Monday, November 30, 2009
This Sporting Life
Whilst listening to the tragic story of a schoolboy who took his own life after years of bullying, in both physical and cyberspace manifestations, I couln't help notice a reference to the boy's dislike of / disinterest in sports. My thoughts initially turned to the bullies, loosely disguised as P.E. teachers, at one of the schools I attended. More generally, my mind wandered off in the direction of all the bullshit we hear in terms of sport being character building and teaching the value of co-operation and team building.
To me, the most noticeable characteristics of sportsmen are competitiveness, aggression and the bullying and taunting of those less able. For some of the smaller boys, at school, it seemed essential to develop a dual level of protection from bullying. Apart from cultivating a few tougher protective friends, it became necessary to learn the tricks of dirty fighting. A well aimed knee (or even foot) to the groin and an adept use of the head butt became an essential part of their armoury. Although dirty fighting was nothing to be proud of, it was in no way as disgusting as the behaviour of the bullish sporting dinosaurs.
Sporting activity may well build up confidence in those participants of appropriate physical stature but, simultaneously, it only serves to diminish this same attribute in those not physically equipped to handle the sports more rigorous aspects. The Loughborough school of bully-boy P.E. teachers, who forced one to do press-ups beyond their natural ability / strength, in the process deliberately showing them up in front of their peers, fully earned the contempt which I reserved for them. Unfortunately, many of the hearty sports lads seemed to inherit their pernicious perverted tendencies. Co-incidentally, I could never quite understand why these he-men felt an obligation to keep an eye on the boys in the showers!