Alittle bit of fear is a good thing.
It's good to be afraid of crossing the street without looking both ways. It's good to be afraid of putting bare hands on bright red elements on the top of the kitchen stove. It's good to be afraid of missing a mortgage payment. It's good to be afraid of being late for work, or a game.
A few years ago, there was the "No Fear" marketing campaign that surfaced everywhere. Perhaps it was a little too effective, because while we shouldn't be ruled by fear, being careful and cautious are still important for safety reasons.
We shouldn't be afraid of playing sports altogether, but we should have a little bit of common sense fear when it comes to how we play our games.
That will come in handy in terms of being wise enough to avoid getting hit, or allowing ourselves to be in a position to get hammered by an opponent.
It goes without saying that games should be fun - not war - and the onus is on each participant to be self regulating and responsible. Yet at the same time, we never know what "the other guy" is going to do, and accidents do happen, so we need to keep our heads up.
Medical technology advances have put concussions at the forefront of discussions about violence in sports, most notably football and hockey.
What was a "bone rattling" hit a generation ago that left recipients counting fingers and feeling a little fuzzy was, in reality, probably a concussion. We just kept on playing, because, well, that's what tough athletes do. It demonstrated that we were tough and had heart. As we used to say to those who were hurt and said they continue: "That's a long way from your heart," and they'd go back out and play. Sometimes.
Thankfully, serious injuries were much less infrequent back then. Probably because we didn't move as fast, despite what the bumper sticker says: "The older I get, the better I was."
It was also due to the fact there was probably more respect in the game. We knew if we hit someone hard, they'd hit us back; if we played dirty, we'd get dirted.
Not to go all "Don Cherry" here, but I think the improvements in equipment have created a false sense of safety, as players are clad like armoured tanks and everyone can hit like a wrecking ball. Add to that steroids, heaping helpings of good old, shimmering green deli meat and other muscle building programs, the athletes of today look like the body builders of our youth.
With all these changes, our athletes had best have a little more fear when they go into the corner, or crossing the middle to catch a pass. A lot more respect for fellow athletes would be very welcome as well.
By the way, as I write this, I have concluded I must have officially crossed the great divide into official "middle age", simply by my frequent use of the words "when I was a kid", "back in my day", and "I remember when."
Contact managing editor Mark A. MacDonald at 250-729-4224 or email: MaMacDonald @nanaimodailynews.com
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