Pecan Pie

Social Anxiety from the South

Archive for the ‘football’ Category

Punished Enough?

I’m reading this Sport Illustrated article about Mike Vick.  As a Georgia girl and default Falcons fan, Vick’s story really just hurts.  He was our golden boy who turned into such a disappointment both on the field and in his personal life.  As a football fan and dog lover, I can’t even tell you the disenchantment felt by me as an individual that was echoed through the city of Atlanta.  Once the highest paid man in the NFL , Vick was just a common hoodrat.

The article I’m reading comes after watching the Falcons win today and keeping up with the Eagles on a peripheral basis this season, Vick’s new home.  He’s stepped up as the on deck Big Man on Campus as far as the NFL is concerned, the next few years will be crucial, but there are already comparisons to Montana, Favre, and Marino.   He’s having a stellar year, though, I’m glad we have Matty Ice, no doubt.  While reading this wonderfully in-depth article about the struggles Vick has gone through to return as a force to be reckoned with, I began to contemplate my feelings about someone who had done something so horrible getting a second chance this amazing.  You see, I’m a big advocate for prisoner’s rights, much to the dismay of some of my friends.   I have huge issues with our prison system and further issues with the way society continues to punishe those convicted after they have “served their time.”

Vick brings up a dichotomy for me.  I want people who have done bad things to have a way to fix their lives.  To become productive.  To be greater than they were.  I don’t like to label people as “bad” or “good.”  I think the way a society treats the least of its members is a reflection on the society that had a hand in producing those members that often do the very, very wrong thing.

Except, well, I was mad when Vick got a second chance.  I’m still glad he’s gone from Atlanta.  He’s the very thing I’m always trying to advocate for and yet, I’m the one pissed he isn’t getting another bad shake from society after serving his time.  His story is the story I’m always hoping for when I think of “criminals” reacquainting themselves with civilization at large.

So, I’m really glad I read that article.  It reminded me that my moral high ground isn’t always so easy to stomach, even if I truly feel it’s the right thing.  It reminded me that I’m part of the problem as often as I’m part of the solution.  I hold stereotypes and make assumptions and have irrational fear just like everyone else.

I’m human, too, in case you didn’t know.

Written by thelittlepecan

December 13, 2010 at 12:01 am

Posted in football

Tagged with , , , , ,

Are you Ready for Some Football? Gender and Sports

We’re now 7 weeks into the NCAA football season and I couldn’t be happier.  A true Georgia girl, I can’t stand winter and football is the only redemption the colder temperatures get in my heart.  I finally took my son to his first and second Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets games this season and he did great.  He loved tailgating and cheering for our team and, of course, has already begun asking for sports paraphernalia I couldn’t afford.  Hey, at least he’s getting passionate early.

I have always loved college football, though, admittedly, the past three years I’ve really begun to understand the game more, getting into predictions, analysis and statistics (thank you, Dr. Sawtell!)  For the first time, I have a beau who’s a huge fan of the same team as I am and who’ll toss the pigskin to me instead of regulating me to the sidelines during rainball.

Like everything I’m into, sports gets a critical eye over what societal forces are at work and how they can be changed for the betterment of all of us.  Last Sunday, I watched the Falcons get destroyed by the Eagles (because, really, any football is better than no football in my world, even if it is the NFL) and I was shocked at how little the Eagles cheerleaders were wearing.  I’m not sure why.  By most standards they had on at least as much as a “modest” bikini, if not more.  The Boyfriend was obviously thrilled and I’m not gonna lie, a good-lookin’ woman is nothing to sneeze at for me either, but…I was also annoyed.

At a Connecticut high school, cheerleaders went before the board of education to demand more coverage from their uniforms.   High school cheer regulations mandate that a girl’s midriff must be covered when she stands at attention.  A recent study shows that college cheerleaders who are required to expose more skin are at significantly higher risk of eating disorders.

This is a compliment to the fantastic news story a week ago about an Ohio high school student who scored her first three points as the new place kicker for the Chipps and was then crowned homecoming queen on the same night.  She loves football and decided she could add something to her team, got her dad on board and learned to put her soccer skills to use on the football field.  Now, granted, I have no clue if this girl is really, really good or just good because she’s such an anomaly, but this story combined with my reaction to the cheerleaders last Sunday got me thinking.

It’s obvious that girls and women are regulated to the sidelines to cheer on the brave warriors of football.  But why don’t we let girls who have the goods (like what does that even mean, anyway) play?

Activities like football, wrestling and mosh pits allow men and boys to interact with each other physically in a safe environment that does not threaten their feelings of self-sexuality.  In a society where men are not supposed to touch each other, physically violent, male-only behaviors allow for homo-erotic conduct without judgment or even recognition by anyone, including the actors, (except pseudo-sociologists like myself!)

The second we allow women to participate in male-dominated sports alongside men and not in their own leagues or associations the whole system breaks down.  This, in my opinion, is a good thing.  We still manage to hold onto this idea that women are too frail, too fragile, and too meek to roughhouse with “the guys.”  But, that’s just an excuse to keep women out of the boys’ club.  Eventually, women will be allowed to play whatever they want.  For college football, it’ll be a total game changer.  Speed and finesse will become a greater focus allowing for a variety of options, particularly in the Paul Johnson special, the triple option which counts on both of those things to succeed.

But, this isn’t just about sports opening up to women, but about normalizing women in the sports, like cheerleading, that they are allowed to participate in.  These young high school women are opening up frontiers in two totally different ways, but both are important.  Society needs to become more realistic about a lot of things.  Women can play ball.  Women should not be turned into over-sexualized, side-lined Barbie dolls just because they cheer for a football team…and certainly not at 14, 15, 16 or 17 years old.  Women are still feminine if they feel that way no matter what sport they play.  As a society, we need to work to allow women, especially our young women, to explore and project all facets of who we are.

Written by thelittlepecan

October 19, 2010 at 1:55 pm