September 4, 2016

You might want to brush up on your Latin

I think it was football that started this whole silly sports equals war thing. To be fair, football is the sport that's run most like a military company. All the same, it's not even close.

Which most fans kind of hate, actually. Most of us collectively roll our eyes whenever some coach or athlete starts using military terminology when talking about the game they're involved in. It makes them look like they have such an inflated notion of where they see themselves and the job that they do in the grand scheme of things.

The fact of the matter is, athletes are gladiators, not soldier or a warrior. They're paid to entertain the masses through competition. Soldiers are paid to risk their lives in a literal battlefield, where they might not come home in one piece or at all as a matter of national or international security.

Now, admittedly "preparing for gladiatorial combat" may not have that same romantic connotations as "preparing for war", but at least it's a lot more accurate. You're going out into an arena with fans cheering - a field of play of some kind - and not a battlefield. Think the Roman Coliseum rather than being stuck in a trench somewhere.

I've worked with people who have literally gone to war. They've been shot at, seen fellow soldiers die, and have killed people on the opposing side. And they're often patronizing of those athletes and coaches that talk about a game being some kind of a military battle. For good reason, since they've actually lived that, while sports tends to romanticize it.

You do get the small number of fans who love the whole comparison of sport being war, though. They tend to be the types who romanticize the military, though. They're typically the ones who would love to be a soldier, but don't have the courage to actually sign up for it.

Regardless, overhauling sports terminology has been long overdue. And not just when it comes to military stuff, either, but that's still a part of it. Just because veterans say things doesn't mean a younger guy coming into the league has to say the same things. It's be nice if thought for themselves, for once, and did what they think is right instead of mindlessly doing what everyone else is doing just to fit in.

They don't have to all think alike or even like each other in order to play well together. They just have to know what everyone else is doing and where they fit into the system. Why every team has to be some kind of group-think commune thing has never made any sense to me. If they're all professionals, then why can't they work in a professional environment instead of essentially being brainwashed to conform?

But perhaps that's a blog for another time - how the very idea of "team" is outdated and coaches deal with their players.

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