So Chris’s basketball league is back in season. They had their first game yesterday.
John, who grew up next door to Chris, had organized the team. It’s just a bunch of guys who like to play, and aren’t super-duper competitive. They do their best and have a good time.
This is the second season Chris has been a part of. John worked hard to get a bunch of guys together, enough to have at least 5 guys show up for every game. Which means that most of the guys don’t really know each other, and so the practicing happens when the game happens.
But last sunday, they were getting to know each other and working on plays and what to expect from each other. There were 7 guys. When one guy was pulled in from the bench, he and the guy coming out of the game would give a low slap of hands as they pass.
I was a bit jolted with this. THIS was the famous touchy-feely teammate behavior exhibited by sports players. Haven’t you seen it when the ball players will smack each other on the ass, or do a hand-holding kind of thing?
See, when it with your TEAM, it’s not gay.
Female athletes do this sort of thing as well. But the thing is, females IN GENERAL do this sort of thing. We just do.
We hug, we touch, we get physical with one another in a way that American men do not get with one another. At least not outside of a sports game.
I asked Chris about it after the game.
“Yeah, it’s important to let each other know that they did a good job. Or that it’s okay if they made a mistake, that we can just keep on playing.”
Well, I agree. I completely agree.
But I wonder why they need a game to do that? Why not by more physical with each other in daily life? Don’t we all need to know that we did a good job, or that it’ll be okay that we made a mistake?
The thing is, I am not trying to tell men to change how they are. They are what they are. Men feel comfortable giving one another physical affection (YES, I said it) when they are playing together as a team.
I listened to the Glenn and Helen Podcast, interviewing Conn Iggulden about his latest :
A Dangerous Book for Boys
Conn talks about how it’s important to let boys be boys–that boys and girls are just different and that’s okay.
Well, I’m a fan of men. I love men. So, it’s interesting to see a herd of them in their habitat.
But it made me think a little. It is possible to consider that women are always interested in teamwork. It’s not that we are not competitive, but we are always aware of the other people.
And maybe, just maybe, that is an explanation for why we are so easily affectionate with one another. We know that life is full of work. There is so much work to be done, that we better be connected with our teammates. The game never ends.