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Come at me!

By: Adam D’Angelo

Bravado – We’ve seen it hundreds of times, but possibly nothing was better than Muhammad Ali standing over Sonny Liston roaring menacingly after his first round knockout in 1965. It was like taunting had arrived in sports, the jab was landed.

Other forms of taunting include: the throat-slash, crotch-grab, clenched fist, the finger, the gun, the bow and arrow – you get the point. Taunting is a battle cry, a sarcastic gesture intended to demoralize the competition and strike fear into their eyes.

These obscene gestures in sport are part of the game, to an extent. However, delivering a discrete gesture towards your opponent has the possibility to swing some momentum in your favour.

Society has become softer than three-ply bathroom tissue, apologies and fines are handed out daily, and we overprotect everyone’s feelings. Sports are competitive in nature, they bring out the best in you and sometimes athletes make questionable decisions in the heat of the moment.

Do we ever stop to think if the athlete who gave the obscene gesture was provoked? Shouldn’t that matter for something, a form of self-defence? Athletes are highly respected individuals in society with a lot more media attention than most people. Therefore, they are held to higher standards in the public eye.

For those of you who think taunting takes away from the competitiveness of the game, Gerber called, they want their baby back. Athletes who resort to these behaviours have not lost perspective about the importance of the game, they are simply expressing themselves to gain a mental advantage over their opponent.

For the most part, the University of Windsor is a safe space for athletes to compete in. According to Athletic Director, Mike Havey, taunting from Lancer athletes hasn’t been much of an issue.

If required, Havey could handle such actions with suspensions, fines, or possibly expulsion depending on the severity. However, he hasn’t handed out disciplinary actions lately.

If obscene gestures verbal or physical were made during any Lancer game, I would assume it would be handled with due diligence and taken seriously.

“The course of action starts with consulting the dean of students to review the policy involved with the disciplinary procedure,” Havey stated. “Then we work on a due process, investigate the situation, and ask others to be involved, perhaps witnesses, it’s a work in progress.”

We are afraid of hurting people’s feelings now more than ever, everything has to be politically correct, and we must act in accordance with how society wants to view us.

Well to that I say, “The finger.” If you can’t handle the taunts then you don’t belong in the game. Maybe you’re better off sewing with grandma on Sundays.

Taunting and bullying are far from the same but arguably one in the same. The act of how you present the action, whether verbal or physical determines the difference.

Now, most people might say I’m wrong, that taunting doesn’t have a place in sports, especially at the university level where fair play and equality is held in high regard.

And if that’s how you feel, I’ll leave you with this, taunting also has beauty, charisma, passion, energy, and it can be used to motivate yourself while demotivating your opponent in battle.


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