Bullying in Sports Needs to Be Taken More Seriously

Posted in english class
on April 10, 2018

Throughout the United States, bullying is a major issue that many individuals struggle with on a daily basis.  Bullying takes place in areas that have little to no adult supervision such as: cafeterias, playgrounds, and especially at sports related functions. At athletic functions held by schools, children many times are not as supervised as they would be in a classroom setting. However, children who are bullying others think that they are able to pick on others without being seen in areas such as athletic functions while on the field. Athletic teams that spend hours at a time each day of the week tend to bicker due to the amount of time spent together. Once the bickering begins, people tend to think that they can get away with picking on others. Although bullying can take place easily at sports related functions, teammates and opponents should encourage each other rather than putting each other down by resorting to bullying due to an effect on social interaction, and athletes being mentally and physically affected. Many effects of bullying play a role on athletes.

The effects of bullying on an athlete causes a decrease in athletic ability due to teammates bringing down the individual. Picking on someone or being verbally and physically abusive to someone causes a constant issue in their lives. Many times, depression is the main result of chronic bullying which causes a lack in interests an individual generally has. Therefore, as athletes constantly pick on other participants on the team, the athlete tends to lose interest in participating or displays a lack in athletic abilities. As a participant or a coach of a team, one should support in an encouraging way rather than in a negative or “tough” manner. “Some might not think bullying is a big deal. They may even want to bury their heads in the sand calling it “tough love” instead of bullying when it comes from coaches or decry that we are “raising a nation of wimps if they can’t take a little heat on the field” when it comes from peers. The truth is, bullying gets in the way of essential life skills and bullying tactics don’t help build better futures” (Sills-Trausch). “Tough” coaching generally effects athletes, but they keep it to themselves because they think it is normal. Bullying in practice or even during games or matches is generally ignored or bypasses due to circumstances. Bullying only causes issues and does not allow an athlete to grow to their fullest potential, instead it causes a decrease in interest throughout their athletic career in which they put forth a lot of effort into what they do.

Student athletes generally dedicate themselves during the night and during the day in order to do what they love. However, the physical and verbal abuse that takes place in today’s society also affects the social interaction of the athletes participating in the sport. The longer chronic bullying occurs, the more the individual lacks in social interaction. Sports allow children to accumulate discipline, self-esteem, and creative thinking. hHowever, bullying causes a decrease in everything that sports have to offer for an individual to learn. “Team sports are great unifying activities in most cultures. Sports bring young kids out of their shells, teach them discipline, enhance creative thinking, introduce them to new people from all walks of life, build self-esteem and demonstrate how to work in a team setting- all in the name of something fun and healthy… If players in college see that bullying is okay in the big leagues, what prevents this type of abuse from trickling down into high school, middle school or even little league sports?” (Sills-Trausch). Some might think that bullying isn’t that big of a deal. However, people don’t realize the internal consequences that play a role on an athlete’s potential and performance. Also, according to childhelp.org, forty to fifty percent of athletes have experienced either mild or severe amounts of abuse during a sports involvement. Bullying occurs more than we know in the athletics we allow children to dedicate all of their time to. Bullying not only takes place by name calling, but it also takes place in a coaching form.

Throughout a student athletes career, athletes should be pushed to be their best and to their fullest potential. However, some athletes and coaches misunderstand the term “push” referring to the assistance of a knowledgeable individual to further progress athletic skills. In an athletic environment, athletes are extremely competitive and are compared to one another. Many time, coaches will refer to male athletes as “wimps” or a “wuss” due to their lack of ability to catch a pass or them not being able to do something that others can for example. Most would say name calling in football or in any other sport is just the ways boys are and that it’s just how boy talk to one another in a sports environment. However, the name calling even as a joke affects individuals and their ability to perform a skill or to even try a skill and affects their self-esteem. “Is it just “boys being boys” when you call someone a “wuss” if they didn’t catch a pass because they were afraid of the middle linebacker? What about telling a less physically imposing or less masculine teammate they are acting like a “pansy”” (Sills-Trausch) Males are tough, but are still affected by the things people say about them and the way they are treated. Teammates should not treat each other in a bad way, because it could cause the team to fail as a result of bullying each other and causing a lack in athletic ability. Yes, it may be easy to pick on one another in a sports related game or function, but it only causes more damage than good. Bullying in a sports environment will not allow for progress or potential; it will only allow for failure and low self-esteem.

Bullying continues to take place in sports, affecting athletic ability as well as mental and social interaction. As a student athlete, I have seen situations in which athlete’s lack in their athletics due to the things other say about them in a sports related manner causing a decrease in their social interaction with other athletes. In the future adult supervision and coach encouragement rather than hurtful remarks would allow for an athlete to progress without a lack in interaction and athletic ability which would increase the team’s performance as a whole. Bullying is something that people don’t take seriously; but, should be worked on. Bullying in sports only causes issues and is something that occurs around the United States. Athletes would not only thrive, but would enjoy participating in sports a lot more if bullying did not occur.

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