War In Miniature
The competitive orientation of athletics creates a dehumanized, stereotyped way of perceiving the opponent, wrote psychologists George Bach and Herb Goldberg in their blog Creative Aggression. We love our team and hate theirs. The game becomes a war in miniature.
If athletes can be an aggressive bunch, their coaches and managers can be as well. There have been many fights between players and their coaches over the years in the NBA, Golden State Warriors guard Latrell Sprewell choked coach P. J. Carlesimo; in college basketball, Indiana coach Bob Knight appeared to kick one of his players (his son Patrick) on the bench; and in baseball, manager Dave Bristol of the San Francisco Giants gave his pitcher John Montefusco a black eye. I did what I had to do, Bristol said. I don’t want anyone screaming at me, telling me this and that.
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In the 1997 NHL playoffs, Colorado Avalanche coach Marc Crawford was fined $ 10,000 for losing his cool. Crawford’s Avalanche were defending their Stanley Cup championship, but were on their way to falling back three games to one in the series with the Detroit Red Wings in a fight-filled game. Following one melee, Crawford and Detroit coach Scotty Bowman exchanged heated words across the partition separating the players’ benches. Obviously, emotions got out of whack, Crawford said later. You say some stupid things, they say some stupid things. It happens. It happened to us earlier in the playoffs. Nobody’s proud of it, but it’s part of the game. Bowman said: He was pretty emotional. I guess I’ve been that way before, too. But his eyes were coming out of his head. He was pretty excited.
Pittsburgh Steelers coach Bill Cowher admitted he considered tackling Jacksonville Jaguars Chris Hudson as he ran downfield to score on a game-ending blocked field goal in 1997. Cowher stepped briefly onto the field in an aggressive manner as Hudson passed by him. I could have tackled him. It crossed my mind. But thank God I didn’t, Cowher said.
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