Sunday, April 28, 2013

I Am Woman, See Me Skate

As I was writing the previous post, I thought of how it doesn't take much to get a man to a sporting event except if it was a women's league. After typing that, I quickly stopped and thought to myself: Women's MMA is pretty huge, and there's another sport that's actually holding it's own on the underground scene...Roller Derby. And I was like, "Duuuuuude, that's such a fun idea." I absolutely love getting those strokes of genius.


You can do a decent amount of things on skates: "dance," play hockey, do stupid stunts, and deliver food/beverages. You can also do one last thing on roller skates: pretend you're a raging bull. That, or pretend you're in the Ben-Hur chariot race. This, ladies and gentlemen, is what the sport of roller derby is all about. I was first introduced to this hellacious sport one night while watching ESPN Classic and seeing grainy 1970's footage of women literally killing each other while skating around a track. This footage HERE looks incredibly fake and hokey-looking, but it's completely real and hard-hitting.

While it isn't as mainstream as other sports, it has certainly kept its following since those days of shag carpeting. This following is so big that it is under consideration for inclusion in the 2020 Olympic Games. I could not make this up. We may not have Olympic wrestling, but we could have this. I digress. The sport is rather popular in countries such as Australia, Germany and Sweden, while there is an existing league in which the United States participates along with these other countries. You read that right--you have the ability to look up this league in your own time and make this your next guilty pleasure.

They're cute, aren't they?
When I hear the term "roller derby," I think of three things: women, death, and destruction. Today, as opposed to what you may have seen in the video above, teams look much more themed beyond colors. Some of the team photos I have seen on the Internet have actually reminded me of what you would see in the film Dodgeball. Plus, there also looks like there's a lot more sportsmanship involved. Gee, I would sure hope so with that.
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For those who have heard about what Roller Derby is but have no idea how the game is played, here's a Reader's Digest of the basics:

It is an incredibly strategic game where the women on each team have to work together to rack up points and manage time to defeat the opposition. If you see the women above, they have different designs on their helmet, which determines their role in the current game. There is the scoring pawn (or the "jammer" ...yeah) which is the main lady who must lap the opposition to score a point. However, the other team has blockers to prevent this, as well as aid their own jammer to lap the opposition. Each team has a time limit to when each "jam" begins and ends. If you thought you were confused at first, let me throw the idea of penalties in here too. When an infraction is caused during a jam, the accused player will be sent to the penalty box. When said player is a jammer, this team will be unable to score for a time. To keep up with these motions takes a lot of focus and concentration.
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Because of the types of strategies and the physical strikes against the opponent, this sport looks completely staged. After watching wrestling for almost my whole life, I could see why. I'm not sure if you realize this--and girls, you can support me on this--but...we're catty, catty people. Women will shove, women will elbow, and women will kick. The fact that all of this is done on skates makes it much more physical and much more--can't believe I'm saying this--fascinating to watch. It's entertaining watching women skate around and throw themselves at each other like human wrecking balls.

As I was watching footage on YouTube, I noticed a huge thing that you might not see incredibly often in other sports. I had seen a lot of physical teamwork in the sense of doing slingshots and the cliched "use my body as a shield" and these nifty-looking evasions in order to score during a jam. While other sports use that kind of teamwork in their own ways (i.e. tricks and passes and team substitution), this stuff may be practiced beforehand and done completely on the fly. During a jam, you have to be able to be in sync with your teammates and be able to think of a good strategy while not giving yourself away completely. There really is no "I" in team--not in this sport. It's fast-paced warfare on roller skates. It may not be the cleanest-looking of sports, but you have to be strong and skilled to get the job done.

In my last post, I had noted that American football had appeal for being physically brutal at times. This is definitely a huge selling point in roller derby. When a woman goes flying to the edge of the track, you can't help but cheer. It might be at the expense of seeing someone get clobbered, but there's an excitement as to what it will take for someone to completely knock someone off-course and keep them from gaining any more momentum. Violence sells, and this certainly has it. While the women may have respect for each other on the track, all is fair in love and war...until you have to go to the penalty box, that is.
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For not knowing much about the sport of roller derby until now, I am really fascinated by it. It has started as a statement in the lifelong battle of the sexes into something that is very entertaining and very therapeutic for women who are trying to find their footing in life. For the girls who might not enjoy the life of soccer or basketball or cheerleading, there is this, and this could make them feel more comfortable with who they are. Not everything is sunshine and rainbows, and the high-octane play of roller derby is proof of this. One thing is for certain, the women may be cute, but they can certainly be deadly.

Although I'm not a huge fan of its consideration to be an Olympic sport, and that I highly doubt that it will be included anyway due to the way the IOC sees women's sports to begin with (they cut softball and almost cut field hockey, for goodness' sake), it should be seen as something more serious by other sports groups. It may be too violent for the average viewer--kids might not be able to handle this stuff--but it's exciting to watch, and every game tells a pretty good story of wit, athleticism, and mental skill. I approve of it.
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But WAIT, there's more!!
A men's league exists. You read that right too. And you thought I was just going to talk about a sport entirely involving women. C'mon, guys play softball too. You had to have expected this. While it isn't as expansive as the worldwide women's league, it certainly exists and is becoming more popular within the roller derby circles. It has been around almost as long as the more well-known women's derby, but truthfully, it looks a bit awkward. Here's some old men's roller derby for your viewing pleasure.


I would try this if I could. I think I would be awesome at it.

--AZ

Saturday, April 27, 2013

The New Sheriff In Town

I grew up watching the Phillies. Most of you readers already know this. I also spent several years of my life disliking American football. With that said, this is an awkward reality that I, myself, may have to come to terms with in due time.

Thursday night was the equivalent of Christmas Day to football fans everywhere - The 2013 NFL Draft. Because social media is such a massive force today, outlets such as Facebook and Twitter were flooded with spoilers and results for the people who were out and about or refused to listen to commentary on the NFL Network or ESPN. In fact, these stations waited until the draft results were broadcast on television before posting it to Twitter or Facebook in order to keep viewers from straying to these forms of media and get faster results. [Side note: The NFL website was slower than dirt on Thursday night. My Internet may be awful at times but the NFL website was seriously running like AOL 4.0 at one point. First world problems, I know.]

I had written a blog post last year about the MLB Draft and how events like these bore me to the point of tears. However, I bit the bullet this year and decided to follow the NFL Draft. Since I got faster results through Twitter and the wonderful Jason La Canfora, I didn't bother watching the broadcast on television. Because of that, I saw a lot of different responses and reactions going on through the social networking world. For starters, I purposely follow a lot of sports figures and analysts on Twitter. Of all of the tweets that were created from 7PM until 11PM EST, about 80% of them were NFL-related, and throughout this period, there were nine--yes, nine--baseball games going on throughout the country. Even though it is early in the MLB season, you will also notice this trend occurring in September and even in October when the NFL season is in full-swing. This is where I bring up the question we've all been asking ourselves but not openly: Are we seeing a shift in power? Is baseball no longer America's game?

My friends, I believe that there's a new Sheriff in town, and it's the NFL.

People will argue that this has been the case for several years now, but with the powers of social media flexing their muscles every which way on this planet, it's even more evident that the NFL has become more of a past time than MLB. In today's fast-paced environment, the hard-hitting action and ability to conceive advertising/revenue is unique to this sport. It's one of those flashy-looking horses you see at the track on derby day. With that said, it's easy to see that the NFL has been doing everything possible to come out on top and outclass the sporting competition in the country.
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There are numerous aspects that sets the NFL apart from Major League Baseball in the overall attractiveness and shaping of today's culture. Some of them are quite obvious, while others may be generally understood without the wanting of going into detail. It's safe to say that I will be going into some detail about these aspects. Why? Because I've studied this stuff. I can do this. And you're going to like it a lot and go, "Wow, I think I actually learned something today. Thank you! Who do you work for?"

Point #1 - A unique product is a memorable product.
Aside from Canada and the now-defunct NFL Europe, nobody else really does this other than the United States. The rules and the gameplay may be similar to other sports such as rugby and Australian Rules Football, but the strategy and tactics are something all its own. Even though something such as football could really gain from having competition from other countries beside it, it has instead looked to the other sports within the country itself to gain strength and set itself apart as a uniquely powerful force in the sports world. What makes you different makes you beautiful, people.

Point #2 - KISS: Keep It Simple, Stupid.
The one huge difference between the NFL and all of the other sports in the country is the length of the season. Sixteen games in seventeen weeks for a regular season keeps things short, simple, and avoids things from being redundant. People can bring this argument up with baseball since there is 162 games in an MLB season and it may begin to drag come August. For a baseball fan like me, it doesn't bother me at all, but for the casual sports fan, you might need a little more spice thrown into your life. In short, football doesn't overstay its welcome.

Point #3 - Whether you like it or not, violence sells. No buts about it.
This is self-explanatory. When you want to watch a game, you want to see strength and skill. You will get both in football. Sometimes you will see rough hits that send guys flying, and it will get people's blood pumping, saying, "Yeah! Give 'em the chair!" Okay--maybe not that, but human instinct causes us to enjoy some form of violence. Heck, we crave it. No, I don't mean the blood and guts and such, but rough physicality. It's the same reason why MMA is so popular--sure, the athletic skills are king, but we do want to see someone get their block knocked off too.

Point #4 - Chicks dig it.
Let's not all act surprised at once here... Women make up a huge chunk of the demographic for spectators at sporting events. In fact, it may often be the biggest and most important one. No, I'm not tooting a horn because I am a woman myself, but let's be frank: it doesn't take much to get a guy to a sporting event (unless if it's a women's league, but that's beside the point). The NFL has been incredibly effective in attracting women to the game. Although other sports leagues have been doing the same things in the same vein of each other [Susan G. Komen--need I say more?]. Due to the popularity of the sport among men, it is sprinkling across the women of the world and is giving them a need to watch. I won't lie--fantasy football leagues are pretty darned fun.

Point #5 - Today's society has a rough case of ADD. Keep it quick and keep it flashy.
Statistically, the average time a football game is played in is 11 minutes. The rest is time management and play-calling. I'm serious. Although there are "media timeouts" and the like, the game is more efficient in keeping the attention of spectators and television viewers than a usual baseball game. Baseball games can be quiet at times and can drag for three hours, depending on how well the game is going. Each football play that occurs can spark a huge burst of energy from the crowd, adding electricity to the full side of the game itself. Sure, football and baseball games last about the same amount of time, but time flies when you're having more fun, instead of suffering from start-and-stop momentum. Immediate gratification.

Point #6 - This is a business. They're a juggernaut. They know it too.
Anything and everything is marketable in this sport. They're completely aware of this too. At Thursday night's first round of the draft, analysts were sharing success stories of the young men that were being drafted by NFL teams. For example, the Oakland Raiders drafted D.J. Hayden, a young man who suffered a life-threatening injury during a college football practice. After suffering a knee to the chest, his interior vena cava was severed, and there is a 5% survival rate for that injury. He survived the ordeal, and became the #12 pick on Thursday night. Stories like that will tug at heart strings. It is a human interest story at it's finest. I'm not saying that there's anything bad about this, but stories like this is what makes sports like the NFL so much more appealing. It's the "if he survived and went through this, I can do it too" kind of deal. The world of the NFL is so open through their advertising deals and their ability to inspire young boys to follow in these guys' footsteps. They know how to plug, and they know the audiences to target. It's simple, and it's incredibly effective. They've also adjusted their forms of marketing effectively over the past few years as well.
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I am pretty sure that this is more than enough proof that there are a couple of knockout punches stored in the NFL that could officially dethrone MLB's title of "America's game." While it may already be implied that football has already won the hearts of most Americans, it may also be a testament to how American culture has changed and what is the true appeal to the American people. When you think about it, it really isn't all-too-confusing. It makes a lot of sense.

What else do you think about this? Are there other reasons why football has become the face of the American sporting culture?

--AZ

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Art of The Sell

I figured it was time for something on a super light note that doesn't involve serious bouts of anger and fighting and exploding of blood vessels in the brain. Aww yeah, it's sportin' time.

The latest report in the soccer world includes Liverpool forward Luis Suarez receiving a ten-match ban. The reason for this was because he had bitten a Chelsea defender in the box during the match. Yes, this actually happened.

Video from SkyNews

I highly doubt the zombie apocalypse is upon us already, but this news story had me thinking of something--that is a really obvious and flagrant dirty play. There have been a lot of plays that were less serious that have gotten awkward foul calls upon them.

A few months ago on Facebook, I put this quick shot of my TV screen on my timeline. Why I didn't put this on The Sports Nut Blogs' Facebook page is beyond me.
The description I put with the picture read: "South American soccer referees have had to study high school theater for two reasons: to identify whether injuries are real or acting, and to master the art of taping the mic securely to your face."

It was a nice tape job, by the way. My high school musical directors would have been proud.

For many people who watch soccer (or football...the real football), you're bound to see a lot of one particular thing occurring in a game: flying bodies. Here's the kicker (oops) to the whole flying bodies phenomenon: a lot of it isn't real. Of course, we probably already knew that. Aside from that tidbit from Captain Obvious, let's get to the chase of my post, shall we?

(Quick note: I will be referring to the sport as 'soccer' for the sake of the confused Americans who don't follow the sport. You're welcome, guys.)

In the sport of basketball, you will often hear the term "drawing a foul," or hear the term "drawing a penalty" in American football. There is a certain art to it. Whether it's an offensive lineman attempting to draw a defensive lineman offside or a player in possession of a basketball attempting to draw the opposition into a full contact dribble, it is something that takes a lot of patience and bravery to attempt. It also doesn't look overly flamboyant and like it was done on purpose. That doesn't always seem to be the case in soccer, however.

Drawing fouls in soccer can be quite fun to watch, except when your team is on the opposing end of impressive theatrics. You see, since the gameplay is more fast-paced than sports such as American football and basketball, any quick movement can provoke a collision or freak injury. Soccer players are well aware of this fact. What will some of them do? Abuse the privilege, of course. Collisions are not uncommon during most challenges (I know this. Wanna know how I broke my wrist?), so even the most quickest of check or brush-by could send a player going the opposite way. A foul is usually called when this action looks intentional except in the rare case when it's an advantage play--when the ball ends up going to the team with the pre-tackle possession after the tackle occurs. Here's where things get interesting, when a collision occurs and the on-field official calls to "play on," you might catch yourself going, "Wait, what?" 

Now we get into the "art of the sell" in soccer.
You know when you watch professional wrestling and someone from the other room runs in yelling that it's fake and ruins the whole thing for you? That's pretty much what happens here. Even though you can be easily knocked off balance during a light collision, some athletes will overdo this knocking and fly off their feet like they're the Power Rangers or something. This action is referred to by most fans as "diving." When your team is being victimized by a queen diver, you could get extremely frustrated when it works. When it doesn't work, you have free reign to cackle at said queen diver. When a player dives, the following action will most normally be the landing and the grabbing of a body part such as an ankle, knee, or the head, depending on what the collision may have involved. I do laugh at their attempt to sell an injury or an alleged cramp because it's usually so over the top that I often think the players make bets in the tunnel to see how far they can go in selling before the referee threatens to hand them that actual injury himself.

Arguably the most infamous of divers in modern soccer is Mr. CR7 himself, Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo. While most women know him for his incredibly sculpted physique, men and anti-CR7 folk refer to him as the queen of diving. You can see why in this video here. [I didn't embed it on the blog because truthfully, I wouldn't say some of that stuff on here about a player.] If you watch some of the video, you can see how some of these dives are totally ridiculous and may actually be called as fouls. I'm serious. Not just his dives, but the dives and theatrics of other players. False falling like this blurs the line between fake and real collision and injury. Sometimes, when a player suffers an unfortunate cramp or strained muscle, they could be in so much pain where the rolling and yelling seems over-the-top because, well, it hurts. You almost feel bad for the referees because they have to do extra homework to determine who the diving culprits could be and what could actually pass as an actual injury. However, they aren't given much time to determine the difference due to the fast pace of the play on the pitch.

I'll give a good example of this: In the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup, Team USA was playing Team Brazil in a very close quarterfinal match. In various points of the game, both teams began diving to kill time and drain out the clock since the match was very physical and very important in advancing the tournament. A huge example of faking was when Brazilian player √Črika dropped on the pitch and began suffering an alleged back spasm after a play. After a period of time, she was taken off on a stretcher, and later left the stretcher off the pitch and began running around. This action ended up being a huge punishment, resulting in a yellow card, three additional minutes of stoppage time, and an eventual win for Team USA. Since the vantage point of the game was somewhere else, she was free to showboat a fake injury and attempt to change the course of the game. What if she didn't proceed to jump off that stretcher and continue onward? Things would have been much different and she would have gotten away with it.

Selling challenged plays are an interesting art in soccer. They can definitely change the course of the game, and it can be pure mental warfare when diving and overselling occurs and the officials bite on the bait. It can also be a great source of comedy when the officials are aware of the act. While it can be annoying at times, it's a vital part of the game. Sometimes you need ways to kill time and cut the flow of the play on the pitch. It is okay to disagree with this, as it could be seen as poor sportsmanship to some circles. Like I have said before, other sports have their forms of drawing fouls and penalties, and this is soccer's way of doing the same. It may be obnoxious and more blown-up than others, but it's theirs. 

One thing's for sure: it's better than biting someone in the arm.
Tasty.

--AZ

Thursday, April 18, 2013

It's All Fun and Games, Right?

I've been talking about anger and rage a lot on this blog lately. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not.

During last Thursday night's San Diego Padres/Los Angeles Dodgers game, a massive brawl broke out when Dodgers' pitcher Zack Greinke plunked batter Carlos Quentin with a pitch. Considering that this has been the third time Greinke has ever hit Quentin with a pitch, the air was hostile, and after a few words, Quentin charged the mound and the benches cleared. After all was said and done, the result was that Zack Greinke suffered a broken collarbone and would be sidelined for at least eight weeks. Due to his actions, Quentin received an eight-game suspension. Most players disagreed with this suspension, claiming that he had deserved much more than that, but apparently that's the way the cookie is going to crumble.
You can watch the throw-down HERE.

There's that saying that "it's all fun and games until someone pokes an eye out." I'm more than certain that these guys know their own strength, and displaying that strength in a situation like that can prove to be a really bad time. Quentin does seem apologetic about the matter; however, Greinke's teammates aren't so forgiving over this. There were teammates like Matt Kemp who would later go to the locker room and continue explosions of anger and disgust over the actions of the evening. A couple of ejections also occurred after the brawl. To say the least, it was rather ugly. While this wasn't as involved and as big of a brawl like the Canada/Mexico powwow from last month, it raises a pretty hairy question: Who governs these actions on the field? Are they justified?


I hear "charge the mound" and I think of this. Nothing happens. It's just funny.

The sport of baseball has been more or less a "self-governing sport," where it's placed upon the men of the sport to express self-control and judgment toward a call they express indifference toward. While it's often used as a scare tactic, there might actually be a reason that there is a lack of "law enforcement" when it comes to instances such as charging the mound and the occasional meltdown on the field (here's looking at you, Carlos Zambrano and Milton Bradley). Here's my theory: you can't exactly take away anger from a guy. That almost "cuts the flow," so to speak. When you are zoned in while playing a sport, there could be that adrenaline rush where you have to keep in tap with yourself and...for the lack of a better term, just do it. My reasoning behind this is that there will be a time in which you see the most laid-back player on the team even going out and defending their teammate in case if something may happen. Believe me, guys don't just do it, either. It's nowhere near as frequent in softball, but you will see these instances in other forms in the female counterpart. If you just so happen to take away these options from a player, he could just possibly implode on the inside.

Here's the part where you argue with me and say: "Well, Jackie Robinson got hit almost all the time and he never charged the mound! He's the better man!" Okay, don't get me wrong, he had the works of a saint, but there was a reason why he never did. Just think: he was the first black man to play in the Major League, and he not only got hit because of his color, but because of the possible repercussions he would get if he actually fought back. There was a pretty hefty chance he would have been sent back to the Negro Leagues if he ever acted on getting hit by a pitch. While he gained the respect of many people for what he did and it made him look like the better man, I feel rather bad that he was put in the position he was in and couldn't defend himself in the usual human fashion. Believe me, if someone thought it was funny to try and hit me with a pitch (and I won't lie, it flippin' hurts) I would try and respond to that in my own way. Well, charging the mound wouldn't be my first choice--let's get that out of the way now. Truthfully, I would do it by kicking the living snot out of them in my game play. He did just that too, and it worked to say the least.

In rebuttal, we also have to bring this fact up: stuff like this causes freak injuries. If you watch the footage of this rumble, you'll see that Quentin and Greinke tackled each other like they were two antelope bashing their heads together and experiencing a stalemate. While I'm not 100% sure that's how Greinke broke his collarbone, it's the most logical way he could have during the video. Sometimes doing the most natural of things will hurt you while doing the dumbest of things won't hurt you at all. It's life form of irony, really. All joking aside, the main argument against the self-government of baseball is that these instances can, in fact, cause these freak injuries and other rotten business that teams don't really feel like putting up with. Even though there's the saying that "rules were made to be broken," a couple of new regulations could keep men in line and keep them from getting those stupid injuries. It can also cut down on suspensions and fines as well. Is it going to make any of these athletes feel like less of a man? Probably not.  While I'll admit that there might be "unwritten rules" to begin with, it should still be mentioned that there are dangers and consequences to blind anger and defense of pride. Everything has a price, you know.

I guess you can't take away someone's pride, anger, and grudge when you're on the field, but there's a way to avoid any massive conflicts that may occur on the field. The natural instinct in me loves to see a fight every once in a while, but it's really not that fun anymore once someone gets seriously injured. I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who is like this, either. Charging the mound and the fights that ensue are almost like a ticking time bomb--you have no idea when they'll happen, but there's a chance that it's going to be ugly and bodies are going to be flying every which way. The game of baseball really is all fun and games until someone pokes an eye out, but you can't force a person to not feel dissent or overpowering regulations, ultimately watering down their adrenaline and grit in play.

It's enough to hurt someone's head. Or collarbone. Whatever.

--AZ

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Red Whines: When Intimidation Turns Into Scarring

After the "nappy-headed ho's" comment, they really couldn't afford something like this. Still I write. Rutgers is a college not too far from the homeland anyway. Not only do I think about coaching in this post, I'm thinking about the players too. They're going through some rotten business here, and I feel absolutely awful for them.

In the three years I've been writing in this blog, this is the second time I've read and watched a case like this happen. The first time was actually a local occurrence, but that's not the case I will be talking about tonight. Recently, news and footage came to light about Rutgers' basketball coach Mike Rice. In the footage, he reportedly physically and verbally abused players by throwing balls at them, shoving them, and using gay slurs, among other questionable actions. This morning, it was announced that Rice had been relieved of his duties at Rutgers, and while this case continues, other patrons in the athletic department will be put under the microscope as to whether they had the knowledge of these actions before this or not.

After the announcement, Rice spoke out about his firing and apologized for his actions. Although that may have been a good "mea culpa" of sorts, the damage has already been done. Of course, you people will say "He already did it. It doesn't matter that he's sorry," but at the same time, he's cutting to the chase and not waiting until there's a much more extensive investigation on the matter. While it was a smart idea to stop the bleeding, a whole new can of worms is going to open, and we're going to be questioning the practices of coaches in every sport in every facility all over the country.

I understand you want to thicken the skin of the men, but there's a difference between being a man inducing fear within his teammates and a man confusing this action with venting anger and frustration. Sure, we've seen this all before with the stuff that Bobby Knight allegedly did. With that said, wouldn't you think that coaches would think twice about controlling their emotions during practices and during team meetings?
That's attractive.
I guess not. From a female standpoint, being "macho" has to happen 24/7 for these kinds of guys. I could be wrong, but I'd rather have someone who can coach me and not want to kill me when I screw up.
I understand that there are numerous methods to enforce discipline and authority in a competitive environment. Think of it this way: The coach is like a father (or in some cases a mother) to the athletes on the squad. If you're going to lead them to the Promised Land, do you think any sort of abuse like this is going to strengthen them, or do you think that it's actually going to invoke a fear of failure in them? While those sorts of studies have been mainly focused on children, it can also be applied to young adults in an adverse way. If there is constant abuse, there may be a massive drop in team morale, and it can negatively reinforce and increase the pounding from the coach in question. You could also apply the argument that the same thing happens in an abusive relationship--the coach "might not always be like that and is a really cool person," but regardless of that, there are still a couple of screws loose in the head.

The main counterargument in this case is the need to add pressure to the athletes to help them succeed and help them tune out any noise affecting their game play. However, this line gets totally blurred once said line gets crossed. You have to ask yourself: "How much is too much?" What does it really take to enforce discipline and a toughening work ethic? I know you can't have a "Mr. Nice Guy" as a coach, but c'mon, this isn't the Spanish Inquisition. Doing something you love like sports shouldn't involve any kind of unnecessary torture that involves being called names and being attacked by someone trying to teach you. In fact, that would actually turn me off toward the sport. Issues with cliques and lack of ability aside, a negative reception from someone like a coach would actually wreck my liking of any kind of sport. It's almost as if you couldn't win at earning any sort of praise because it would get thrown out the window at the drop of a hat. This could be different for college student-athletes--I never progressed past junior varsity in high school--but I can tell you from experience that the coaches I had truly made a difference in how I played and the satisfaction I got from the way I played.

If I had to put up with an abusive coach, I would feel really horrible once the news gets out. Something like this can be considered a traumatic event; these instances definitely have to be tough to talk about to anyone, especially the media if that were to happen. Sure, people would want you to talk about these things, but that could also start a wildfire of speculation and a ton of unwarranted pain and scoping on you, your teammates, and maybe your friends and family. It's like a giant spider web being set on fire; regardless of where you fall in this web, you're getting some sort of attention whether you want it or not. And to put it lightly, it's going to suck. These events could lead to a lot of mental and emotional scarring on top of possible legal troubles that nobody has time for.

This could all start with one person making a lousy decision, people. All of this.
Remember Jerry Sandusky? It's not in the same category as this, but look at what happened to Penn State.
Exactly. One person can scar many people out of an extremely lousy decision and an extremely lousy temper.

Hopefully Rutgers can handle this case as swiftly as possible and the issues surrounding Mike Rice can be dealt with in a way that isn't sensationalized and blown out of proportion. There's a dark cloud over this school, but maybe they might have actually nipped something in the bud. Plus, they might have exposed underlying controversy involving coaching in other schools. This might actually be a more extensive problem than everyone else thought. Wouldn't you think so? I do. Coaching from this point forward will be under a close watch, and as rough as that sounds, it could possibly be for the best.

Sports psychiatry is a growing commodity in the world today. While it's mainly focused on the mental statuses of players, it could also work in the coaching realm too. Things like anger management and coach-to-player relationships could be a major topic to research and handle in the near future. Hey, you Sports Psychologists out there, get on this...and then you can give me a royalty check afterward. All of this stuff could be avoided; we would just need to figure out what makes these things happen and how these people causing the issue tick on the inside. I don't think that's too much to ask for.
Let's not cause any more scarring in athletes, the teams, the schools, and the people around them.

--AZ