Since the 1980’s, a school-of-thought has gathered pace that promotes the suppression of competitive sports. It’s an idea that inspires polar opposite emotions but one that a good number of schools have embraced.
On one hand, I can see the logic. Competitive activities are prone to bringing out some of our less desirable characteristics and will inevitably lead to many having the fact that they are a ‘failure’ re-enforced from a young age. Indeed, in a society where success is defined increasingly by one’s mental capacity and less by one’s physical prowess, isn’t the whole concept of competitive sports somewhat archaic?
On the other hand, the human spirit is drawn towards competitiveness like a moth to a flame. The palpable sense that victory is within reach and the exhilarating rush of clasping it with both hands is hard to beat. The pursuit of victory drives individuals to perfect their body, mind and skills and we learn a whole myriad of valuable, transferable skills in the process. How could that be a bad thing?
Well, maybe if it drives you do behave like a complete animal in the process?
Eurogamer’s video reveals a dark, if not entirely unsurprising side to competitive gaming. We’ve all cursed at the TV from time-to-time after a narrow defeat or a foolish mistake but to see such overriding ferocity is an eye-opener, even for a seasoned gamer such as myself. One can only imagine how non-gamers might react to this.
The negatives here are fairly easy to quantify, but to be fair to Eurogamer, they do go on to discuss similar behaviour in other competitive sports. Circle squared.
Or is it?
Like most arguments, it’s not as simple as one extreme or the other; it’s not a case of engaging in competitive sports or not. It’s a case, in my humble opinion, of engaging in competitive sports in a 21st century manner. There’s nothing wrong with being fired-up or attempting to psych-out the competition, but there’s ways and means of doing it beyond unfettered use of the f-bomb.
Yes, there are sports where verbal-abuse is the norm but does that excuse it? Would football be football without the passion that drives players to direct so much aggression towards each other? Probably not: it would be better. Only today, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights proclaimed that football is behind the times and that it must catch-up with modern society on a whole range of key social issues.
The ugly side of the beautiful game
“It is time for football to take a lead, and particularly problematical here is continuing in old archaic ways saying football is a man’s world. It’s not.”
Remove ‘football’ and insert ‘gaming’.
Of course, this is an argument beyond merely the sexes, but I suspect that the above video might have played out a little more differently had one team been all-female. I suspect that the subsequent forum-furore might have been even louder too – and have spilled-over into mainstream press.
In the meantime, young men will carry on being young men when surrounded by little else but young men. With nothing to act as a basis for comparison, they will simply continue to preach and digest each other’s tired, old mantras.