Friday, March 20, 2009

Respect for Opponents

I am interested in how athletes perceive their opponents. It has been my experience teaching collegiate athletes here in America that collegiate athletes see the opponent as merely a means to and end, specifically "the enemy." Examples of High School Athletic Associations canceling post-game handshakes due to the fear of violence, and the degree of verbal abuse ("trash talking") in sport confirm this notion. However, during discussions of sport with students from Australia and to some extent the UK, it seems to me that they value the opponent on a different level than do American athletes. I've been told numerous stories of "going to the pub" with opposing teams after hard fought contests.

I'm interested in your comments, and would like to know if there are instuments in the Social Sciences which measure constructs such as respect for opponents.