Monday, March 5, 2007

"A Time Honored Tradition"

A Fox News Story Reports: “In New York State, Mepham High School's football season was canceled this year before it even began. Three players were charged with sexually brutalizing younger teammates with a stick, pine cones and golf balls over the summer at a Pennsylvania training camp...” Hazing has become a right of passage for many new athletes at all the levels from high school all the way up to the professional level. Everything from trash, to broomsticks, to being tied to a goal post is all parts of hazing. So what is hazing? According to the Sport Journal, “…hazing is a broad term encompassing any action or activity which does not contribute to the positive development of a person; which inflicts or intends to cause physical or mental harm or anxieties; which may demean, degrade or disgrace any person regardless of location, intent or consent of participants…any action or situation which intentionally or unintentionally endangers a student for admission into or affiliation with any student organization.” Hazing is seen in th owrld of sports as a way to help build a relationship with the new team members when it in fact causes a divided team. We have had incidents where athletes have been physically harmed and mentally harmed and in some severe cases deaths have occurred.

Hazing is seen at all levels of athletics but it has been seen as more at the college athletic level then any other level of sports. Hazing has been around for many years. Each year numerous athletes are being introduced to this “time honored tradition” of hazing. A study conducted by ESPN found that almost 80% of all athletes have undergone some type of hazing and only 7% of these cases were reported. Why such the low number of reported cases? Many feel embarrassed to come out and talk about the things that were done to them, there is also a fear that there teammates will retaliate. Hazing has been shown to have severe emotional effects on the athlete. Loss of self-esteem, friendship, and trust are just a few of the consequences, as well as a loss in team unity. There have been numerous cases and arrests of teams taking these jokes or traditions to far and while there have been numerous reports of hazing in schools many coaches and athletic directors deny any cases of this going on in athletic programs.

Due to the increasing numbers of hazing cases throughout the years, many organizations and rules have been formed to help stop hazing in athletics. One of these organizations is the Mothers Against School Hazing which is extremely concerned with stopping hazing in schools. They are also involved in dealing with the effects that it plays on not just the athlete, but also students who are victims of hazing from athletics to fraternities and sororities and all other levels where it occurs. Many organizations have banned hazing in there sport. The NCAA banned hazing as well as most professional sports organizations.

Many of us who have played sports, or even joined a fraternity or sorority have been a victim to hazing. Many people become permanently scared and emotionally hurt. Hazing creates enemies instead of building friendships. Howdoes humiliating someone, make them want to join a team or organization? How does physically abusing somebody make them feel welcome into a new community?Athletics are supposed to be fun and hazing takes away the fun. There have been too many lines crossed and people have died and for the reason that people are dieing it needs to be completely abolished.

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