Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Hazing vs. Initiating

As if it wasn't enough for my longtime football-fan friends that the increasing awareness of the dangers of concussions is likely pressuring NFL authorities to make game-changing rules, now the abusive and threatening messages from Miami Dolphins guard Richie Incognito to teammate Jonathan Martin might inspire the powers that be to ban/limit in-team hazing.

While the denotation of "hazing" can't help its own case, my experiences of hazing, as a newcomer in a few organizations, have been nothing but playful, harmless and productive in initiating me into the community and excellence of the group. Perhaps it was better termed as "initiating"?

"Hazing," on the other hand, may not have the basis and goal of building team chemistry (e.g. trust), hence why such scandals happen when hazing rituals "go too far." Minnesota Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier has made efforts to ban hazing on his team.

"Initiating" newcomers is a creative way of building community, excellence and future leadership. "Hazing" seems to reek of divisiveness, arrogance and in-team abuse that leads to, among other things, discord, which isn't good for a team sport.

What are you thoughts on hazing and initiating?