Cussing in Sports? May it Never Be!

In last Sunday’s (10-30-2011) game the Houston Texans hosted the Jacksonville Jaguars, in which the Texans won. The perhaps unusual outcome of the game, however, was not that Houston won the game. Rather, it was that discovery of profanity uttered by college-educated, professional athletes, who as part of the competition regularly collide and strike one another…

Said incident involved Houston linebacker Brian Cushing taking down Jacksonville quarterback Blaine Gabbert, and the momentum of the tackle included going out of bounds. It’s like “running” (instead of kicking) the ball “into touch” for all of you rugby-types out there…except you keep the ball for your team…never mind…

Gabbert jumped up and, in the Queen’s English, replied, “My, you could have considered an alternative method to impeding my forward motion as I was clearly on the egress of the field.”

Or, in more colloquial or dynamic-equivalence terms, “Whoa, there mutha$%^&*#!!!”

For those with HDTV, this kind of expression offered new levels of “vividness” to watching the game.

For those reading this blog, I will assume for the moment that the exclamation of Gabbert was hardly a surprise, and certainly not because you or I know the Jacksonville quarterback. Rather, the expression was merely one that circumstantially was collected by the media assisted by the hand-held microphone that appears as more suitable for permanent mounting on the roof of your home as an aerial antenna.

To my mild astonishment, the media has been running several stories on this incident. Some are like, “Wasn’t that funny?” to “Whoops! My bad! We shouldn’t got that one!” Others are like this one, attempting to explain away what takes place on the field, as though the observers of the game, either in the stands or at home watching their monitors/TV’s wouldn’t have imagined that coaches and players utter profanity.

I find all of this: bothersome. And a bit trite. Maybe disingenuous. Perhaps I need to practice some circumspection here: that there may be some people out there who enjoy football who could not imagine that expletives could be uttered in the heat of battle, and that from snap to whistle, enough is going on that no one would care to swear to themselves or their opponent. Perhaps.

No, I don’t approve of swearing. But, the problem for me, frankly, is that when I hear people swear during competition, even when it was directed toward me: I break out laughing. Keep in mind, that when your opponent hears you laugh, it’s not always a good thing. But, when your teammate hears you laugh after they are cussing, they get angry with you.

So, I always had to look away, stifle my laughter, and break out in a red face and a deep sweat trying not to even snicker. This response to laughter as anger is largely a universal response; I’ve observed it in football, baseball, softball, soccer, track, basketball, and hockey. I haven’t heard it yet when playing Settlers of Catan, but that’s not a team sport, either. Anyway: don’t laugh after your teammate fills the air with profanity. They won’t understand, and they will get angry. Trust me: you don’t want men with sharp blades on the end of their feet and grasping large sticks to come after you…

So, laugh in the safety of your living room/coffee shop/pub while enjoying the game, reading the lips of the coaches and players, and if you actually hear some profanity: laugh and let it go. Just don’t laugh next to the guy/gal who is cussing up a storm…

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