Athlete's will to win


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Alex Hackett W 131 K Alford Essay 3 12 13 13 Who Really Decides the Outcome of a Game Male athletes practice the game that they love for years with one thing in mind to win They combine their God given talents and hard work to become triumphant However sometimes even when the stakes are high and the athletes put everything on the line their effort doesn t even matter Sometimes athletes need to lose in order to please an external force In Heinrich Hoffman s photo of the winner podium at the 1936 Olympics the external force is the audience coming together as one The predominately German crowd acts as the higher force to the lesser male athletes The athletes of a sport the ones who could alter the outcome with their performances occasionally have to sacrifice personal gain for the gain of others Through Michele Foucault s principles in Panopticism Don Sabo s ideas in Pigskin Patriarchy and Pain and Hoffman s photo one can have a better understanding of how outside forces whether it be the audience the coaches or even society come together to act as a higher power that makes an athlete control their performance in a certain way to satisfy this authority An authority figure can be intimidating This authority figure can affect someone to act on their best discipline and try to impress As philosopher Michele Foucault writes in his essay Panopticism the best authority figure can be Bentham s Panopticon This tower like building has the goal of making a person have Hackett 2 no idea what is happening As Foucault writes he is seen but he does not see he is the object of information never a subject in communication 154 He is a subject a prisoner of examination and scrutiny The prisoner knows somebody could be watching from the tower judging his every move He has the fear of an unknown punishment All he knows is that he must obey or something bad could happen This prisoner is like an athlete A professional athlete is under a contract a binding agreement that makes him property of the team The player has to answer to the owner of the contract If the player doesn t answer to the authority there could be consequences The moment an athlete signs a contract they become a subject giving in to other s demands while the team becomes the silent power The power doesn t introduce itself or announce anything however it s known that one doesn t go against its wishes Sabo s work in Pigskin Patriarchy and Pain makes the reader understand even more so how Panopticism principles work Sabo writes that the there is a hierarchical system called intermale dominance where a stronger minority controls the majority of men He says in this control the masses of men are fed the cultural message that pain is inevitable and that pain enhances one s character and moral worth 427 The majority of men are taught that there is going to be pain in life but to be a helpful member to society these men need to forget that feeling and go on with their life like nothing has happened The stronger minority can direct and command the mass of men to do what they feel like is best for the community The few men with control act within the Panoptic structure while the majority population act as prisoners In sports intermale dominance is common Athletes are taught the pain principle that almost all men have Hackett 3 developed Male athletes know at a young age that to endure pain is courageous to survive pain is manly 426 Coaches teach their players if they play through the pain they are more masculine and more respected The coach is the higher power that makes the athlete perform in a certain way When athletes sign their contract they then become lesser than the coach having to do whatever the coach says Hence the origins of our pain are rooted outside not inside our skins Sabo 426 If the athlete endures pain they aren t ignoring it for themselves They are ignoring it to increase masculinity and to be a more respected teammate Athletes are predestined to ignore hurt because of what society teaches It is a Panopticism principle making them choose the betterment of an authority figure over themselves So instead of internally choosing the athlete has to answer to an external force because of what society teaches Society as a whole has a large impact on how people live their life People are judged in a certain way and that depiction of them usually molds everything that they do Angeline Price in Working Class Whites comments how some people don t have a choice of how to act and what to be They are just born into it As she puts society has not chosen one to be the representative model but instead uses this dichotomy to fulfill its own desires 391 Society has a representation for someone at an early age Somebody s background physical stature and personality all play into effect how one is represented Society judges a person based off on an initial perspective and that perception stays with them forever Society acts within Panopticism principles watching and judging every move a person makes People grow to accept their role in society and shape themselves based off that They are Hackett 4 subjects in society s game The society is a higher power that evaluates everybody Everybody is subject to a role whether they think it is right for them or not It s difficult to break a mold a mold that is accepted by that person at birth Society has understandings and people live up to those understandings When a subject challenges the accepted role and the higher power it becomes a story to be told This is why Heinrich Hoffman s photograph Sommerolympiade Siegerehrung Weitsprung became an instant attraction In the picture three male athletes are standing at the winner s podium saluting their respective nation s flag The viewer can tell the African American athlete won the competition because of his higher ground Hoffman uses mise en scene to show that the audience is predominately Caucasian and based off of the majority of the crowd s salutes the fans are Nazi as well The largely Nazi crowd has a predestined attitude against the African American athlete Through social distance the audience comes together as one Since they are in the background the fans have no facial features and are unidentifiable With no identity the audience blurs together as a whole all supporting the same cause The athletes on the other hand are the focal point of the picture Hoffman depicts this to show the viewers that in this specific situation the athletes are more important than the audience This kind of picture is so rare because the athletes act as a higher force to the fans The winning athlete didn t control himself for society causing people to wonder why this happened Society is what all people answer too but society has an external force too In Robert Stern s article Competitive Influences on the Interorganizational Regulation of College Athletics Stern writes about how the NCAA acts as a regulatory entity Hackett 5 The NCAA establishes their own control agent in order to produce and maintain standards of performance to control entry and to alter competition and forestall government intervention 15 The NCAA oversees over 700 programs and can make every single program do whatever they want The NCAA is always watching investigating and punishing programs for being disobedient This organization creates enforces and interprets the rules The NCAA possesses Panopticism principles making sure everything is done exactly how they like it They can alter anything they want to make it more desirable for themselves They can tell players they can t play remove coaches and even ban schools All the colleges and universities act as the subjects trying to impress the NCAA and make sure they are always disciplined If something does go wrong with the school the school will implement its own consequences on themselves so they won t be as punished as hard by the NCAA the ultimate higher power The schools are afraid of the NCAA giving them even more power The NCAA can be described as a business cartel that attempts to restrict competition and maximize profits Stern 17 The NCAA is the institution that runs college sports and their whole goal is to make as much money as possible Whatever pleases them is will what they make happen even if it harms a program Institutions like the NCAA operate everything about a sport These institutions are the ultimate power in sports leaving everybody else to answer to them Sports have many different levels of power The athletes serve as the definitive subject who are always evaluated and scrutinized They are predetermined to perform in a certain way to please whoever owns their contract Hackett 6 That contract owner wants to make the most money as possible so they are trying to please the paying fans that come to the games The fans are rooting for a certain result based off what role society has given them and what they have accepted Each level of power plays subject to the next higher power Every level is okay with this because pain is better than pleasure The pain in this case acts as pleasing the higher power over oneself The highest power the level that doesn t have to please anybody is the institution that runs the sport It can make the society fans teams and athletes do whatever the institution wants The reason that the African American athlete won the competition in the photo is because not every power level was against him The audience and society were both pulling for him to lose but the highest power was not The Olympics the institution with all the power in this picture wanted the African American to win Sports are all one big cycle that starts at the institution where everybody else is their subordinate In sports as long as every level holds true to pain principle and continues to let the institution have all the power everything will be great When one of the levels goes against their accepted role though the institution is going to call upon their Panopticism principles and punish their subordinates to regain their control Hackett 7 Works Cited Foucault Michel Panopticism Readings for Analytical Writing 3rd ed Boston MA Bedford St Martin s 2006 150 178 Hoffman Heinrich Sommerolympiade Siegerehrung Weitsprung 1936 Photograph Bundesarchiv Photo Database Berlin Bundesarchiv Web 15 Nov 2013 Price Angeline Working Class Whites Reading of Analytical Writing 3rd ed Boston MA Bedford St Martin s 2006 390 394 Sabo Don Pigskin Patriarchy and Pain Readings for Analytical Writing 3rd ed Boston MA Bedford St Martin s 2006 425 28 Stern Robert N Competitive Influences on the Interorganizational Regulation of College Athletics Administrative Science Quarterly 26 1 1981 15 32 JSTOR Sage Publications Inc Web 15 Nov 2013

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