Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Philosophy of Bullying

I was involved in idle conversation today at the gym with a student of Sport Philosophy.

After my initial bouts of laughter* I actually got around to discussing this philosophy of sport. I got the impression immediately that he’s had to justify his chosen major of study several times by now. After all, surely I couldn’t be the only one who thinks that Sport Philosophy sounds like total horseshit?

I thought that History of Film was a complete bird course but this is ridiculous!

Anyway, once we got into it a little I was intrigued to learn that there are two popular trains of thought in Sport Philosophy. One dictates that most games we played back in elementary school, such as dodgeball, handball, floor hockey, and the like, are actually detrimental to a child’s psychological growth. The other train of thought just says “suck it up, buttercup!” It’s survival of the fittest as a means of natural development...the way it was; the way it was; and the way it’s always going to be.


Now I know what you’re asking yourself: why have they forsaken classic kid’s games such as dodgeball in the first place, right? Because they promote social segregation, that’s why; namely, the stronger and quicker kid’s on one side versus the slower, weaker kids on the other…just as God intended it.

Call me old-fashioned.

How else are these pathetic, fat kids ever going to get themselves motivated? Nothing says “try harder” than the possibility of a gang wedgie in the shower after gym class. It’s practically Biblical! The weak and the downtrodden have been beaten mercilessly throughout the ages until they somehow are properly inspired to rise above it all and onto bigger and better things…or, they just die off all together.

Either way, it’s the natural order of the universe.

Look at Moses leading his people out of Egypt. Only after years of being enslaved and mistreated the Israelite losers were finally afforded the opportunity to stand up and do something about it once Moses arrived on the scene. Sure they managed to unleash the Ten Plagues on their Egyptian masters and escape via the parted Red Sea. But what did they get for their troubles? Forty years of wandering the desert in exile, that’s what!

But that’s a whole other story, or is that just another case of the strong bullying the weak? After all, God pretty much did stick it to the Hebrews for all those years after helping them escape. Even Moses himself was denied entrance into the Promised Land when he failed to carry out the simple task of bringing forth water from a rock. I mean, how fucking hard is that?

And so God layeth the smack down on ‘ol Moses. And if that’s not a case of classic schoolyard bullying I don’t know what is.

Bruce Hornsby said it best: “that’s just the way it is.”


Is it the winner’s fault that the losers suck so much? Or make themselves easy targets? If little Chubby Charlie wants to not be the first man out in Mrs. Walker’s grade three dodgeball game every day he better learn to substitute those bags of Oreo’s for carrot sticks and practice harder.

Not that I’m speaking from experience.

Bullies, as much as they are frowned upon, are actually very important in shaping a child’s mind. They are a vital part of any delicate elementary schoolyard ecosystem. Without them, nothing is ever going to encourage them to improve their physical skills?

Donkey Kong does nothing to improve one’s prowess in dodgeball.

Picture a world with no definite winners and losers, just one big, happy, complacent herd of under achievers. The world would be filled with the type of people who use lint rollers and list ‘World of Warcraft’ in the Hobbies section of their resumes. And then there are always those people who work in customer service.

It would be like living in a world of little Brennan Hawkins'? Remember him? Tell me kids like this don't need an honest days ass-kicking.

That’s sure no world I want to live in!

Sure I got picked on in grade school and it sucked at the time. But it sure inspired me to move my ass occasionally allowing me to burn off some extra calories while conditioning my young, developing “flight” muscles. Being closely pursued by a mod of older bullies from the next grade will do that to you.

Gym class was no different. By the time I graduated grade eight I had learned to dodge with the best of them. And by the end of my schooling altogether I was picking off Chubby Charlie’s on my own and thereby completing one of the most important cycles of life.

And so it goes…

* Three of them in total. Approximately a whole 15 minutes worth each.


Blogger dD said...

gang wedgies always made me try harder..

10:44 AM  

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