sportsmanship

this is going to be an angry post.

today i played a Singapore Floorball Association division 3 game. today some… person hit me in the face with his stick. and i am unwilling to give him the benefit of doubt, because i’m pretty damn sure it was intentional. because when i look at him he stared me down and then walked away without even saying sorry. and which fool swings his stick to head height in a floorball game? CONFIRM high stick.

i shouted when he hit me with his stick. picked up my specs. looked at him. ref doesn’t call. his teammates from the sidelines says ‘floorball floorball’. yeah if it’s just a game within the bounds of good sportsmanship why the heck would you do something like that? and yeah i don’t blame the ref these kind of ‘accidents’ happen. but why?

seriously? i have truly lost quite a bit of faith in humanity. why do people play dirty? i don’t understand. why do people intentionally hurt other people? i’m not talking about playing hard. i’m all for playing hard. i enjoy contact, that’s why i play contact sports. i like that physical challenge. when playing sports i’ve given and taken hard fouls, but i never intend to hurt anyone, and i always apologise immediately. i’ve set hard screens, and i’ve taken satisfaction in that, and i’ve sent people to the floor, but i’ve never done any of that with malicious intent. i’m guilty of hacking in basketball and hard fouls across arms, but i don’t clothesline people. i play hard, play physical, but i don’t play dirty. i don’t grab jerseys, i don’t pull shorts, i don’t grab hands, i don’t scratch, i don’t elbow, and i don’t hit people in the freaking face.

where the heck has sportsmanship and gamesmanship gone to? honour? isn’t there a code? aren’t people aware of it? why are they so gleeful when they cheat and get away with all these non-calls? don’t they feel remorse? any guilt? any shame in what they are doing? where is the fun in winning if you had to cheat to win? do you want a gold medal which you knew you won only because you started running from 50 meters when everyone else started at 100? why do people do stupid things like that? is there no more honour in the world? is there no identity? no valuation of self? no elevation of values? no teaching of such values?

this is the first time on the court that i have truly felt like hitting a guy. okay yeah when i get boxed out or my shot gets rejected in basketball i might go extra hard on the next play. set a mean screen. but it’s legal. and i aim to win, i don’t aim to hurt. i might bang a guy out of the slot in floorball but my hands are on my stick and its to let him know he can’t just waltz into my defensive zone. and it’s all legal contact. and i’ve gotten shoulders to my jaw, elbows to my gut, tripped up, whatever. but never before have i felt this anger that just rises up. gorges. i didn’t just want to hit the guy, i wanted to smash his face in. i wanted to wipe that smirk of his face by separating his mouth from his face. my mind went blank from anger. all i wanted to do was hurt him. this is the first time in my life that i have wanted to really lay the hurt down on someone.

and what did i do? i did the right thing. i picked up my specs and walked away. played the game. didn’t confront him. didn’t sneer at him. didn’t have any smart-ass replies (of which i am highly capable of). aware of the fact that i should not ‘sink to their level’ and i should holder myself to a ‘higher standard’ and act and play ‘like a gentleman’ and respect individuals groups and the community with kindness and respect and in so doing uphold the Rafflesian Principle of Honour.

you know what? so what if i did the right thing? it didn’t help. it didn’t make me feel better. it’s not making me feel any better now, at 2am in the morning, a few hours after getting hit. punching the idiot in the face and breaking his nose will make me feel better. big deal if i did the right thing. what good does it do? that i’m a better man? big deal. what is the use of being a better man if there is no comparison, if clearly people have no idea what being a ‘better man’ constitutes, and don’t strive towards that? what’s the good of it, if so many kids and young punks and whatnot across all sorts of societal boundaries everywhere fall victim to the scourge of dirty play? when even pro sports sometimes espouses such things? what happened to fair play and such?

who gives a crap? yeah yeah you say its okay zach you did the right thing. you know what? its really hollow. i also know i did the right thing. but i wish i didn’t. i wish i had punched the daylights out of the dude. to make matters worse the fellow is wearing a jersey with the words ‘Singapore Police’ on them. don’t you have any sense of institutional pride? i’m not flaming the police. i do believe in the sacred sanctity and value of their mission. but doesn’t this player and his team have any sense of belonging to their institution? any awareness that they bear the name of their organisation on their backs, and are a testament to that organisation? what does it say about Singapore if our people play like that? what the hell? there’s a lot of angry bitter stuff i have to say but it will serve no purpose. it truly boggles me how people can do this. is mankind truly that fallen? are we capable of sinking so far? truly man is wretched.

i really don’t get it. why do people have to play dirty? why does the mid-30s dude on my beloved neighbourhood court have to grab my jersey when i’m posting him up? can’t he just freaking fight for position? if i’m stronger and i’ve got more hops, can’t he play smart and deny the pass? do his work off the ball – in a LEGAL manner? WHY DOES HE HAVE TO CHEAT? WHY DOES HE HAVE TO PLAY DIRTY? WHY?! when i play with people who are more skilled and bigger and better and whatever, i know i might lose, but i play hard, and i play fair. so do my friends. WHY ARE SOME PEOPLE LIKE THIS? why? and why is dirty play always present? never removed?

this is truly saddening. i am very perturbed. very sad. disappointed.

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One thought on “sportsmanship

  1. yihui says:

    “is mankind truly that fallen? are we capable of sinking so far? truly man is wretched.”

    precisely. precisely precisely precisely.

    look at it this way. he needed to take a cheap shot in order to make himself feel validated, at your expense. and now what i think you’re feeling is actually not that different, because retaliating would make you feel better. it’s just that you chose to “take the moral high ground” and walk away.

    this is what The Man says:
    “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.”
    and
    “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

    which are things that we’ve all heard before yada yada. but i think the key thing is that the offended is not a passive actor in these situations. in the first case the victim actively offers his other cheek to the aggressor (!) and in the second case he prays for God to forgive them.

    so zach, pray for him. pray that Jesus will come into his life and dispel his urge to self-medicate by taking it out on other people. and i hope you will feel better, not just because “it’s okay you did the right thing”, but because Jesus not only to reconcile God to man, but man to each other. He died for the guy’s sins… and yours and mine.

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