ReligiousGoal Celebrations in Sports
Religionis perceivable as human beings` relation to something that theyconsider sacred, holy, divine, or spiritual (Obare, 2000).Functionalists have linked religion with the actions and beliefs thatrelate to symbols or ultimate concerns which convey conceptions thatdepict a general order of life. People use rituals and religiousbeliefs to develop psychological support whenever they are uncertainabout particular outcomes. As a result, religion provides a system ofmeanings that people can use to make sense out of their lives. In thesame vein, since religion and rituals are shared, they offer a basisfor group integration and social control, both at the personal andindividual levels. Since religion has the power to bring thebefore-mentioned into being, religious beliefs have become familiarin particular sports contexts (Obare, 2000). A deeper understandingof the influence of religion on goal celebrations in sports is,therefore, prudent.
Sportscan be viewed as institutionalized physical activities whereprocedures are fixed externally and beforehand (Obare, 2000). In abroader context, the term sport embraces gymnastics, athletics, andactivities that entail individual or group cooperation such asfootball or soccer. The before-mentioned considered, religion, insports, plays the role of fostering friendship. People converge instadiums and playgrounds to watch their favorite teams or sportsmencompete. The ‘A` goal celebration is an example of the impact ofrituals in sports (BBC NEWS, 2009).
Pastyears have seen a fair share of goal celebration rituals. Initiativessuch as the robot, rocking the baby, and even Robbie Fowler`sline-snorting incident have rocked football stadiums all over theworld for a long time (BBC NEWS, 2009). Footballers consistently findnovel ways to show their joy after scoring goals. These activitiescan be linked to religion since they are in tandem with the viewpointthat functionalists posit as the definition of religion: actions andbeliefs that relate to symbols or ultimate concerns that conveyconceptions that depict a general order of life. Thus, symbols suchas the ‘A` Salute, which is used by footballers to show their joyafter scoring a goal, can be viewed as religious goal celebrations insports (BBC NEWS, 2009).
The‘A` Salute is one of the latest goal celebrations in the footballworld (BBC NEWS, 2009). Footballers spell out ‘A` using threefingers after scoring a goal. Micah Richards, a Manchester Citydefender, Wigan Athletics` Marcus Bent and Titus Bramble andEverton`s Andy Johnson are some of the famous premiership playersthat use the ‘A` salute. This salute is part of a campaign that wasstarted by a group of players, referred to as A-Star, to helpyoungsters get a more accessible pathway to employment via sports orother creative activities. In short, the ‘A` Salute is visualshorthand for "every child is a star." Fitz Hall, aco-founder of the A-Star initiative and a QPR defender, asserts thatthe sign is a way to help young people express themselves in a mannerthat is positive, and follow responsible role models who do notpopularize drugs, guns, or crime.
Ina recap of the above discussion, religion is perceivable as humanbeings` relation to something that they consider sacred, holy,divine, or spiritual. Religion provides a system of meanings that areused to make sense out of a person`s life. Thus, through symbols,sportsmen can celebrate their achievements (goals) in a manner thatcan be best described as being religious.
BBCNEWS, (2009). BBCNEWS | UK | Magazine | What`s the `A` goal celebration all about?News.bbc.co.uk.Retrieved 24 June 2016, fromhttp://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/7175268.stm
Obare,R. (2000). Can Sports Exist Without Religion? 1-9. Retrieved fromhttp://www.shef.ac.uk/polopoly_fs/1.71451!/file/obare.pdf