Female Athletes and Body Image

Women involvement in sports has been criticized since way back when and unfortunately still is today. Another aspect of female sports that is quite unfortunate is its association with body image. There are many instances when female athletes are sexualized and simply seen as sexual figures rather than the dedicated athletes that they are. Women have been objectified for many, many years and just recently, there has been an uprise in controversy about feminism and objectifying women and things of that nature. Female sports are no different.

Often times, on sports magazines or even on sexual-related magazines, female athletes are posing practically nude, soaking wet, and looking as sexual as ever. I truly believe that many people choose to look at female athletes for their body and their looks rather than their performance on the field, court, ring or wherever they may perform. I think that this vision of female athletes needs to be gotten rid of but I do not see that happening any time soon. Images of women have always been used to sell different things and attract people’s attention to products and services. It’s even better if the woman posing for the photo happens to be a star soccer player, but people tend to ignore that fact and focus solely on her body image.

Women have been criticized and judged on their body image and only their body image for as long as we can remember. It is no different for female athletes, who are objectified and sexualized just as much as Victoria’s secret models. All too often, they are seen for only their body image and not their ability to perform extremely well in sports.

Sportsmanship Beyond the Game

When we think of sportsmanship, we often think of being kind and courteous to the other team, shaking hands with the opposing teammates at the end of a game, and refraining from any sort of mean or negative behavior directed towards the other team. The term sportsmanship has been around for a very long time but good sportsmanship shouldn’t just occur on the field or court. It takes place in many aspects of life, and that is why good sportsmanship should be prioritized in all sports.

In the article Sportsmanship: A Deeper Understanding and Its Importance Beyond Sports, three different things are said to be taught to athletes who practice good sportsmanship. These three things are respect, losing with dignity, and winning with humility.

Respect is taught to athletes who practice good sportsmanship because they learn to respect the authority of superior figures (coach) and respect the other team despite their opposing goals to beat each other. They also gain a sense of respect for themselves because of the dedication and discipline it takes to be an athlete.

Athletes learn to lose with dignity. This does mean that they are able to lose a game without being angry or upset and without throwing a fit. However, this goes beyond the game field. Athletes who are good sports will take that skill with them later on in life to their future jobs. If they disagree with someone on a particular subject or idea and the other person ends up prevailing or being right in the end, the ability to lose with dignity will enable that person to move on cooperatively without becoming upset over the loss.

Athletes learn to win with humility when they practice good sportsmanship. This, too, will prove to be a valuable skill later on in life. When this person has a job, he or she will contribute good, quality ideas and strategies to the workplace that are better than the suggestions of other workers. Instead of bragging about it to the other workers, a good sport will help the other workers to see his or her point of view and will help them adjust to the new idea.

Sportsmanship is a style and an attitude.

Resources

http://kidshealth.org/en/teens/sportsmanship.html

http://www.decaturparks.com/sportsmanship-a-deeper-understanding.php

Now Please Remain Seated for the National Anthem?

We’ve all heard the sport announcer say “Now please rise for the playing of our national anthem”. The national anthem, the song of our country, is played before every sport match or event across the country, no matter if it’s a high school basketball game being played in a tiny Nebraska town or an NFL football game being played in the big city of Seattle. The national anthem has been a highly iconic symbol of our country ever since it was first written. Because the national anthem has such a great meaning to our country, it should be required to stand for the playing of our country’s song, right? Not necessarily.

When San Francisco 49er’s quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, refused to stand for the playing of the national anthem at the NFL game, it spiked some serious controversy about whether or not standing for the national anthem is truly a respectful thing to do. If it were me personally, I would be standing for the playing of the national anthem every time, no matter what. I respect our country and everything out country has done for us. According to the comparison article, Refusing to Stand for the National Anthem: Top 3 Pros and Cons, Barack Obama even said that the quarterback was “exercising his constitutional right to make a statement. I think there’s a long history of sports figures doing so.” So even according to the Constitution, it is not required to stand for the playing of the national anthem. Kaepernick was trying to make a statement and disagreed with all of the hate and racism that was occurring in the United States at that time. Not standing for the national anthem was definitely an effective way to make a statement that could be heard around the country, however, in my opinion, I feel that the national anthem and our country should be respected and shown that respect by taking a stand. The article “This is why you stand for the National Anthem” has some great points as to why athletes should stand for the national anthem and provides a basis of my opinion on why I, personally, will always stand for the national anthem.

NCAA Drug Testing Policy

The NCAA has established some very specific drug testing policies for its athletes. These drug testing policies can be found here in the complete NCAA Drug Testing Program Booklet. In my opinion, the majority of the rules and drug testing procedures that the NCAA has in place are very satisfactory.

One area of controversy is that street drugs should not be on the list of drugs banned by the NCAA. If street drugs were taken off of the list of banned drugs, NCAA athletes may be more inclined to use them. In this case, it would be completely the decision of the athlete to use drugs that have a very high likelihood of having a negative affect on his or her athletic performance and more importantly, his or her overall health and well-being. What I am saying here, is that I think it is a good thing to have street drugs on the list of banned drugs because it is an effort to try and keep the athletes safe and healthy.

One aspect of the NCAA banned drug list that I do not like, however, is that the list of banned drugs is listed by class, not by specific drug. The list of drug classes that are banned can be found here on the NCAA banned drugs poster. In my opinion, this leaves leeway for error or mistakes to be made by coaches, athletes, and athletic directors because there is a lack of specific drugs listed. I think that there should be a complete list of drugs, chemicals, and substances that are banned by the NCAA rather than just a list of classes of drugs. I realize that this would require a significant amount of effort, however, I think it would clarify the banned drugs much better.

http://www.ncaa.org/sites/default/files/2016SSI_DrugTestingProgramBooklet_20160728.pdf

http://www.ncaa.org/sites/default/files/3.%20Banned%20Drugs%20Poster.pdf

Participation Trophies: Self-esteem Boosters or Motivation Killers?

In today’s world of youth sports, participation trophies are awarded to young athletes more often than not, it seems. No matter if the kids won or lost the season or even a single game, the same golden trophies are awarded to each and every child. In some cases, even the children who showed up to just one practice or even not at all receive a trophy.

Parents and coaches who support giving out participation trophies to young athletes say that they want the kids to feel “special”. They say that each child deserves the trophy for simply working as part of the team and finishing the season. Every kid should be a winner. According to Ashley Merryman, in her article titled Forget the Trophies, Let Kids Know it’s OK to Lose, participation trophies are giving kids the total wrong message. It is telling them losing is so horrible that it just can’t happen. Parents and coaches may not want to hurt kids feelings, but in my opinion, they need to look at the bigger picture.

If kids are awarded participation trophies all throughout their childhood, think of how their mindset will be later on in their high school, college, and adult lives. They will think that simply showing up and putting in some sort of effort entitles them to some kind of award. Kids need to know that losing is OK. Losing and making mistakes is what builds you up and enables you to improve and really succeed, not only as an athlete, but as a student, employee, and many other areas. Youth sports are something where kids develop work ethic, teamwork skills, character, and determination. That all is taken away if participation trophies take the stage. Life doesn’t just hand out awards for trying, and so neither should youth sports.

Reference Articles:

http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2016/10/06/should-every-young-athlete-get-a-trophy/forget-trophies-let-kids-know-its-ok-to-lose

http://www.mercurynews.com/2015/09/25/should-kids-in-sports-get-trophies-for-just-participating/

Let’s Get Sporty

Chadron State College has various NCAA and intramural sports to get involved in. Students enjoy the competition of Division II sports such as football, girls volleyball, softball, wrestling, girls and boys basketball, girls golf, and girls and boys cross country. Chadron State also has many sports clubs and intramural sports for athletes who love the sport but don’t necessarily want to get involved in the high-end competition of NCAA sports. Just to name a few, CSC offers rodeo, intramural flag football, basketball, and many others.

If CSC were to add another NCAA sport, there are many factors that would play into the final decision of what sport to add. These factors include revenue, cost effectiveness, popularity, and available equipment and facilities. In my opinion, there are many options for what CSC could consider as a new sport to add. The best ones to consider would be tennis, baseball, or soccer. I based these “best” options on the consideration factors I mentioned earlier.

Tennis could be added as a girls’ and boys’ sport. Chadron already has three tennis courts that could be used for practice. The only problem with those three tennis courts is that they do not provide an area for spectators to watch a tennis match. This would deter fans from coming and watching if Chadron were to host a competition, thus decreasing revenue significantly. The cost effectiveness of tennis, though, would be satisfactory because the tennis players would purchase their own rackets. The college would just need to buy the uniforms.

Baseball would be added as a boys’ sport. Baseball would attract many spectators and thus bringing in a good amount of revenue. However, the cost of adding baseball would be quite expensive because the college would need to build a baseball facility and and would need to buy uniforms. The baseball facility would be quite expensive, which makes the cost effectiveness less than desirable.

Soccer would be a great addition to the sports offered by CSC because it is cost effective, popular, and it doesn’t require extensive facilities. CSC already has many adequate fields that could be used for soccer practice and competitions. The only thing that would need to be added is more bleachers for spectators to sit during competitions. CSC would also need to add goal nets, but those are fairly inexpensive. Soccer is already a popular sport here at CSC with many students getting involved in the soccer club. Soccer would also bring in a solid amount of spectators and therefore bring in a solid amount of revenue.

http://www.csc.edu/athletics/

 

Gambling on the Future of Fantasy Sports

There has been some recent controversy on whether fantasy sports, specifically the daily kind, should be made illegal. Many people are saying that DFS fall under the gambling category. Millions of sports fans participate in the billion dollar industry that is dominated by DraftKings and FanDuel. The fans want to keep their fantasy sports alive. Law experts say otherwise.

In my opinion, fantasy sports have, in a way, gone under the radar for quite some time. There was a law passed in 2006 called the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA). This law prohibits gambling businesses from accepting electronic payments in connection with a bet or wager. Fantasy sports are excused from this law if they meet certain criteria. These criteria are

  1. Payouts are made clear to users before the game takes place, and the number of users does not determine the payout.
  2. Winning reflects “the relative knowledge and skill of the participants and are determined predominantly” by the accumulated statistics of individuals across multiple sporting events.
  3. Users cannot win prizes as a result of the performance of a team as a whole (say, the entire San Diego Chargers), the outcome of a game, or the performance of a “single” individual athlete.

Daily fantasy sports do NOT rely solely on the skill or knowledge of the participants. There is a great degree of chance involved in the game, as well. Because chance has a huge play in fantasy sports and money os involved, it is gambling. Therefore, DFS do not elude these 3 criteria.

In my opinion, fantasy sports should be perfectly legal, but only in states where gambling is legal. Since fantasy sports involve the betting of money and a great deal of chance, not all skill, they definitely count as gambling. Therefore, only states that legally allow gambling should allow DFS to be played.

My resources

http://www.sbnation.com/2015/11/24/9791608/draftkings-fanduel-daily-fantasy-sports-lawsuit-new-york-internet-gambling

http://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2015/10/economist-explains-11

NBA & NFL College Requirement

In my opinion, college should not be a requirement for athletes to be drafted into the NFL or NBA. There are two main reasons why I believe this. The first reason is because I do not think that athletes who clearly have a career made in professional sports, whether it be in the NBA or NFL, should have to waste money on a college education that they will not use. Athletes who are destined for a career in professional sports should not be required to go take classes they don’t want to take or spend money on classes they won’t need later on in life. Then comes the argument about making money later on in life if the athlete decides to end his career with the NBA or NFL. If that athletes makes a smart decision with his money, he will have plenty of retirement money set up to live on. Professional athletes make more money in one year than many of us will ever make in our entire lives. Kobe Bryant’s rookie contract was worth $3.5 million. That in itself is enough money to live off of and to start a solid retirement fund.

The second big reasons why I believe that college should not be a requirement for NBA or NFL destined athletes is because the risk of suffering an injury that could end an athlete’s career is just too high. Take Tyrone Protho, former Alabama wide receiver, for example. He was destined to make a career in the NFL but while playing a game against the Florida Gators, he suffered a horrific leg injury that ended his career right then an there, before it even really started. Imagine how successful he would have been if he could have avoided that situation completely and gone straight onto the NFL. Yes, there is definitely the possibility of getting injured in a professional game, too, but then the athletes are already getting paid and have established their career. Playing in college presents way too high of a risk of getting injured before a great athlete’s career can ever really start.

http://www.latimes.com/sports/lakers/la-sp-kobe-bryant-earnings-20131126-story.html

http://www.outkickthecoverage.com/why-do-football-and-basketball-players-have-to-go-to-college-061214

 

There’s No Place for PED Users in the Baseball Hall of Fame

Performance enhancing drugs have been around for quite some time and they have definitely made their mark on the world of sports, baseball being one of them. When it comes to the Hall of Fame, however, in my opinion, the Hall of Fame should be unmarred by players who chose to use performance enhancing drugs.Yes, there are players currently in the Hall of Fame who have used PEDs. But, there are currently players who have been nominated to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, but they are being held back from officially being inducted for the reason of PED use.

This brings me to my first argument. PEDs were not as serious of a deal back in the day. Today, they have become much more prominent of an issue and the ban is being enforced much more heavily. Random urine tests doubled in the 2014 season and punishments for positive tests results have become more severe.  Because the anti-doping agencies are becoming more serious about the issue, I believe the Hall of Fame should, too.

I also believe that PED users should not be inducted into the Hall of Fame because whether they like it or not, they serve as role models for our nations youth and aspiring athletes. Our nations young athletes look up to professional players and want to be them some day.  How horrible would  it be for these young athletes to look up to someone who got inducted into the Hall of Fame but is a user of PEDs? In other words, look up to someone who cheated and got inducted. We don’t want our athletes of the future to think it’s a good thing to cheat and make it big time.

My sources:

MLB, MLBPA announce stronger testing, harsher penalties for PEDs

http://www.usnews.com/opinion/articles/2009/07/21/baseball-great-jim-bunning-steroid-users-have-no-place-in-hall-of-fame

Is Cheerleading a Sport?

Cheerleading has been around for as long as we can remember.  Girls in skirts kicking and cheering on the sideline and throwing their flashy pom poms around has been a popular spectacle at sporting events all over the world.

Today, there are serious controversies about whether cheerleading, itself, is actually a sport or not.  In my opinion, it depends.  There are different kinds of cheerleading that exist today.  There is the kind of cheerleading where the girls (and guys) stand on the sideline of a football game and do a few kicks and yell cheers and chants at the crowd of fans.  This is typical at high school sporting events and some college sporting events.  This type of cheerleading is most definitely not a sport.  It requires no athletic ability, no skill, no physical exertion, and there is no competitive edge.

On the other hand, there is what we call competitive cheerleading.  This is the type of cheerleading where the girls (and guys) perform feats of athletic skill and ability.  Stunts, tumbles, leaps and things of that nature make up their routine.  These routines are judged by difficulty and are timed and evaluated.  There is competition among different cheer groups.  According to an article titled “Being a Cheerleader-Is Cheerleading a Sport?”, the Women’s Sports Foundation has decided that elements such as physical activity, competition, rules and regulations, and some sort of comparison of skills makes up a sport.  Competitive cheerleading meets all of these qualifications.  I will also argue that cheerleading has different “positions” just as a football team or basketball team does.  There are bases, flyers, and other positions that must have certain skills and abilities to be able to contribute to the team’s success.  This is supported by the article titled “Cheerleading is a Sport”.

After researching different definitions of sport and the actual event that is competitive cheerleading, I will argue that competitive cheerleading is most definitely a sport while typical sideline cheerleading is not.

My sources can be found at these links:

https://www.varsity.com/event/1262/being-a-cheerleader-sport

http://www.teenink.com/nonfiction/sports/article/15172/Cheerleading-is-a-Sport/