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The Ideology of Sporting Stereotypes

Megan Warwick
Sports Editor  

Meg is a the Sports Website Editor for InQuire, and enjoys writing articles for the Sports, Entertainment and Culture sections. She has been a part of several societies/sport at university and extra curricular activity, including Keynes President and Women’s Lacrosse 2nds Team Captain.

Meathead. Drunken. Hostile. Dense. Laddish. Butch. They’re always walking around in their ‘American Football’ merchandise. Never without a fist pump. Showing off their hockey sticks. These are some of the few word and ideals centred around university sports team stereotypes. There’s no denying that some indivduals may be like this, you’re bound to come across the odd sports clique or laddish comments, but you’ll find different types of people everywhere you go. So why is there such a stigma about sports clubs? Where is this stereotyping coming from?

Many opinions have arisen on the subject as a lot of students at university are fearful or uninterested in joining sports clubs due to ‘not fitting in with the expectations’. What expectations? Surely to be accepted into a sport, all an individual must be is interested in the sport. Prehaps, maybe good at the sport? But it appears to run deeper then that.

Firstly, it is suggested that sports clubs have become too exclusive. Individuals believe that friendships have already been made and alliances have already been formed. Seriously, this is not the hunger games. Although there may be hostility from some individuals, you’re going to get a bad apple, but a lot of sports teams are eager for more people to join due to an increased budget based on more members, more players for their sports teams and simply to have more people to socialise with. Also, due to influx of first years once third years leave, there is plenty of room for more players. University is a time of change and a part of that is meeting new people. No matter the stigma, majority of sports clubs are inclusive.

Secondly, individuals do not want to join sports teams because of the amount they cost. It’s true, sports clubs membership fees are expensive (ranging from £25-£75), plus the cost of kit and gym membership. However, this should not be a reason to be deterred from a sport. There are sporting bursaries at most universities, including UKC, so anyone can have the chance to be apart of a team. Money is no obstacle.

Thirdly, and most found, a lot of people are scared of joining university sports teams because of the stereotypes they hold. You’ve seen those bad 90s American movies with the cheerleeding squad that only takes ‘the hottest talent’ or the jocks who either play basketball or American Football that only accept those who have a high social standing. This is the 2000s, and this is England. And this is not high school. Plus, those Hollywood movies are highly generated piles of fiction. Who says you have to be a heavy drinker to be on the rugby team? Who says you have to be skinny to be an athlete? Who says you have you look good to fit in with the sportsmen/women? No one did.

The only reason these stereotypes are being created are through social construction. It’s time to move on and find something you truly enjoy. Universities such as University of Kent are inclusive, accepting university. The wide range of activities, especially in regards to sports, allows individuals to find a hobby that caters to their interests. Anyone can be apart of a team. I’m not saying that you’ll fit in with every single sport, some people just don’t mesh well or enjoy particular areas. I am a firm believer of the idea that there is something out there for everyone. You just have to swat away that stigma to find them.

Stereotypes are being squashed more and more each time, people breaking into their own and not just following the herd. Others may talk you into the idea that sporting is for a certain type of person, which creates a vicious circle of the same types of people joining sport because others are too fearful to claim it as their own. Let’s create a new circle, where it takes a forward thinking individual to break into something new.

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