So this is going to be a more “boyish” post but I can’t help it, I love sports. And as my co-author would vouch, have spent many a nights when I lived with her, up at odd hours screaming at the tv… Then again, I can’t help it that the Australian Open happens to be at my time 3am and this girl Definitely isn’t missing any more Rafa time especially now that he is back from his injury.
Anyway, I have a variety of sports I like to follow, some more aggressively than others. Lacrosse isn’t one that I am a devote disciple of but because of my lax bro, who is actually my bro, I have involuntarily been inducted into being his pupil. While he rattles off stats, facts and all things lax, it tends to just marinate and I can’t help it, I love sports.
Obviously, he is the lax aficionado but from spending time at his games and watching the southern six (Maryland, Virginia, Hopkins, Duke, (temperamental and unpredictable) North Carolina, and the up and coming Delaware) dominate the college circuit for the past few years, I have come to learn the rules and regulations along with the more fluffy facts that make the game fun. While I always joined picking the opposite team to root for than him just to make it exciting, I have grown to like a few teams more than others in more recent years (Syracuse, Virginia, and Denver while I really really couldn’t careless for Duke, Cornell, Yale, or Notre Dame).
As Memorial Day weekend approaches and most are more excited for the sales and the day off than for the actual meaning behind the holiday, to lax fans it means that the NCAA Final Four and Championship games are upon us. During this time is where I find myself in a little bit of a bind. While I enjoy watching the games, competitiveness, comradery, sheer talent and teamwork, I also can’t help but step back and analyse the culture as a whole. I respect the Native American history and origin of the game and find it healthy that the program that used to have a limited audience and participants reserved to only a certain few regional areas, has become the fastest growing program among young athletes today. Growing 77% in the last 6 years and with nearly 400,000 players, 282,000 high school players, 671 college teams, 500 and growing club teams and even 300 women’s teams; it is booming at an astronomical rate. Growing up in a town where lacrosse is and has been THE sport, like football is in many Southern and Midwest states, and having friends and family play on traveling teams, high school teams, and college teams winning regional tournaments, state championships, tournament of champions titles, and even NCAA tournaments, it is almost seems insane to me how quickly things have changed and how many more people know about the game.
From the lingo, to the way they walk, talk, dress and even just the lifestyle of lax players seems to have become a strong identity and even more so, a stereotype; some of it worrying me greatly. Of course athletes tend to walk on air, especially in school where are they are perceived as gods and easily given pedestals that rise well above the standard of rules that the general population must abide by, but the lacrosse world seems to be a step above even that. Not only has the regular bureaucracy of any team sport kicked in to full swing but there have also been endless events that have come to light about the intertwined relationship between the lacrosse world and rape culture. From the most widely known Duke case of rape and Virginia murder case, to many smaller non-publicized cases that have been swept under the rug. While I understand that these athletes put in endless hours of effort and are incredibly talented, in the end, they really are just throwing around a ball. Should we really be excusing, and worse, allowing this behavior to be emulated? Whether they are 5 or 25, why are we allowing these players to be erase the lines of what is right and wrong and get away with acting like they are above everyone else? It seems like just another way that we are wedging in unacceptable behavior into society. I am sure many of you will not agree with me being it a controversial situation to say the least but I promise you I am not just some raging feminist who doesn’t understand the pressures of being an athlete or even saying that they are all like this. While I do have a strong sense of girl power, I too played three varsity sports in high school and was a NCAA athlete in college but still find that these attitudes that are being so heavily propagated as an image especially by very popular players and teams is really unacceptable and it isn’t really reserved to just the lacrosse world. From football to basketball, soccer to baseball, softball, hockey (ice and field), tennis, golf, swimming, and everything else in between, the hierarchy that is created in school has culminated into the “real” world and causes more problems than just bullying. Excusing athletes for their brushes with the law and full on affairs with morally unacceptable actions, we as a society are enforcing the idea that as long as you are famous, you can get away with anything.
It is a tough situation to solve especially since we are already in so deep and many of these ideas are ingrained into every society. But hopefully we can all take time to realize that sports are more about teamwork, friendships and entertainment more than anything else.
This doesn’t mean that I am not a fan of the game, in fact, I think it is more important that fans and the players are the ones that realize this the most. And as a fan I will say that the Carolina/Denver quarterfinal today was ridiculous! What a finish!
What about you? Do you watch sports? Which ones? Who are some of your favorite teams, players, and tournaments of the year?