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Friday, October 28, 2011

Hazing a sad throwback to thoughtless times

There are many positive, supportive and intelligent ways in which to bring a “team” together at any level, including in youth sports.  In fact, the notion of helping teammates bond together can be a very good thing indeed, in sports, in the workplace- and in life.  Specifically in the sporting realm, to be successful at the elite, competitive levels, it surely helps to  have a group of teammates who truly respect one another, work hard for one another and support one another—especially when things go off the rails.

That’s where true character and leadership often show themselves, by how individuals behave toward one another when things are difficult on a team.

But one part of what some people still (for some reason) see as an acceptable form of bonding is something that would never be accepted in any other setting—a type of cruel initiation commonly referred to as “hazing”.

That this still occurs in certain college, high school or youth sports settings is disturbing in itself. Surely we have reached a point where this kind of approach to creating "acceptance" or “team harmony” should be recognized as not only absurd but harmful and potentially emotionally damaging.

But every once in a while, stories surface which remind us more yet needs to be done to educate—and if that fails—simply enforce a zero tolerance policy, with strong consequences, to end this senseless behavior.

The latest incident along these lines allegedly took place in northern Manitoba.  The story link can be found here:

Thankfully, authorities in question have apparently acted quickly.

Sadly, some still think that, as part of some old-fashioned and ridiculous team thing, youngsters shouldn’t reveal when this type of thing occurs. But silence, under the ridiculous guise team-building and a "what happens in the clubhouse should stay in the clubhouse" philosophy, only allows the cruelty to continue.

And that kind of team-building is nonsense—and nothing else.