Volume 92, Issue 47

Thursday, November 26, 1998

permanent cast


Football is not that important

Re: School pride, Nov. 13

To the Editor:

In responding to Brad Boulianne's letter on being purple and proud, I want to begin by praising Brad for his commitment to a Western tradition, albeit one that I find execrable.

The point of this activity seems to be to "hit" and "hurt" the opposition as much as possible. This naked aggression, were it not for the ludicrous amounts of padding, is clearly an abstraction of the masculine friend/enemy dialectic that formed the basis for the political theory of Carl Schmitt, thinker for the Nazis.

There is room in the vast array of university sponsored activities for hardy souls to stand around in the rain cheering on the pituitary cases that make up the Western Mustang football team. What I resent is that an activity I consider a disgusting spectacle is, for many people, still considered the primary method of expression of school spirit, even for those people that obviously don't have the courage of their convictions, like Brad, to actually show up for the games.

Let's review. A member of this team is currently facing charges arising out of an incident that may just as easily have led to the death of a student playing a prank. Contrary to The Gazette's headlines on the incident (go back and check), the aiming of one's car at a human being who is thought to be engaged in an act of mischief is not a prank – it's attempted murder.

The victim was engaged in a prank, not the driver of the car. I'm not sure, given the ugly stories surfacing about the effect of hazing activities in the macho sports at Western, if the person responsible for this act can be completely to blame for his actions. It does highlight, however, the enormous gap between the grip on reality some representatives of the sporting establishments on campus possess and what the rest of us would consider "normal" or "representative" behavior.

The amount of money spent on the Western Mustangs relative to the numbers of people who actually spend their time watching the results is something that in these times of financial constraint needs immediate attention. What the hell is going on when we can seriously consider spending large amounts of money on the 'Stangs at the same time that we are closing libraries and cancelling subscriptions to academic journals?

I like sports as much as the next guy, but I watch them in my free time and pay for them myself when I do. University life is supposed to be primarily about education not sports. If there's money for both, then fine, but if the academic part of the university is hurting, then to hell with funding football, soccer or anything else.

Finally, I resent the implication that a sport such as football should represent my time here at Western. It's exclusively male. It is almost the last sporting activity on campus that is so exclusionary. Even rugby and soccer have their female teams and some of them are damn good too.

I watched the women's hockey team last year play some excellent hockey and the women's teams in all other sports bring honour and glory to our campus – or at least they would if anyone ever gave a shit about them or put one-tenth of the money into their programs that the football team has.

Any activity that excludes more than half of the campus and the population, cannot be considered to "represent" this school. Of all the activities, from chess to drama to cycling, to track and field (our debating team just won a national trophy, our soccer team went undefeated for an amazing run) that might represent our community in a thoughtful, spirited, inclusionary and healthy manner, football is the very last on my list.

Good luck to you Brad. I want you to be able to enjoy every game Western puts on, but it isn't the only game in town and maybe it's time to stuff it into the trunk of history along with cheerleaders, the cold war, homophobia, hazing and Donna Reid clones washing their husband's socks and being damn grateful about it.

Ed King
MA Politics II

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Copyright The Gazette 1998