Let’s leave these toxic traits behind when we welcome sports back
Sports is an essential part of our lives. The threat of the coronavirus has abruptly thrown us into the unfamiliar landscape of a sports-less world.
The excitement of an overtime game, the tension of adjusting your fantasy lineup, and the overall adrenaline rush were suddenly taken away and it has left an empty hole in everyone.
It has been a month since we entered the lockdown. Despite losing the thrill of sports, it opened the opportunity for me to clear some headspace on what I don’t miss about it – the snooty gatekeeping, the crass trash talk, and the pretentious moral act.
My sport not yours
People have every right to enjoy sports. It doesn’t matter if you’re as good as Ronaldo or as fabulous as Roger Federer on the court. If you enjoy it, then nobody should take it away from you.
Gatekeeping through sports is evident in those who look down on people, as they do not carry the same fervor as them. It’s subtly hidden in phrases that insinuate that one’s ability to enjoy sports is rooted in one’s skill level or knowledge in obscure tidbits.
In short, these are those who pop a vein for the sake of exposing a "bandwagon" fan.
The absence of sports has made me realize that people have no business in dictating what they should enjoy. People do what they want and we are in no position to degrade them for the willingness to try something out.
Being passionate is good because it means you care about the sport. But if that passion is used to belittle those who don’t share the same intensity as you, then that’s when you become inconsiderate.
That mindset hinders the growth of any community and if we can move on from that then it’ll better for all of us.
Crossing the line beyond trash talk
Trash talk is also expected when people and their supporters get competitive. Beating your rival is fun and rubbing it to their face adds an amusing twist to it. Nothing compares to having your favorite team run their biggest foes to the ground as it prompts you to share a soliloquy on social media about how great your squad performed.
It’s fantastic to see how creative people are in their trash talk game, but it can honestly get out of hand. It’ll be reckless to single out a group but these people are everywhere.
A perfect example is found in the UAAP and NCAA context in the Philippines.
Perhaps if you have a Facebook group for your school alumni, then open your eyes to how the members interact with one another. It’s okay to bask in your glory days, but it’s time to be self-aware when one is going overboard.
It’s disappointing to see how the older people take charge in these racist, homophobic, and misogynist behavior. Not all groups are like this, but it will be irresponsible to turn a blind eye when it happens.
Those who justify these as tradition fail to see how it’s raising a new generation of normalized oppressive behavior.
Trash talk is fair game but attacks on people are not. The "bawal pikon" mentality should also come with a "bawal kupal" stipulation to it.
When this lockdown is all said and done, let’s continue the banter but let’s be prudent when we do so.
A false image
Speaking of trash talk, I also don’t miss those who can’t take what they dish out. Fans can get rowdy, foul, and disrespectful. We should call them out when they cross the line, but it’s not an excuse to replicate their behavior.
I’ve sat in different sections of the Araneta Coliseum and I’ve heard the vilest yet unnecessary remarks for the sake of a basketball game. It can get bad but seeing what happens online is worse – we play the victim card but endorse the same behavior we fight against.
We’re sometimes the first to hurl an insult to our foes but we’re also the first to get offended when it’s smacked right back to us.
We’re not above anyone in this situation as each side has contributed to these toxic traits. The lack of self-awareness poses a danger for us to repeat a cycle of hate and moral pretentiousness. A quick stroll in your nostalgia-masked alumni Facebook page during the peak of the season can unearth this behavior.
These are just some of the things I don’t miss and will be glad to see it left behind. But the reality is that it’s hard to make an abrupt change like that.
It’s not something done overnight or even 3 to 6 months.
But what’s important now is how we handle our lives to work together during this health crisis. During this rapidly evolving time of the global pandemic, we must apply everything we have learned in sports into action.
Despite our troublesome behavior, the most important lesson sports has taught us is how to rise above these.
Sports has taught us the values of teamwork and camaraderie and this should be practiced as we support our frontliners who are fighting the battle against COVID-19. – Rappler.com