Should sports initiations be banned?
The BBC recently ran a story regarding University sports clubs initiation ceremonies. These initiations involved behaviour perceived to be unacceptable in our current society, that included drinking alcohol to excess, vomiting, humiliating acts and bullying.
Are sports initiations necessarily a bad thing that have little to do with its associated sport, or does it provide a valuable social function in terms of group bonding and belonging? Essentially, should sports initiations be banned?
You can also add to the debate by leaving a comment at the end of the page.
Encourages binge drinking and bullying
The sports initiation should be banned because they encourage the "binge drinking" culture that is already becoming widely popular with young people, especially university students. The initiations or even just a general night out to celebrate a match win strongly emphasise this through having the quantity of what one person can drink as the main focus of the evening. Generally this is done through peer pressure and makes younger students feel inadequete if they don't live up the older students' expectations or demands. Not only this but this type of drinking to excess, as we all know, can lead to serious health consequences, in past cases-even death.
Some would say that this form of peer pressure is bullying and intrusive on other's feelings and beliefs. This type of behaviour could have a detremental effect on the sports club as it could put off potentially really good players joining the sports team all together as fear that they will be forced to act in a way that they disagree with or that they feel would make them become less dignified.
Not only this but this type of behaviour, although traditional and with an original positive purpose of building team cohesion and morale actually is destroying teams, tearing them apart. Therefore, no matter how well a sports team may be performing in competitive events, they ruin their reputation and that of the institution they are representing during these "team building exercises!"
Sports initiations are a large part of university life and in order so survive in a sporting club soial circle it is genrally seen to be a good idea to complete an initiation ceremony in order to gain respect. they can be both a fun challenge for freshers and something new that a lot of people havent done before. It is also fun to have to participate in an initiation to get into the particular club. In personal experiance of socials so far; everyone has had the opportunity to say no to drinking or even attending.
Although initiations can sometimes be taken too far e.g. the rescent news headlines, this is not a typical ceremony. It is not that harsh for every team as the majority of captains are more responsible than that!! In conclusion these initiation ceremonies should not be banned because they encourage team bonding outside of training, they can be fun and entertaining for all and not just for the older years and you do have the opportunity to say no so why should they be banned if they are done in a safe area and within reason?
The Dangers of Drinking Excessively!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It is acceptable for a sports team to have somekind of initiation where the freshers or new players have to meet a challenge set by the third years. However, when this challenge reaches the level of parading through the public in broad daylight dressed as Nazi officers commanding freshers dressed as Jews to drink on demand until they vomit, the line has been crossed. University initiations are no stranger to the news headlines, in recent years there have been a reported three deaths and several others linked with initaitions. This can be due to the pressure or even force put on the first years to drink well above their acceptable amount. This can lead to serious health problems or even in some cases death.
Although there is another point stressing the similar opinion that I am about to make, I just want to make it clear that, it is the student's choice. The initiation ceremonies do not physically force/harm the freshers- if they did, that is criminal and the ceremonies would certainly be illegal by now, but what ever happened to people doing their own thing? There have been several news articles on this subject, and all have students complaining that they felt ashamed and forced to drink. Be an individual and stand up for what you believe in. Do not drink too much otherwise it will have disastrous consequences. We all know this. People choose to behave badly and thus have to accept the consequences of their actions.
Offending other people
Sports iniations; When being initiated into a sports society/team, initiations are supposedly tradtional. These initiations can appear to be rather rash and not thought through, especially if they are taking place in the community. People who parade themselves as a Nazi officer forcing students to drink more and more shows a clear lack of insight into what the public may think of the particular institution in question. And how they will react.
Taking this into account having an initiation ceremony can be a fun time and a chance to get to know new people, and make new friends. However, somewhere there has to be a line. The students in question should think about the consequences of their actions next time. I think this calls for a supervised running of initiation ceremonies by all universities throughout the country.
Also a supervised running of initiation ceremonies will put a stop to people drinking to the point where they end up dead or in hospital. Hopefully this will allow people to carry on these so called traditions without offending other people.
It gives negative reputation to students/sports teams
The exessive drinking involved in these activities shows the teams in a bad light and may lead to the positive aspects of the team being forgotten. The poor reputation gained from these occasions may also lead to that team or others finding it difficult to find places to have socials in the future. The reputation of the initiations may also lead to all students gaining a poor reputation which may well not be deserved.
Alternatively the freshers in particular and other students find themselves attracted to the teams for what they offer- for example, if you love hockey and there is a hockey team on offer to join, you will join it. A lot of people find the initiations beneficial to get to socialise with other members of the team and really good fun. Some students may care about the reputations of the teams, but a lot of students who get into the drinking too much mentality and suffer through these initiations are not likely to.
Involves peer pressure
I feel that sports initiations at universities can sometimes become too extreme and lead to problems such as giving the institution a bad name, offending external others for example the general public and putting new players off joining a sports club which affects the teams performance in the long run. Although it is the individuals choice to become involved, freshers tend to be bullied into drinking games as they do not want to stand up and refuse to take part. When you are new to an institution, the older students like to gain respect from you. However, i do think that on some occasions they should take a step back and if they see anything becoming out of control they should take more responsiblity.
In conclusion, i do not think people should be peer pressured into taking part in anything. It is down to the individual as to whether they take part as some people have joined the team to become a successful performer and support the university, not just for the social side! Initiations should take place in a safe environment, be fun and challenging but at the same time should be controlled so that people enjoy the time and are not ill!
Then clearly have the student initiations but make sure that they are regulated and controlled. Even if it is by a member of staff.
Because people have died...
I'm not saying that there is a huge rate of fatality exists, but there have been a handful of tragic deaths and in my opinion there is not one thing that a jockish, machismo night out can ever offer that will make up for that.
It is the individual's choice to drink excessively, whether they are pressured or not. Fatality is horrible and there will be no forgetting that, but it was not the initiation that killed those poor people it was their lack of self-control and ability to say "no, I have had enough, and if you do not like that and laugh at me and be horrible then fair enough, but I do not need you to have a good time" and then join another society or meet with better, and like-minded people.
It is a long running tradition.
It is important that traditions are kept running as they are a key part of our culture, this may not be such a key tradition but in my view it is still important that it is kept going.
I agree that tradition can be a good thing because it acts as part of our culture as students. However like you have said it may not be such a key tradition. So if it isnt that important then why keep it going if people have died in the past, and people are being degraded? Surely not just for the sake of tradition.
Although initiations can appear to be a form of bullying it is not compulsory as students have a choice to take part. Some sports clubs are more forceful than others but most state that students do not have to do anything they don't want to and can understand that some people join for the sport and not solely for the social side.
In some sports, this can be deemed as a valid point, however in others if students do not take part in their respective initiation then they will be never picked for the team. For some people this is an impossible scenario to believe. They love their sport so much, that they force themselves to drink to ensure a place on the team. Men's rugby and and men's football teams do not allow students just to join the team just for the 'sport side,' they have to participate in the 'social side' as well, this can unfortunately lead to health risks and consequently in some rare cases deaths.
sports initiations are a way of getting to know your team members outside of sporting situations. This in turn helps give confidance in being part of the team improving game play and friendships. Initiations also give people the opportunity to gain respect from team members.
If i were to join a sports team i would be very happy if that were the case. I think it would be completely acceptable to have an initiation to build friendships and respect to strengthen team chemistry. However as a bloke whos wants to play rugby, if i am told that i wont be selected to play in the team if i don't put a bag on my head and take orders from a ' Nazi officer ', i feel i have only one choice. Just don't join the team. And because of that reason i wish they would ban such initiations so that i can play the sport i love whilst at uni.
Builds team cohesion
Sports intiations should NOT be banned as they bring the team together and allows fellow team mates to get to know eachother's characters on and off the pitch.
Rather than making the new team members feel inadequete, it can help to give confidence to those characters who are generally shy when meeting new people. For example, after a night out with the squad, the next time they meet to train, everyone will have common topics to discuss in conversation and therefore act as an ice breaker in awkward situations, making the new team member feel more at ease/relaxed and as though they can be themselves with the rest of the team. Surely this is a good thing!
The team members are not forced to drink, as they have freedom of choice and can always say no. Very often these people who stand up for themselves and although will join in and enjoy the night, will also know their limit, often gain more respect than those who are dictated to and follow the crowd. In the future, the newer students will soon become friends with the older ones as the team grows closer together and bonds, therefore these people would be looking out for their future mates rather than stitching them up.
You are right, people have the choice whether to drink or not. But this choice is not a practical one. If you go out and most people are drinking whilst you remain sober, you are not going to feel part of a team; in fact you would feel alienated.
Alcohol causes people to get rowdy, and a group of people getting rowdy can only lea to one thing, arguments. These arguments could occur against another group, or even within the group; in which case the purpose of team building would be defeated.
Why can initiations not be based around a food meal, a proper chance to sit down and talk to each other? If people remain sober they will all get to know their true selves and not the drunken idiot that appears by night.
What do you think?