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Thread: Sports and violence

  1. #1

    Default Sports and violence

    So recently I went underwear shopping (the normal kind). As I was leaving the small store, a man delivering boxes to the same store observed me unlocking my bike and correctly deduced that I was part of my city's small but growing number of year round cyclists (winter cycling is not the easiest of tasks here in midwestern North America). He politely inquired if people (by which he meant drivers) gave me enough room. I replied that generally people did, but there will always be a few jerks and that the worst time is during hockey games. It seems that some hockey fans are extremely rude not just to me but other motorists.

    Now before I go on I should provide context. I live in Winnipeg, a city that recently got an NHL team after 15 years of not having one. (Atlanta fans: I am truly sorry you lost your team, though I am not a hockey fan myself I think most Jets fans would be sympathetic. They were in your place in '96) Needless to say my city is hockey mad to the point of excess and all games are sold out.

    Back to the sidewalk conversation. He remarked that his 7 year old son had just started hockey, but he didn't like going to his games because other parents are too aggressive. "I mean come on, he's seven." he said, then remarked "It does something to people." He wished me a good day and went on with his work.

    My trip halfway across the city allowed me to ponder his remarks. I remembered in kindergarten asking my parents if I could join some of my classmates on a hockey team at the local arena, but was that because of our very modest family income at the time that we couldn't afford the equipment. I wondered if they would have let me play at all, or if perhaps I was lucky that I never played. I thought about the hockey fans I know who are committed pacifists, and those who love the violence of the sport.

    I realize that violence is not limited to hockey. The recent burning a Roma camp in northern Italy featured angry mobs singing the anthems of one particular association football team known for it's bigoted fans is one example

    I understand that this is a difficult subject, and entering as one who claims to be apathetic towards sports could be seen as an attempt to suppress innocent entertainment. So I will pose a few questions that should not offend: Is there are culture of aggressiveness and even violence around some sports? And if so, what is the cause? Why is there no perceived aggressive culture in sports like curling or.......... *looks through list of Olympic sports* .....table tennis?

  2. #2


    Now, I'm no expert on American (as in: the continent) sports, but the few times I've been to college football games over there, I thought it was rather peaceful. There were no fences blocking one team's fans from the other team's fans. They mixed at the concession stands and clearly had no issues with each other. That ideal in itself doesn't work over here because the different fan groups (or rather: Certain subsets of them) would have a go at each other. I remember being on a train platform full of fans from team X. A train pulled up on another platform with two tracks in between, unloading fans of team Y, which is like the arch enemy of team X. It didn't take a minute before anything you can think of started flying across those two tracks aimed at the other team's fans.

    In other words: People take sports too seriously. Probably because it's one of the few opportunities where you can openly support a cause without being looked upon. With all the wars we had here in the past and everyone being all about open-mindedness and political correctness, you can't go around promoting your country, race or culture openly any more. so quite a lot of people have made (European) football their outlet for being proud of something, or for trying to get rid of their aggressions.

    Back on topic: I believe this over-the-top 'competitiveness' has spread into the whole sports scene. Most people will disagree with the behavior of those parents, they will not question the cause: Supporting their kids and pushing them to new achievements. People just don't realize that their competitiveness isn't echoed by the kids - they just want to play and have fun, and I doubt most of them give two messy diapers about winning some sort of trophy. Shame parents don't realize that and think that their offspring has to be the next [insert name of best player ever in your favorite type of sport here].


  3. #3


    I agree with Peachy- some people take it so overboard and do dumb things in the name of sports. I have seen it in the local high school levels as our rivals once went aboard the band bus and destroyed my sister's jacket and destroyed other valuables. I also have seen fights in the name of sports and there have been stabbings here in the States too. Earlier this year a Giants fan was beaten outside Dodger Stadium by Dodger fans.

    I have seen fans act violently at Browns games here too, but they keep it under control now. When I was a kid, fans would throw snowballs, rocks, batteries and dog biscuits at the opposing players and coaches and there was an incident in 2001 in which Browns fans erupted violently and threw bottles onto the field at players and refs.

    I chalk some of it up to the amount of alcohol that people drink at sporting events and they lose all sense of self control in that state. They've taken steps to prevent some of the out of control behavior- adding more police and raising the price on alcohol to the point where a beer at a stadium can cost you nine bucks or more in some places.

    I think kids need to be taught to keep the agression in check by coaches and parents too don't help sometimes. I have seen for years a lot of stories of parents getting agressive at their kids games and what have you. I love sports myself but I try not to take them too seriously as some people I know do because life is too short to do so.

    People get too agressive in sports and at sporting events.


  4. #4


    Quote Originally Posted by WildThing121675 View Post
    I have seen fans act violently at Browns games here too, but they keep it under control now. When I was a kid, fans would throw snowballs, rocks, batteries and dog biscuits at the opposing players and coaches and there was an incident in 2001 in which Browns fans erupted violently and threw bottles onto the field at players and refs.
    Chucking stuff at the other team's players is understandable from their point of view I guess. Over here, some 'fans' just abuse the sports event for other issues, mostly political, or "hating the cops"-issues. There's two clubs here with distinct left wing and right-wing fans, and their latest game against each other last weekend was played in an empty stadium because one team was punished for something their violent fans did a few weeks back.


  5. #5


    I've been playing hockey my whole life (and currently i'm playing on two teams), and i can tell you, some teams are just crazy rough and dirty, while most teams are respectful. Whoever said that some people take sports way too seriously you couldn't have been more right!

    Now, generally the parents are respectful at games (I'd say 98% of the time) but in that other 2%, they are just plain wacked. Things like yelling, swearing, insulting the other parents on the other side of the bleachers are just totally unnescessary. No wonder their kids are punching out other players and spending 2/3 of the game in the penalty box. It's not just the parents either, i've seen coaches like that. Too many of them, actually. It's minor hockey for Christ's sake, take it easy. Some people just need to learn to not get their panties in a bunch so easily :P

  6. #6


    I think most of this actually comes from where the sport started. things like table tennis (as mentioned) are not violent i think because its new. not to say it will become violent later in life but to say that newer spots people create tend not to involve much "rough" style of play.

    Things like football (or soccer for USA) were begun back in the days where it was how strong you were that really showed who was best. I'm not exactly sure on where american football started so i wont try comment on it but i think it might be the same type of thing. people who do sport associate the best with the strongest and fans take this in too. From watching the adrenaline fueled games of teams fighting to win, they themselves get some into there blood and feel that its them vs other teams fans to prove there team is best on the pitch and the teams fans are the best off the pitch. The way they prove this is to go back a few thousand years of evolution and try beat the crap out of the other guy.

  7. #7


    The incident I mentioned from back in December 2001 was the results of a weird and bizarro situation that cost the Browns a chance to win and the fans erupted very violently. They threw plastic cups, plastic beer bottles onto the field and were chanting obscenities live on TV. I was supposed to be at the game that day but fortunately I wasn't there. The Browns and the NFL made changes afterwards. They stop selling alcohol at the start of the forth quarter and they won't allow plastic bottles anymore.

    Also, drink prices were raised up to at least $7 or more for a beer at Browns games. I have seen prices as high as $9 a beer or higher in Dertroit.

    We have had our fair share of rioting after wins and I can give a few examples of that; in 1984, the Detroit Tiger fans celebrated by rioting, in 2008 fans in Philly rioted after the Phillies won the series, Laker fans rioted in LA outside the Staples Center a few years back, I think that was the last time the Lakers won- And there are other events too, but I am tired and can't think of any others off the bat.

    People get too agressive with their sports. I never understood that but that is how some people are I guess. And I do agree with Peachy, maybe some people use sports as an excuse to just get crazy for other reasons.


  8. #8


    I live only a couple dozen miles from where the Oakland Raiders play. Talk about a rough crowd!!!

    Personally, I don't really get into sports. The one sport I do participate in actually has women competing fairly equally against men, with the emphasis being on fine control of your body over and above sheer strength or stamina (though the women in the sport are not wimps by any stretch of the imagination).

  9. #9


    Up where I live, kids that play hockey usually start on skates around four years old. At that age, I really don't believe that it is the child's choice at all. They grow up with their parents pushing them to play hockey, and it becomes all that they know. From one of my friends, I have learned that the practice schedule pretty much takes out any sort of life you may wish to have during the season, and for the "committed" players, year round. Growing up with a class largely comprised of hockey players, I have found the vast majority of them are your stereotypical jock. Like Mornavial said, sports like hockey are largely about who is the biggest and toughest. There is some strategy, but if a sharp wit doesn't yield the desired results, you can always check the guy. I like the sport, but I am not afraid to say that it is, along with may of it's players that I know, rather primal.

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