Football helmets clash and shoulder pads crunch together. A baseball soars through the air after colliding with a bat. A diver spins and twists before a splash signals his entry into the pool.
Anyone could tell you that these three sports are completely different, but they have things in common too. The athletes driving for success. The cheering fans awaiting anxiously for the score at the end. The pain of defeat. So why do we defend and claim our sport is the most difficult?
I’m a swimmer. To me, I’m the pinnacle of athleticism. I pull myself through chlorinated water the same distance[s] that C team cross country runs, the same distance that would require sprinting across a football field 60 times, while not breathing over three quarters of the time. To a wrestler, I’m a “Speedo wearing faggot” that splashes around in the pool and shaves his legs for state.
But swimming and wrestling aren’t that different. Neither wrestling nor swimming scores points from putting a ball into a goal. In both sports, the athletes wear usually tight and somewhat revealing clothing, and we both make fun of each other for it.
Then why is there hate between us? As a freshman on the swim team, I saw seniors and juniors joking around about the other teams, insults being tossed in between the rows of lockers. And if the seniors do it, I should do it too.
It’s a tradition of hostility; I don’t know why we do it, but we see it, and we just do it too. It just seems to come naturally to all guys.
This guy thing that drives us to hate other sports, we all have it. A testosterone based instinct that makes us feel the need to be on top. This same need to be on top has destroyed cities and toppled nations in the past. But at East, the most we can do be good at our sport and let everyone know our sport is the hardest. There is just something distinctively natural and fun about trashing on other sports.
I should tell you that we all need to stop and just be friends. But I won’t. That would make me a hypocrite. Just because I don’t understand something doesn’t mean I don’t do it.
I would like to not hate wrestling. But I do. I expect to join in with the other swimmers this year, when we turn our lockers into drums, when our chant of “JV WRESTLING” fills the locker room. It’s our way of getting pumped up. Our way of making fun of the people continually calling us faggots. And in those moments, I’ll be a hypocrite. I’ll be the one that loves to hate.