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Sports Psychology Sports in the aftermath

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					Sports Psychology: Sports in the aftermath
Sporting events have always drawn comparisions to war and battles -- relating the competition on the field and in the ring to "battles" and "wars." These war analogies have helped to engrain sports into our collective American psyche.

By Mason Williams Sports Central Columnist In the wake of the tragic events of September 11, 2001, we must take a step back and re-evaluate the analogy between war and sport. How much courage does it take for eleven well paid professionals to take the field against eleven other professionals? Not nearly as much as it does for an emergency worker to enter a crumbling building to search for a stranded stranger. How hard was the battle between Green Bay and Dallas in the "Ice Bowl" compared to the battle to protect freedom the United States is about to undertake? Sports are extremely important to our nation's fabric, but they are not what defines us. When sporting events are compared to our nation's battles, there can be two side effects. First, the wars and battles fought by veterans and our forefathers can be overly simplified. For example, the long struggle of the Civil Rights Movement seem diminished when they are compared with the long struggle the New Orleans Saints have undertaken to win one playoff game. The second effect can be a positive one. When sports compares itself to war and societal struggle there is a chance to put the role of sports in perspective. There is a chance to step back and say, "maybe the games on the field aren't as important." This is a positive collective introspection. It sometimes takes tragic situations for perspective and understanding to arise. When the fantastical world of sports is seen in the face of reality we can truly appreciate what sports is all about. Fun, sportsmanship, and comradery, these are the basic elements of sport. These are the precepts that are clouded when sports' role in society are inflated. When the games in baseball and football resumed this past week, there were numerous statements by players, coaches, fans, and writers that the games weren't nearly as important as what was going on in the country. On September 10, one day before the attacks, the biggest story was the fact that we should be expecting a fax or press conference in the next few days from Michael Jordan. After September 11, even the greatest sports icon was just another American whose world was completely shaken. Hopefully, this newfound perspective on sports will remain with us for sometime and will continue to effect the way sports is thought of. Maybe coaches, players, and fans will refrain from speaking about "gearing up for battle," "summoning the courage," and "conquering the enemy." Boxers, like Bernard Hopkins, might be more cautious before snatching a fellow competitors flag and stomping on it to prove some far-fetched ideal. Maybe fathers and sons can play catch without envisioning themselves as A-Rod and the Mick. We might even see that it doesn't take much bravery to play basketball with the flu. Maybe fun, sportsmanship, and comradery will stay with us. God bless America and thank you for our sports. Article courtesy of Sports Central.
By - Sports Central Published: 9/28/2001


				
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