a recent saying I have heard that uses although I believe she uses Friggin instead of the word I have used.) when I feel unmotiavted to get out there and exercise...This for me creates a level of personal shame and guilt that I can impose on myself to make me more accountable. I can also use use aggression in the sports that I play such as Cycling, Cricket and as described above Touch footy.  I have been guilty as described above to use aggression towards others.  However I see that the majority of the time I and others who I play against would consider that I play hard but fair.  I would suggest that this same idea of playing hard but fair also relates to the behaviour towards myself in that I generally am happiest playing sport when I am driving myself hard to achieve my best while at the same time allowing myself some fairness.  Fairness to achieve a balance between competition, enjoyment and battling my own self and the opposition who I play against.

BTW thought that I would add this special app (ABOVE) from Strava just to give ppl an idea of how little or how much I am cycling/ or exercising.  Thought that this would tie in well with the post about "The Weight of it all!!!" where I discuss my getting healthy and loosing weight.  I am BTW down to 114.5 which is not that much lost but I can see a change in overall body shape so and I as long as I am riding I am coming down.  So I am happy.
BUT getting back to the topic. I have for those who have read a number of my posts an active particapant in the ongoing understanding of Positive Psychology.  I have recently undertaken a Realise2 strengths assessment which states that one of my Realised Strengths is that I am Competitive!  This may actually account a lot for my behaviour described above as I do not like getting bested particularly when the opposition does not maintain a level of fairness. However having recently seen a career coach who supported this assessment he discussed the concerns of over utilizing your strengths.  For example as stated I am competitive and I welcome opportunities to compete against others as it brings out the best within me.... BUT as he suggested if I over use this strength it can create difficulties for me and others in that NOT everybody loves competition!  So I or this strength could become annoying to others...  as well as the possibility of creating situations where some can undertake activities that are unethical or inappropriate simply because they wish to WIN at every competition.  Which is where I guess allows for the exploration of the topic of where is the line in the sand that we all must draw in what we are prepared to undertake for the purposes of WINNING a competition.    

It may be useful at this time to discuss the use of aggression of others.  As I have stated previously I love cricket and as such I watch it on the TV and notice the International players have a bit to say to their opposition.  Although you are unable to hear what is said through the mikes it is evident that they are not letting the opposition know how well they are playing or what such a great time they had on their boat on the weekend or other such niceties... In the cricketing world it is called "Sledging".

The night of game of touch described above I went home wondering about the use of aggression in sport and whether it is correct!  In thinking of this question I wondered of the difference in the use of aggression between the genders to determine if this use of aggression was a behaviour driven by the obvious differences in Testosterone within males and females.  NOW I know it is nieve to suggest that females are not violent or aggressive but is there a major difference?

Being the social media fan that I am and the the fact that we (the populace) can now gain "access" to celebrities of all persuasions from elite sports people to movie celebs and the like I went to twitter to ask the question of what happens in the International Cricketing arena.  And surprisingly I gained a response.  Only one though and the response was from Elyse Villani a Current Player within the Southern Stars.   

After a few days with no response it appeared that #sledging is or was not a topic that people like to talk about so I sent this tweet. and gained a responce and a conversation as seen below...

However as you can see below the small sample of players from the male ranks were not at all willing to respond...  I did send the same tweet to a few others including ABC Grandstand and some other current and ex players with no response so "IF" (as we all know it is used) is not a topic that is open for open discussion at least not with me!

However as I have had some difficulty forming what I wanted to express within this post it has actually taken me a few weeks to write....  And today I hear on the news that the discussion of what is or not appropriate in regard to what a person or group of persons will do to WIN comes under question again in relation to the topic of #drugsinsport!  As I write this post there appears to be a developing story over the Cronulla Sharks and players who have used performance enhancing substances.

This follows the recent released report from Asada into Organised Crime and #Drugsinsport as seen by the tweet below....

It appears that within the human condition there exists a state that people will do just about anything to gain the edge to WIN and WIN at all costs. As stated above we all have failings but the first step to overcoming them is to first acknowledge there existence to ourselves and question!
When I am troubled I often seek the words of others to assist and guide to help determine where I stand.

Now I am aware that cheating which #drugsinsport is easy for some to determine right from wrong.  But in the context of life we are all challnged to determine what is right for us.  So below is but a small selection of quotes to give some balance to the issue....

  • People have a moral standard about what they will do and will not do. At the end of the day someone who cheats has a lower moral standard than someone who does not. And they will cheat in other areas of life as well.
  • We are more likely to cheat if we see others doing so. We tend to conform to accepted norms of reasonable behaviour, rather than adhere to strict rules.
  • All good is hard. All evil is easy. Dying, losing, cheating, and mediocrity is easy. Stay away from easy.
And if I was to say what I would have as an IDEAL it would be this last quote!  Which will also finalise the last words of this particular post!!!!
  • It's important that athletes can compete on a level playing field. And youngsters coming into the sport can know that if they are working hard and training hard, they'll see a true reflection of where they stand and what they can achieve worldwide and not be swayed by people who are cheating.

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