Hazing is a ritual that is occurring often in athletes that needs to be decreased significantly and by educating coaches and leaders hazing could be diminished. Coaches often turn their shoulder and say hazing is Just a part of life, but that is not true. There are all different types of hazing. A few examples could be as simple as making someone memorize and recite what participants are told, all the way to harmful acts like drinking too much alcohol, humiliating tasks, and being disrespectful to others. Examples of hazing listed out by Hank Newer, author of High
School Hazing: When Rites Become Wrong, are blindfolding rookies and making them do stunts, putting an intoxicated player in a car trunk for a ride in the winter, and forcing rookies to sit nude on ice blocks (Newer 64). Authors of The nature and extent of college student hazing in Journal International Journal of adolescent medicine and health, did a study that showed the breakdown of certain hazing rituals. Alcohol consumption is 21% of hazing, followed by humiliation 1 5%, enduring harsh weather without proper clothing 14%, and sleep deprivation 12% (Allan 84).
These statistics how where hazing is being taken place the most and where coaches could look to help extinguish the ritual. Coaches knowing that alcohol consumption is the highest percentage of hazing, coaches can then heavily enforce a no drinking policy or look for evidence of drinking taken place resulting in the statistics lowering. Although some hazing rituals are not necessarily meant to be harmful they could easily lead to serious negative outcomes. Various stories have been told of deaths due to excess drinking or stunts that could have been avoided, but athletes claim they “had” to comply to be part of the team.
Sports in high school and college are an extracurricular activity that one decides to be a part of out of enjoyment and love for the sport. Traditional rituals are part of some sports teams like pep rallies, marching band, homecoming games, and winning conference championships. None of these are designed to harm a partaker. Hazing, seen as a less ceremonial ritual, has been found to only result negatively. Hank Newer, writer off High School Hazing: When Rites Become Wrong book states, “initiation might inspire more devotion to the team, but the fact is that hazing creates tension and behavior that can be destructive and evasive” (Newer 61).
Hazing is not a positive, uniting ritual; it Just destroys what relationship is trying to be built up. Coaches might claim hazing is uniting a team, but only stated because they do not know what is going on during the bonding. Coaches need to be aware what teammates are doing to other teammates to eliminate hazing. Writers of an article titled Male Team Sport Hazing explained what the authors believed hazing is designed for, “hazing initiations are believed to serve as a test not only of recruits’ masculinity but also of their readiness for leadership” (Anderson et al. 29). The article goes on, saying they believe it is right for members to learn leadership but that through a forceful and harmful initiation is just ridiculous. In the same article, the authors stated that initiations act as a colonization process that shapes the identities of recruits to fit the team (Anderson et al. 429). If the hazing does not involve harmful, embarrassing, lasting damage, and that it is meant to unite and strengthen the team, then the tolerance for the actions could be more understandable.
The only downfall is hazing can easily turn negative with the thought that what the hazer’s are doing is okay. Coaches need to look over what their teammates are partaking in and have the reliable word if it is considered hazing or not. Within the hazing that is done in sports, a decent amount of the adults around act as if nothing is happening. Adults know what is going on but decide not to intrude. I do not agree with that, and educating the coaches, adults, and responsible leaders would help decrease the amount of hazing that takes place.
Being told that everyone is hazed at some point is a way of encouraging the hazer’s to continue hazing. This allows the thought that hazing all right. Kids look up to their elders, when authority figures turn a blind eye, hazing begins. Educating the right people about the danger of initiation rights will result in the hazer’s to understand the danger as well. If coaches of the team were more aware of the impact hazing has on athletes, they could influence the athletes on what happens. Hank Newer pointed out “… So many coaches have hazed and been hazed that it makes it seem okay,” (Newer 77).
The coaches that have been put through hazing should take what they were put through into consideration and learn from the harm, not continue to encourage gazing. Elizabeth Allan, author of a section in College Student Hazing, stated that when students were asked where the behaviors occurred, one in four stated it had occurred in a public space on campus and nearly half indicated that hazing occurred during the day (Allan 87). Going to show that it could easily be stopped, or reported but majorities of adults pretend like nothing harmful is occurring.
Easily stopped seems difficult, but all it takes is intelligence and obedience and this awful ritual could be eliminated. Hazing is happening in the wide open, yet people act oblivious to the harmful ritual. Being accepted into the sport team is important for any player. Why does being accepted have to result to hazing? It seems hazing can ensure senior members that they have power over the new members of the team. Although new members would already know the seniors dominate, making it clear to the new members is done through hazing.
This form of recognition is neither right nor fair to the new members. Newer proposes that adults and administrators may not understand why hazing is a way of being accepted and valued by their peers (Newer 24). Not understanding why should be a reason for them to step up and take action o eliminate hazing instead of continuing to turn their heads. Joining a sports team should only come with positive outcomes, not harmful tasks along the way. Hazing seems to follow the acceptance to the team showing one understands they are new, but that is not right.
Society always talks about alcohol being a part of hazing; especially high school and college aged student athletes. Drinking until one pukes, having a certain amount of shots to show one could handle it, are Just a few common rituals involving drinking as part of the athletic hazing. As an illustration of the harm Newer states, “at least one college student has died in alcohol-related sports initiations or pledging stunts every year since 1970,” (Newer 79). Death resulted from wanting to be part of a sport team, or a member of a club is Just preposterous.
No young adult should be punished to death for wanting to be an active member. Coaches and leaders of these sports teams need to be well informed of the negative outcomes in order to not let drinking be a part of hazing. Coaches know their athletes are drinking probably, but in a harmful way, doubtful. People tend to get the reception that because one is part of a sport team, especially the levels in high school and college, that those students are not taking part in consuming alcohol. In reality, Newer admits that he has discovered varsity players tend to drink twice as much as the general student population (Newer 81).
Coaches being aware of such information should allow them to open their eyes to how often alcohol is used to haze other athletes and turn the ritual around. Consuming alcohol is a huge part in hazing and initiating athletes onto the team, coaches need to be aware and have policies that do not enable alcohol and hazing. The ability for a rookie to handle their alcohol is a big deal within the sports world. Not only is the intake of alcohol illegal, but also it results in injures and deaths that could easily be avoided otherwise.
Informing the right people will allow them to educate the athletes and eliminate awful harm. Having an athlete define weather they had been hazed or not is a difficult to make them realize. Many do not identify that they have been hazed, rather participants think that it is Just part of the initiation rights. That is where the gap between behavior and identification of hazing results. Elizabeth Élan’s study shows of students who reported experiencing behaviors that meet the definition of hazing, 9 out of 10 did not consider themselves to have been hazed (Allan 87).
Many explanations can lead to why they believe they had not been hazed; some claim that to be considered hazed it has to involve physical force like being beat by the members. Leaders being informed of the fact that it is not Just physical harm involved in hazing allows them to educate athletes what hazing is exactly. Others believe that if the behavior results in a productive procedure, like group bonding, hen the behavior is to not be considered hazing (Allan 88). Coaches cannot encourage group behavior that would meet the definition of hazing.
If leaders want to group bond it has to be an activity that would not be considered harmful or humiliating. The question of weather hazing can be stopped or not is a reasonable debate a lot of thought has to go into in order to eliminate hazing. To begin abolishing hazing, being exposed to the awareness and the prevention of hazing is the start. In other words Allan states, “students reported limited exposure to efforts hat extended beyond a hazing is not tolerated approach,” (Allan 88). The athletes need to be aware of exactly what hazing is defined as, and ways to prevent the harmful ritual occurring.
The exposure to what hazing is needs to begin early, not necessarily only the high school and college aged students but all the way to the children in elementary school. Also educating the coaches and enforcing them to eliminate hazing would help. If they do not turn their shoulder to the ritual and take action hazing could decrease enormously. Newer continues by identifying, “Just as schools have programs for fire prevention, they should have clearly written polices forbidding hazing,” (Newer 122).