Football and Waldorf circus

 

From: Tarjei Straume
Date: Sun Feb 8, 2004 2:33 pm
Subject: Football and Waldorf circus

They're discussing football and brain damage on the WC. There is a little confusion here because by "football", Europeans think of soccer, while Americans think more of 'contact sport' and that oval ball. Waldorf students don't play football in school for some reason. Perhaps because it's competitive.

When I heard of this, I thought we should picture Steiner with a football in his hand to promote the sport - although I can't stand the flag waving, heavy drinking and sometimes heavy fighting football culture swimming in ball-money and media attention, but that's beside the point here. Well now, if the soccer ball, which is round, represents the earth, we are actually kicking the earth around when we play this game. The little Napoleon in our bellies is having a - a ball. So I was suggesting to make up some "Steiner quote" like that to fool the PLANS'ers, but the idea was discouraged, because if they did some investigation and couldn't locate the reference, they would insist it had been edited out and hidden somewhere in the unspeakable Goetheanum basement where secret rituals are taking place with American oval balls, which represent the shape the earth will become if the Superbowl becomes too popular.

Cheers,

Tarjei
http://uncletaz.com/

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From: aesopo_aeternus
Date: Sun Feb 8, 2004 3:46 pm
Subject: Re: Football and Waldorf circus

Too funny!

Hello all. I did a turn posting on the Waldorf Critics list some time ago, but it was too much trouble to continue. My email problems plus long absences from the board led to me being unsubbed one too many times.

But I'm interested to see you trying to lure the critics to debate here--out of the reach of the hypocritical and arbitrarily enforced "ad hom" policy. Good luck. Some of those critics could really use a little change of scenery...

Waldorf students don't play football in school for some reason. Perhaps because it's competitive.

Waldorf students here do play soccer. Waldorf students also compete in track, Olympic games, basketball, volleyball, etc. They don't play football--and though there are probably many good reasons not to have football in Waldorf schools, a simple and straightforward explanation would do fine. Most Waldorf schools would have a tough time pulling together 20 or so kids who want to play football, and if they did, they'd have a very hard time finding similar sized schools to compete against. Football is very hard to do when you have a small school.

As was so often the case when I was participating there, a straightforward question about football is bound to generate quite a few crazy histrionics. So many of the critics prefer any answers to such questions to come loaded with ominous overtones--common sense answers don't satisfy them. What they're looking for is something "woo-woo" (a term one of them used), something so oddball and obscure that they can feel a self-satisfied reassurance now that their OWN children are no longer under Waldorf's Evil Spell.

Anyway, soccer players hit the ball with their heads. Pediatricians and advocates for sports safety have linked these headers to brain injury. The American Academy of Pediatrics is quite concerned about the headers. Fifty percent of professional soccer players exhibit evidence of some level of injury...35% serious recreational players do same.

Waldorf critics spend so much time looking at the world through anti-Steinerism, they've lost touch with what the mainstream is saying, and what reasons IT gives for goings on. Some of the critics seem to behave as if they're living in some kind of sci-fi RPG detective game. Which is fine, but ironic and amusing since they're convinced it's the Anthroposophists that are acting crazy.

I'm not an anthroposophist, btw. But thanks for having me.

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From: Mike Helsher
Date: Sun Feb 8, 2004 7:12 pm
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Re: Football and Waldorf circus

Someone wrote:

I'm not an anthroposophist, btw. But thanks for having me.

Hi and thanks for your input. Would it be to much to ask for your name?

Truth and Love

Mike Helsher

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From: aesopo_aeternus
Date: Sun Feb 8, 2004 7:23 pm
Subject: Re: Football and Waldorf circus

Sorry. I notice some of you have managed to list your name in addition to your email, but I don't know how to do this. My name is Linda Clemens, and I believe you and I participated in a few threads together on the critics list.

Nice to see you again.

I notice another critic has surfaced there to toss in more Waldorf woo-woo about soccer. Our school has soccer. San Francisco Waldorf has soccer. If anybody bothered to google it, they'd see many Waldorf schools with soccer teams. Leaves me shaking my head. I almost half miss the crazy debates that would go on there, that nutty disconnect between what they think they know or think they heard, and what they could see with their own eyes if they bothered to look.

--- In anthroposophy_tomorrow@yahoogroups.com, Mike Helsher wrote:

Someone wrote:

I'm not an anthroposophist, btw. But thanks for having me.

Hi and thanks for your input. Would it be to much to ask for your name?

Truth and Love

Mike Helsher

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From: Mike Helsher
Date: Sun Feb 8, 2004 8:06 pm
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Re: Football and Waldorf circus

Linda wrote:

Sorry. I notice some of you have managed to list your name in addition to your email, but I don't know how to do this. My name is Linda Clemens, and I believe you and I participated in a few threads together on the critics list.

Hi Linda,

I think I do remember you. There was this young Waldorf grad, David, I think his name was, and he was getting flamed by this guy called Lemiur, or something like that. I got so mad that I signed up and had quite a "pissing contest" with the guy. I was surprised that I didn't get booted. David was so appalled he e-mailed me off list and asked me to leave the poor guy alone. I couldn't help my self though, until DD finally put a stop to it.

I wasn't on the list when this Michael Coop guy was, but I have read allot of the stuff in the wc archives, and I' pretty sure that this Lemiur guy was actually him. You got into it with him too; quite a circus a. ;^)

Oh the good old days of "waxing eloquently" on the critics list.

Nice to have you Linda. And thanks for fighting the good fight over on the WC.

Truth and Love

Mike

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From: aesopo_aeternus
Date: Sun Feb 8, 2004 9:14 pm
Subject: Re: Football and Waldorf circus

--- In anthroposophy_tomorrow@yahoogroups.com, Mike Helsher wrote:

I think I do remember you. There was this young Waldorf grad, David, I think his name was, and he was getting flamed by this guy called Lemiur, or something like that.

Yep, that was me :-). Lumiere......... who appeared suddenly and contributed next to nothing that I could see except an endless barrage of pompous and gratuitous insults, aided and abetted by others hungry to throw a cheap shot or two of their own. The moderator and his "Administrator Warning" whistle were strangely quiet.

I got so mad that I signed up and had quite a "pissing contest" with the guy. I was surprised that I didn't get booted. David was so appalled he e-mailed me off list and asked me to leave the poor guy alone.

"Poor guy?" Lumiere was acting like a two bit street thug wearing a borrowed suit.

You got into it with him too; quite a circus a. ;^)

Yeah...a circus. And it seemed to me that lumiere ducked out just before the Dancing Bears were herded back into their cages. I didn't know who he was, but there was no mistaking what he was about.

Oh the good old days of "waxing eloquently" on the critics list.

Yeah, the good old days .......

Nice to have you Linda. And thanks for fighting the good fight over on the WC.

Thanks, and same to you. Linda

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From: VALENTINA BRUNETTI
Date: Sun Feb 8, 2004 10:17 pm
Subject: R: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Football and Waldorf circus

UP WITH THE SOCCER!!!!!!
2004 Feb 8
ROMA-JUVENTUS 4-0
scorers : DACOURT,TOTTI,CASSANO,CASSANO.

ROMAAAA!!

----- Original Message -----
From: Tarjei Straume
Sent: Sunday, February 08, 2004 11:33 PM
Subject: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Football and Waldorf circus

They're discussing football and brain damage on the WC. There is a little confusion here because by "football", Europeans think of soccer, while Americans think more of 'contact sport' and that oval ball. Waldorf students don't play football in school for some reason. Perhaps because it's competitive.

When I heard of this, I thought we should picture Steiner with a football in his hand to promote the sport - although I can't stand the flag waving, heavy drinking and sometimes heavy fighting football culture swimming in ball-money and media attention, but that's beside the point here. Well now, if the soccer ball, which is round, represents the earth, we are actually kicking the earth around when we play this game. The little Napoleon in our bellies is having a - a ball. So I was suggesting to make up some "Steiner quote" like that to fool the PLANS'ers, but the idea was discouraged, because if they did some investigation and couldn't locate the reference, they would insist it had been edited out and hidden somewhere in the unspeakable Goetheanum basement where secret rituals are taking place with American oval balls, which represent the shape the earth will become if the Superbowl becomes too popular.

Cheers,

Tarjei
http://uncletaz.com/

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From: Frank Thomas Smith
Date: Mon Feb 9, 2004 8:26 am
Subject: RE: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Football and Waldorf circus

UP WITH THE SOCCER!!!!!!
2004 Feb 8
ROMA-JUVENTUS 4-0
scorers : DACOURT,TOTTI,CASSANO,CASSANO.

ROMAAAA!!

Hmmmm. First of all, I admit that I am prejudiced against soccer, mostly because I live in Argentina, where soccer (futbol) is the opium of the people. The game itself isn't particularly violent, but the fans are grouped into gangs that not only fight but kill each other on a fairly regular basis. And not only here, but all over Latin America, and even in Europe the hooligans are epidemic. When I lived in Germany they didn't even let Brit fans into the country when an English team was playing. I haven't heard that this happens in the U.S:, maybe because few there give a damn, because they're too concerned with baseball (see the esoteric aspects of same at: http://southerncrossreview.org/12/diamond.htm

Now, to what Steiner said. In his usual democratic manner: No soccer in the Waldorf school! Why? the 2 reasons I remember are - 1) The head is the seat of the brain and is used for thinking. Soccer is the only human activity in which the head is used as an tool (to hammer the ball). 2) the round ball is the shape of the human head. Continually kicking it unconsciously engenders violence against humanity. Please don't anyone ask me for references, I'm writing from memory, and that's only the gist of what he said.

I don't know of any esoteric aspects of American football (they're still occult), but although it is physically more violent than soccer, the ball is oval and is only kicked occasionally anyway. (There's a little Argentine guy named Gramatica who plays for I-forget-which NFL team and who specializes in kicking extra points and field goals. I worry, though, that if the defence ever gets to him he'll be squashed like a bug.) Also, it involves intricate mathematical coordination and engenders the baring of boobs at the SuperBowl.

so: DOWN WITH SOCCER!

Frank

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From: golden3000997
Date: Mon Feb 9, 2004 4:52 pm
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Football and Waldorf circus

Hello Frank and Everyone!

OK - here's my two cent contribution to the theme. The explanation that I heard at the Sacrmento Waldorf School while interning is, as has been usual in my experience, a more elaborate and complex one. And, as usual in Waldorf Education, very little applies to "the child" en masse. There is so much distinction between children every year, sometimes every month!!

What I was given to understand, is that it is the activity of Kicking that is undesirable in children younger than 14 - until the releasing of the astral body, because it concentrates too much life force energy from the etheric down into the feet (the metabolic system) and, since the etheric forces (freed at the change of teeth) are now being used in the rhythmic system, with "heart-thinking" as we strive to nurture it in Waldorf Education from First to Eighth grade, a lot of concentration of energy in an activity such as soccer or other kicking based sports "drags down" the emerging thought energies of the child into the lower limbic system. Baseball and basketball are preferable, because the energy stays more in the middle zone of the body. The phenomenon that was pointed out to me and that I constantly observe whenever I see pictures of professional athletes (more so in American Football than European/ South American soccer) is to see the size of many of the players' necks and shoulders. It's like something has "sunk down" from their heads. I have seen the change in adolescent boys who play football. It can be quite startling.

And, as happens so often with "Waldorf theory" things get snatched out of context and applied willy-nilly to all ages and circumstances and this makes it usually just sound nuts. As I understand it, it is fine for the high school, and probably not that harmful for 7th & 8th graders in today's world to play either of these sports. But there are probably a number of good reasons to hold off with younger children. There is so much in today's world that seeks to "drag them down" into their lower limbic anyway, that it is harder and harder to help them keep heads raised toward the stars. Also, the whole question of "organized sports" as they exist in the United States has its share of "horror stories" of over zealous parents and all kinds of bad adult examples.

Personally, I wouldn't seek to prevent children playing soccer on their own volition on the playground at recess. And I wouldn't advise a parent whose child had a real emotional attachment to a sport like soccer because of role models he or she admired either in professional sports or in his or her family, to prohibit their joining a team. But I would recommend sometimes a "balancing" act - such as making sure that the child also was encouraged to study a musical instrument or join a chorus or some other such "heart" activity that he or she enjoyed. Also, for some individual children, especially those little "airy-fairy" ones, a little soccer might be a very good thing, as long as it wasn't in a setting that was too harshly competetive. Might be really good for some of the phlegmatics, too, but again, one would have to watch out that the atmosphere was positive and supportive, not harsh and critical. Of course, plenty of cholerics would probably love soccer, etc. If they were really set on it, as I said I would say it's fine, as long as lots of other areas of their lives were being attended to (especially reading and "homework"). The melancholics who like sport are probably mostly melancholic - choleric, so the same idea would apply as to the cholerics proper. "Super-melancholics" probably just watch from the sidelines and fantasize about playing. (Please take these all as generalizations).

A little bit of lots of sports can and should be introduced to the children over the eight year class, at whatever time feels right to the teacher with his or her own set of kids and the curriculum. Sports, like all other aspects of the curriculum have wonderful tie-ins to the history of mankind and to the development of mankind as a whole. It is just a matter of not getting "stuck" in time or bringing things in too early or avoiding things that the children are growing into.

As far as early childhood education is concerned, I have watched children play and kick on the playground (I always had balls available) and I don't remember ever saying "don't do that." But I do think I would have and probably did get out there and encourage some throwing games. Actually, the throwing/catching ball games are even more challenging to younger children and they love it when you set up "baskets" or other "targets" or get some together to try to "keep it up in the air". I have also observed that the children who naturally gravitated toward kicking tended to be a bit more aggressive and less willing to play more cooperative games. This is not meant to be a judgment, just a suggestion that teachers and parents really try to observe their children on the playground or in the yard with friends and try to be objective and say, "What do I really see in front of me? What is my child expressing here? What is my child receiving from this activity? Is is mostly beneficial for his or her particular personality? Or do I see a trend that may need something to balance it over time?"

Also, for young children (before 7 definitely) sports should only be games and the emphasis should be on everyone playing together, not winners and losers.

I think the best of modern educational psychology would back me up on that and I am willing to do some reseach if anyone feels that this is an unfounded statement. Even the early "second seven" finds children still awfully fragile emotionally and competitive sport can be too much for most of them. Observation and knowing the individual child is always the key as well as good DISCERNMENT!!!

I lost my love of football (American) when the 49ers lost the third Superbowl back in the ? late seventies??? O MY GOD - how OLD am I??? There will never be another Montana/ Rice/ Craig/ Taylor combo - never!! : (

How about CRICKET?? Anyone else on this planet watch LAGAAN????

Love,
Christine

Message reposted in another thread

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From: at
Date: Mon Feb 9, 2004 9:05 am
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Football (soccer in the US) and Waldorf circus

I've looked, and Steiner does not say anyting about soccer in the Waldorf schools, either for or against. Those Waldorf educators who have decided that soccer and Waldorf Education are incompatible (such as Will Crane in Spring Valley) have done so out of their own work and have thier own carefully elaborated reasons. I haven't persued the issue in sufficient depth to have formed an opinion on it myself. Soccer is played in a large number of Waldorf scools, especially in the US. It is also not played in a number of Waldorf schools for various reasons, including the belief that Steiner spoke against it. Other reasons I have heard include a general aversion to competitive sports (which seems to originate more a cultural bias of one portion of the '60s counterculture than from a carefully examined pedagogical basis) and the opinion that engaging the feet instead of the hands would have negative pedagogical implications.

Daniel Hindes

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From: Jo Ann Schwartz
Date: Mon Feb 9, 2004 10:13 am
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Football (soccer in the US) and Waldorf circus

--- Daniel wrote:

Soccer is played in a large number of Waldorf scools, especially in the US. It is also not played in a number of Waldorf schools for various reasons, including the belief that Steiner spoke against it. Other reasons I have heard include a general aversion to competitive sports (which seems to originate more a cultural bias of one portion of the '60s counterculture than from a carefully examined pedagogical basis) and the opinion that engaging the feet instead of the hands would have negative pedagogical implications.

Soccer is not played at the Detroit Waldorf School, primarily (I believe) because the soccer season would interfer with the two 'traditional' competitive sports at the school -- basketball and softball. Competitive sports are not introduced until 5th grade... the children are *fiercely* competitive once they do begin to play. The DWS Warriors have a long tradition of winning tournaments, and this year's jr. varsity (5/6th grade) girls team won the city championship in the new ThinkDetroit league (non-public school league).

I have heard teachers express concern over the use of the head as a tool in soccer. As noted earlier, recent medical studies also mention this as an area of concern.

Cheers,
JoAnn

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From: Linda Clemens
Date: Mon Feb 9, 2004 3:02 pm
Subject: Re: Football (soccer in the US) and Waldorf circus

--- at [Daniel] wrote:

Those Waldorf educators who have decided that soccer and Waldorf Education are incompatible (such as Will Crane in Spring Valley) have done so out of their own work and have thier own carefully elaborated reasons.

The question that triggered this discussion initially had to do with soccer and brain injury, and quoted a statistic that 34% of recreational soccer players showed evidence of brain injury. Similar statistics can be found in scientific studies conducted in Europe, though these studies are described as "suggestive" rather than "definitive". Though I can't say I've read much Steiner, using statistics like this as support to an argument doesn't sound much like Steiner, does it? Sounds like a newspaper headlines, maybe, but not Steiner.

In the classic WC manner, the question put to them ("anybody know where I can check out this statistic?") is almost complete ignored, too often in order to pursue wild guesses and nutty conjectures.

[long link]

I haven't persued the issue in sufficient depth to have formed an opinion on it myself. Soccer is played in a large number of Waldorf scools, especially in the US. It is also not played in a number of Waldorf schools for various reasons, including the belief that Steiner spoke against it. Other reasons I have heard include a general aversion to competitive sports (which seems to originate more a cultural bias of one portion of the '60s counterculture than from a carefully examined pedagogical basis) and the opinion that engaging the feet instead of the hands would have negative pedagogical implications.

People invest a lot of emotion into their own concepts of "competitive sports", both for and against. The battles between these competing concepts is as nasty as the competitive contests themselves. Years ago I took a class at university on Sociology of Sport, which linked sports to geopolitics, patriarcal social systems, religion, you name it. There are probably psychologists dedicating their careers to the subject along with the sociologists. Child experts, parents, business leaders, everybody has a strong opinion. Seems even kids want to debate each other about which sports are the "best" and the "worst". Seems to be a rarity these days to find someone who can view competitive sports as simply a fun game to watch or play.

L

Kicking a ball

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