Masculinity In Sports May Be Overshadowing The Player's Mental State

Masculinity In Sports May Be Overshadowing The Player's Mental State

In an industry where physical labor is deemed as entertainment, how does this affect the player mentally?

Last week, NBA all-star Demar DeRozan told The Toronto Sun that he is having a battle with depression and anxiety. "It’s one of the things that no matter how indestructible we look like we are, we’re all human at the end of the day,” says DeRozan, “We all got feelings...all of that. gets the best of you, where times everything in the whole world’s on top of you.”

Professional sports has accepted a persona that all of it players and participants are the elite of the human species in the aspect of athleticism.Though their physical strengths are nothing to disagree with, what about their mental state? We look at professional athletes as entertainment before we look at them as individual people. This complicates the viewing experience as fans when we get shown a human to human connection when following sports.

Let us dive into the core and locker room of professional sports. The major sports like the MLB, NBA, and NFL have adopted an identity of masculinity and that no matter the pain and suffering, to make it in the league, you have to tough it out and give the people what they want. Like a man.

In an environment where expressing your feelings could bare a form of humiliation or receive a feeling of regret after expressing said feelings, the need to be masculine, or simply being someone you're not, could lead to a mental crisis.

Former Miami Dolphin lineman, Jonathan Martin, was recently checked into a mental hospital after he went on a tirade on Instagram. He threatened former teammates Mike Pouncey and Richie Incognito (pictured above) with a cruel caption stating that, "When you're a bully victim and a coward, your options are either suicide or revenge." The post contained a picture of a shotgun and unloaded shells surrounding the gun.He also threatened his old high school, Harvard-Westlake. This is, of course, being a big deal post-Stoneman Douglas. In 2015 he expressed his life in high school with Twitter and Facebook post saying that as "[O]ne of just a handful of minorities, you learn to tone down your size & blackness by becoming shy, introverted, friendly, so you won't scare the little rich white kids or their parents. "

Back in 2013, Martin claimed to be working in a hostile environment while playing for the Dolphins, saying that he took racist, homophobic, misogynistic, and sexually explicit comments directly from Incognito and Pouncey. The LAPD is currently investigating the matter, but what more can you do for someone who wants help but doesn't receive it? After the incident in 2013, Martin was traded to the 49ers and would then be traded to the Panthers to finally retire from a back injury in 2015.

Another, and possibly the most popular, case of this issue is Johnny Manziel. In this case, Johnny came into the league becoming the next great quarterback. But due to the party life of any superstar, Johnny fell into an abyss full of debt and alcohol. The question presented is why didn't people choose to implement a source of guidance instead of just bashing his decisions?

Recently, Johnny has announced a comeback after being out of the league for more than three years. But prior to this comeback, he went through rehab and therapy to finally cope with his possibly life-threatening lifestyle that consumed him on a daily basis. The problem with the way we documented Johnny's issue is that we turned his pain into entertainment. And we fed off his self-destruction and fueled his monster.

Demar DeRozan and his willingness to be open with his mental health is something that most athletes wouldn't dare do. And I personally respect him for doing so. In high school, I quit the football team after having a concussion and I got a total barrage of hate from my former teammates and even my coaches. Simply because it's a cruel perception that an athlete isn't allowed to show emotion or pain when hurt mentally, only physically. Because if you're hurt physically, you did what you're supposed to do. Put your body on the line for a crowd of people.

I hope that we can eliminate this stupid trend and let players express themselves in any way possible. And to lend a helping hand to those who having trouble expressing a desire to receive the help they need. These aren't just athletes, these are people.

Cover Image Credit: Instagram/ Toronto Raptors

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When You Give A Girl A Dad

You give her everything

They say that any male can be a father, but it takes a special person to be a dad. That dads are just the people that created the child, so to speak, but rather, dads raise their children to be the best they can be. Further, when you give a little girl a dad, you give her much more than a father; you give her the world in one man.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her a rock.

Life is tough, and life is constantly changing directions and route. In a world that's never not moving, a girl needs something stable. She needs something that won't let her be alone; someone that's going to be there when life is going great, and someone who is going to be there for her when life is everything but ideal. Dads don't give up on this daughters, they never will.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her a role model.

If we never had someone to look up to, we would never have someone to strive to be. When you give a little girl someone to look up to, you give her someone to be. We copy their mannerisms, we copy their habits, and we copy their work ethic. Little girls need someone to show them the world, so that they can create their own.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her the first boy she will ever love.

And I'm not really sure someone will ever be better than him either. He's the first guy to take your heart, and every person you love after him is just a comparison to his endless, unmatchable love. He shows you your worth, and he shows you what your should be treated like: a princess.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her someone to make proud.

After every softball game, soccer tournament, cheerleading competition, etc., you can find every little girl looking up to their dads for their approval. Later in life, they look to their dad with their grades, internships, and little accomplishments. Dads are the reason we try so hard to be the best we can be. Dads raised us to be the very best at whatever we chose to do, and they were there to support you through everything. They are the hardest critics, but they are always your biggest fans.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her a credit card.

It's completely true. Dads are the reason we have the things we have, thank the Lord. He's the best to shop with too, since he usually remains outside the store the entire time till he is summoned in to forge the bill. All seriousness, they always give their little girls more than they give themselves, and that's something we love so much about you.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her a shoulder to cry on.

When you fell down and cut yourself, your mom looked at you and told you to suck it up. But your dad, on the other hand, got down on the ground with you, and he let you cry. Then later on, when you made a mistake, or broke up with a boy, or just got sad, he was there to dry your tears and tell you everything was going to be okay, especially when you thought the world was crashing down. He will always be there to tell you everything is going to be okay, even when they don't know if everything is going to be okay. That's his job.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her a lifelong best friend.

My dad was my first best friend, and he will be my last. He's stood by me when times got tough, he carried me when I just couldn't do it anymore, and he yelled at me when I deserved it; but the one thing he has never done was give up on me. He will always be the first person I tell good news to, and the last person I ever want to disappoint. He's everything I could ever want in a best friend and more.

Dads are something out of a fairytale. They are your prince charming, your knight in shinny amour, and your fairy godfather. Dads are the reasons we are the people we are today; something that a million "thank you"' will never be enough for.

Cover Image Credit: tristen duhon

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A Beginner's Guide To The World Cup

From Red Cards to Romelu Lukaku, everything you need to know about the biggest event this summer.


The 21st World Cup Kicks off tomorrow, as the host nation Russia takes on Saudi Arabia. This summer, people from all around the world and every walk of life will be tuning to watch the World Cup, some perhaps for their first time! If you are going to be one of these first-timers, here is what you'll need to know to be able to understand the competition better and possibly increase your enjoyment of it.

1. The basic rules of soccer (or football, but for the sake of this article, soccer).

Soccer is a fairly simple game in concept, unlike American football, which has a multitude of rules and complexities that can both figuratively and literally set your team backwards.

- Scoring:

A goal is worth 1, there are no extra points, there is no 3 pt line, there are no field goals. Simple.

- Fouls:

Soccer has a bad reputation for being a "non-contact sport" because every contact is thought to be a foul, but this is not the truth. Technically, the only way you can out strength someone for the ball without getting called for a foul is through a shoulder to shoulder challenge. However, this rule gets very grey and fuzzy on corner kicks, where there is lots of shoving and pushing, but it rarely results in a goal. In general, non serious fouls include: pushing an opponent to get the ball, tripping an opponent to get the ball, obstructing an opponent when you do not have possession of the ball, among others, usually fouls are relatively obvious.

Yellow card fouls are usually just more serious versions of the fouls above, but also include pulling someone down by their jersey, yelling at a Referee, being a repeat offender in a single match of smaller fouls, or sometimes, if a ref deems that a certain player on one team is being targeted, he'll tell the other team to unfairly foul that player will get a yellow card. Toward the end of games you'll see yellow cards for time-wasting, which usually entails: goalies waiting more than the allotted 6 (ish) seconds to kick the ball after having it in their hands, goalies waiting too long to kick the ball from a goal kick, players waiting too long to kick the ball following a foul, or player kicking moving the ball on an opponent's free kick in order to take time off of the clock. If a player earns himself more than two yellow cards in a match, he will be given a red card and sent off of the field for the rest of the game and suspended for the next match.

Red Card offenses are very serious offenses that usually either endangering the safety of another player (i.e. elbowing, punching, headbutting, a very late slide tackle (especially if the studs of his cleats are up), or even biting) or denying a clear goal scoring opportunity (if the last defender back for a team illegally takes down the opponent with the ball, who otherwise would have been one on one with the goalie)

- Penalty Kicks:

A penalty kick is awarded to the attacking team if a foul was committed inside the 18 yard box (the larger of the two boxes down by the goal) or if the defending team alters the path of the ball with either their arm or their hand (the exception is if your arm is by your side or tucked into your chest). For a penalty kick, the shooter is 12 yards away from the goalie and must move forward in one continuous motion (so the shooter cannot fully stop on his run-up).

Alright with the basics out of the way we can move on to the fun stuff!

2. The past tournament

Alright enough with the monotonous stuff, here are some fun bits about the World Cup itself.

- This will be the 21st world cup, the previous 20 have only been won by 8 different countries, which would seem to make most countries not names Germany, France, or Brazil feel pretty pessimistic about their odds, but that is not quite the case.

- Most recent tournaments results:

The United States has made it to the knock out in the last three tournaments, including surviving 2014's group of death including Christiano Ronaldo's Portugal, eventual Champions Germany, and Ghana. In the same tournament, Spain (2010 Champions), Italy, and England did not make it out of their groups, so we were kind of a big deal (emphasis on the past tense there).

As previously mentioned, the Germans won the 2014 tournament behind Thomas Muller's Silver boot and Neuer's incredible shotstopping.

The Spaniards won the 2010 cup, with Barcelona Legend Andres Iniesta scored the extra time winner.

In 2006, The Italians topped the world behind their golden generation players spurred along by the Italian Calcio being the strongest league in the world at that time.

- Notable moments from recent tournaments:

Zidane headbutt in the final vs Italy

Pretty much everything Italy did in their 2006 run

Image result for italy world cup liftJohn Brooks' late winner for the US in 2014 vs Ghana

Robin Van Persie's diving header vs Spain

Gotze's World Cup winner vs Argentina

Landon Donovan's stoppage time winner vs Algeria to send the USA through to the knockout round.

3. The present tournament

- Notable Absences:

The United States failed to qualify on a terrible day I try to block out of my memory, which included literally everything that could go wrong, going wrong (and also a few goals scored by teams we needed to not score that should not have counted because of fouls and offsides, etc)

Italy made it to the Euro knockouts but unfortunately drew the hardest team of the bunch, Sweden, who scored early and held on to that goal over the 2 legs. But after winning the tournament in 2006, they were the bottom of their group in the tournaments following.

The Dutch were the runners-up in 2010, the third-place team, who beat Brazil 3-0, in 2014, and did not even get close to qualifying this year.

Mario Gotze scored the game-winner that won the Germans the World Cup 4 years ago and yet, he was not even invited to the preliminary squad. >:(

- Notable teams:

Following their stunning victory over England in the 2016, the Icelandic team have made it to the Tournament for the first time in their history. Be on the lookout for their famous "Viking Clap" after their games. I also have them going through to the knockout round because they play together as a team better than most.

Image result for viking clap

The English National Team seems to be on the up, they are one of the youngest teams in the tournament and have a lot of experience in their side. The most notable names from their team this year will be Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling and the freeze fame legend Phil Jones.

Image result for phil jones facesImage result for phil jones faces

Belgium's "Golden Generation" appears to be upon them now. But manager Roberto Martinez chose to let a personal dispute keep out one of the top midfielders in the world in Radja Nainggolan, and instead chose to take 2 players from the Chinese league, which is notorious for killing careers. But fresh off of a good first year at Manchester United, striker Romelu Lukaku looks to continue his hot scoring streak. At 25 years old, he is already Belguim's top goalscorer.

Image result for hazard and lukaku

Poland was a darkhorse team I had hoped for but their star defender, Kamil Glik, recently injured himself attempting a Bicycle kick during training and is likely to miss nearly all of the tournament because of it.

For a defender, he has an incredible shot on him, he will be missed at the tournament

I do not think Mexico will be able to make it out of their group. To me, their group seems to be the toughest of the tournament, and I think there is an outside chance that South Korea's Son Hueng-Min will pull out some magic to send them through to the knockout round. I mean how can you not love this man?

I believe that Serbia also has an outside chance of making it through with the Midfield pairing of Matic and Milinkovic-Savic, along with dead ball specialist Aleksander Kolarov and Forward Adem Ljajic.

Seriously, Kolarov is very good at free kicks...

I have no idea how the host nation of Russia is going to play. Sometimes they seem like a competent team and other times they seem lost and hopeless, but I think they have enough talent to make it through to the knockout stage. I am in the minority here, as most people believe that Egypt, led by Mo Salah, will edge them for that. But at least they have some of the best kits from the tournament

adidas Russia Away Jersey 2018

- Group Bottomers, briefly:

Saudi Arabia, nearly all of their players play in their own national league which is 1. Bad and 2. Their players are bad so 3. They are bad, it would take a miracle for them to get more than a point.

Iran, see Saudi Arabia, with the exception of Sardar Azmoun, and Alireza Jahanbakhsh, whose name I had to copy and paste for obvious reasons.

Australia has a small bit of hope behind Aaron Mooy and Matthew Leckie, but not that much hope, considering their group looks tough.

Tunisia has little to no hope unless England collapses in a major tournament like only England can.

- Knockout Stage (win or go home):

If this young, exciting England team decides to play like a young, exciting team, I can see them making the quarterfinals or the Semi's, likely beating Colombia or Germany along the way.

Image result for english national team vs nigeria

Personally, I don't think Germany is well equipped enough to go the distance again, but it is never wise to bet against Germany so that is what I am going to do. Similar to the Spaniards, they lack pace on the wings, but they have a strong midfield and a quality finisher in Timo Werner, who is looking to pick up where Muller left off 4 years ago.

Image result for german national team vs saudi arabia

Belgium will likely not make it as far as they think they will. They are an oddity as they never seem to play as good as they have the potential to. Eden Hazard seems to be a ghost half of the time but, if Romelu Lukaku can continue to play the way he has been playing recently for them, they have a legitimate shot at going far.

Brazil will be good, as they always are. They seem destined for at least the Semi's again and will hope to avoid another embarrassment like their 7-1 loss to the Germans in the Semi's of 2014. They have a very solid midfield with Fernandinho and Casemiro as well as Filipe Luis and Dani Alves on the flanks, not to mention one of the up-and-coming young goalkeepers in Alisson Becker.

Here, we see Neymar take a man's soul then leave him for dust...

Spain is another entirely unpredictable team. Similar to the Italians in 2010, Spain could not get out of their group in 2014. Although I am quite confident they will make it out of their group just fine, I cannot see them going far in the tournament. They have nearly no speed in attack and not quite an ideal striker, especially considering Costa hasn't played much over the past year. But one thing they have going for them is their stellar defense of Barcelona teammates Jordi Alba and Pique, along with Madrid teammates Sergio Ramos and Dani Carvajal.

Image result for spanish national team vs switzerland

Argentina is my pick to win the tournament, not because they have the most complete roster, far from it in fact, but because an angry and motivated Lionel Messi is unstoppable, the only team to have really done so this calendar year has been AS Roma in leg 2 of the UCL Quarter Finals. Now my worry with that pick is most of their players are poor for their country (see Sergio Aguero and Gonzolo Higuain). But Paulo Dybala could be a real bright spot for them this tournament and I look forward to seeing play.

Since only a handful of countries have ever even won the Cup and there have been an insanely small amount of Cinderella stories over the years, why should small countries even really care? Now I know that that is an extremely pessimistic view of the Tournament but it is true, so the question remains. Why should a national team spend millions of dollars to show up and compete for a title they have no real shot of winning? The answer is national pride. The world cup is the best chance for a country to prove their worth versus other top nations from around the world. Countries take huge pride in just making it out of their group and into the knockout stage.

Now, you may be asking yourself, "who should I root for?"

Well, it is simple, you just have to follow your personality!

If you are a fan of Chaos, pain, extreme uncertainty, and you have the tendency to be a cynical person then England is the -country for you! This national team has everything, fans who loathe the team and will be disappointed no matter what happens, players who have built up resentment for each other due to heated rivalries within their domestic league and as a result do not often play well together, and of course, a defender who makes the best faces whilst defending. [Phil Jones] Headlining the "Three Lions" are Harry Kane, Jamie Vardy, Marcus Rashford, and unrealistic expectations from the fans. The constant mood is: "hey at least we qualified unlike Wales, Scotland, Ireland, and the Dutch!

If you like winning and only winning look no further than Germany, the reigning champions have the highest odds of winning the Cup this year and are poised for another deep run. Headlining the Germans are Mats Hummels, Manuel Neuer, Marco Reus, and the unfortunate likelihood that at least 2 starters will be injured before the group stage is over.

Only one of the four Germans prominently pictured below is going back to the world cup this year.

Image result for germany world cup

If you are a passionate person and want a fan base that reflects that, then Peru is by far the best option for you. They are one of the top ticket buyers for the world cup despite being a relatively small country. Their fans love their team and the team loves their fans.

Image result for peru soccer passion

If you like a team that fights for their brothers, Iceland is where you should put your hopes. The Icelandic National Team is fresh off of a knockout round win vs England (you remember that Chaos and pain bit from a few paragraphs up, this was a big part of it) at the Euros and hungry to prove themselves once again. The odds of them winning the tournament are only slightly smaller than the odds of most people being able to correctly pronounce nearly any name on their roster. Leading them into battle is their captain Aron Gunnarson, and star players Alfreð Finnbogason and Gylfi Sigurðsson, plus these fun names from their roster: Hólmar Örn Eyjólfsson, Jón Daði Böðvarsson, and Hörður Björgvin Magnússon.

I mean if that viking clap and this video, directed by their Goalkeeper Hannes Halldórsson, does not get you excited about Iceland at the world cup, I don't know what will.

Finally, if you like beautiful attacking, graceful skills, corrupt governments, and likely mass rioting if and when they lose, then rooting for Brazil is the best for you. Brazil has extremely talented attackers like Neymar, Willian, Coutinho, Gabriel Jesus, an actual statue of Jesus, and best of all, Brazilian Dom Draper (Alisson Becker).

Image result for alisson becker

But most importantly, if you enjoy the Schadenfreude you get from watching an entire nation fall apart on twitter or through the press, then just watching the world cup and following along is fun too. What is most Important about the world cup goes beyond 22 men kicking a ball around for 90 minutes, it is about entire countries putting their social and political differences aside coming together for four weeks to shout and yell for their colors, for their flag, and for their people in one voice to tell the 23 men that win lose or draw that they believe in them.


My Bracket

Nike's 2014 World Cup ad:

The best World Cup songs:

Cover Image Credit:


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