We are witnesses to a perpetual growth of the sports industry. In the heart of its culture are athletes, who are forced to meet society’s expectations regardless of the toll it may take on them personally. As a result, many problems arise, particularly in male athletes, who are torn between the obligations to succumb to the guidelines of the sporting culture.
Statistics show many college athletes suffer from depression and other psychological disorders. In addition, some abuse the mandate of masculinity and turn to sexual offenses. The situation is serious and many experts have raised their voice regarding the issue. Among them is Don McPherson.
McPherson, who was a great athlete in his time, feels that the problem is approached from the wrong angle. It seems as though athletes are not as protected as the sporting culture itself.
This is quite ironic because the sporting environment, as it is, appears to do more harm than good. Athletes are expected to perform well in school and in the stadium and to do it all quietly without complaining. Moreover, when an athlete talks about his or her problems, is tends to be frowned upon as an indecorous act for a person who should strive for excellence.
Nevertheless, this strife for obeying the so-called masculinity mandate makes them feel athletes feel inadequate; hence they turn to alcohol, illegal substances, sexual attacks, and sometimes suicide. Results of a survey conducted by the NCAA Sports Science Institute are far from encouraging.
McPherson feels that the masculinity mandate should be adjusted. First off, there should be equal attention dedicated towards the equal development of skills- to educate people to excel both as athletes and human beings. McPherson touches on the subject of boys not being raised to be men, but merely not to be women and believes this perception should be revised.
Every step an athlete takes is followed and monitored. This only increases pressure to their already stressful lifestyle. The biggest irony of the sporting culture today is that the masculinity mandate, which is supposed to mold boys into courageous and strong men, leads them to depression and aggression instead. This is why McPherson works so hard on the improvement of the masculinity mandate. After all, if sporting culture continues in this fashion, one might ask- would sports slowly loses their purpose?