Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Violence in Sports: Reverting Back to Roman Times and the famous Gladiators

We have come into the “me first” era and it doesn’t seem to be a fad that is going away anytime soon. The “me first” attitude had once been reserved to describe a child in his (or hers) terrible two’s.  Unfortunately, this attitude is now also prevalent in middle-aged and older ones. 

If you just take a look at drivers on the freeway, it is no wonder we’re not all dead. You are certainly taking your life into your own hands crawling into your tin can and driving on the pavement.  The car seat belt might just be your best friend, which brings us to the sport of race car driving. 
Would you say that is a violent sport? Perhaps more so dangerous rather than violent.  Although, when a car wreck happens on the track, that seems to gain more attention than the drag racing itself. This goes hand in hand with Dale Earnhardt Jr’s recent comment wondering if fans are really bloodthirsty.
That CNN article quoting Earnhardt alluded to society reverting back to Roman times and the famous Gladiators.  It certainly was a lot of bloodshed back then for the amusement of the surrounding spectators.  It has been noted that the birth of several of today’s popular sports were attributed to their ancestral Gladiator games, namely football, wrestling, and boxing.  
Most die-hard fans are offended by such comments, but even history books in high school classrooms mention this point. There is no denying the many similarities. For several years, we have witnessed many serious injuries occurring, some resulting in death, due to the fierceness of such sports. Football has been amongst the top of that list.
The violence doesn’t have to take place out on the playing ground or field.  We have had our share of news stories involving many people losing their lives being crushed in the grandstands while watching soccer games or other popular field games. It truly makes avid fans wonder if it is really safe to risk their life to go cheer on their favorite team.
On the other hand, you can take a sport such as tennis and make the statement that sports are not violent. Unless you are John McEnroe throwing the occasional tennis racquet, tennis is pretty tame. There was one very unfortunate mishap that occurred to one young golf player. Disappointed about his performance on the greens, he threw his golf club at a bench only to have the golf club bounce back and hit his neck in a spot that instantly killed him.  The probability of that happening was so slim, yet his anger and dismay cost him his life in that disastrous accident.
Did I forget to mention video games? While not exactly a sport, its violence is over the top. There is nothing innocent  about the constant exposure to such games while sitting on the couch using a joystick to bludgeon someone to death on the screen. Even video game enthusiasts have commented, to some degree, a love of video games demands a love of violence. With the popularity of video games, many have let themselves become desensitized to such ferocious acts. It certainly was a sign when video games had to have ratings, some even being x-rated for blood, guts and sex.
So what do we do? Violence has always existed. It is just more intense now. One method to tackle the problem has been implemented. There is a common thread now existing in elementary schools. The theme of being a “peace builder” has been adopted as a shared mantra amongst campuses. These children will be tomorrow’s adults. Train them while they are young. We can only hope that they will be productive citizens in society when they become adults.
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Dee Adams is a freelance writer from San Diego, Cailf. who majored in Public Administration. She enjoys writing about topics including sports, health and good living. 


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