One Last Point: Can't see for all the haze

August 21, 2012 10:20 pm

 

When I was in high school I lived in fear of getting itch powder in my underwear if I didn’t make it back to the locker room before the bullies did.

When I was in high school I feared being the last person on my team on the floor during a game of dodgeball – especially when the bullies were on the other team.

When I was in high school I wasn’t afraid of opening my mouth to the bullies and getting them to single me out for more torment than my classmates. 

When I was in high school the idiots who picked on other students were called bullies and everyone – except for their parents, probably – knew who they were and what they were doing.

The problem that administrators faced was catching the bully in the act of bullying. It wasn’t enough, most of the time, for a student to report the bullying because it happened so often that the administrators had to realize that there were false reports mixed in with the real ones to get the bully in trouble as retribution for previous antics.

Typically the bullies were on sports teams, and well liked by their teammates. 

Granted, it’s a horrible stereotype to say that the bigger, stronger and more physically developed kids were better athletes – and bullies – because they were simply ahead of the class, but it was true when I was growing up.

Today, it’s not bullying – that’s reserved for any kid picking on any kid – it’s hazing. Hazing is just bullying taking place in a closed community.

The Humboldt State University men’s soccer team lost an entire season because of hazing, and that’s just the punishment handed down by the university president (see story on this page); we’ll have to wait and see what the NCAA does.

The New York Giants’ defensive end, Jason Pierre-Paul, recently made national news for dumping his teammate, Prince Amukamara, head first into an ice bath.

I watched the YouTube video of the incident and Amukamara wasn’t fighting to get off JPP’s shoulder as he was being carried to his end destination – he seemed resigned to his fate, rather.

The look on his face shouted, “I’m pissed off,” but his statements afterward were anything but, and other accounts from the time immediately following the incident recounted him continuing to horse around with his team.

The team has claimed that it wasn’t hazing, the players have claimed it wasn’t hazing, Amukamara claims it wasn’t hazing. It looked like hazing to me.

They all make the claim that it wasn’t hazing, but then they go on to say that the players play jokes on each other all the time, the veterans force rookies to do things for them, and then they excuse it all by saying what happens in the locker room stays in the locker room, and no one outside of football will understand it.

I agree that there needs to be a sense of community that may not be understood by people outside the group, but even within that group bullying and hazing need to not take place. Excusing that behavior by saying no one understands it is a basket of stinking socks.

Hazing is bad. Bullying is bad. They are one and the same no matter how it is cloaked, and it needs to stop.