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Tuesday, August 7, 2007

University Club teen boxing spectacle = child abuse?

A concerned reader points out that at least some of the pugilists whom Portland's hotshots got all dressed up to watch beating each other up on Friday night were teenagers. The one boxer was identified in the O story as being all of 15. "In my opinion," the reader writes, "trained child boxing is akin to dog fighting, cage fighting, etc. and is totally deplorable."

She continues:

[T]he “elite” of Portland are apparently so insulated that they do not understand “abuse” unless they personally are struck physically and painfully. Those photos in The Oregonian showing the University Club members’ joy in experiencing the youngsters’ abusing each other is so, so sick… let’s keep showing those photos over and over again of those glamorous smiling women, those guys trying to be so ever so seductive while those children beat each other to a pulp.
I think the lady may actually have a point here.

UPDATE, 5:37 p.m.: There are many more comments to this post than are indicated by the total listed below. Some were temporarily lost and restored, and this throws the count off.

Comments (7)

I totlaly agree with your reader. And the "boxers" were 15 years old? Outrageous!

It is child abuse.

How did we sink so low?

But then to keep the masses appeased the Romans provided bread and circuses. Since our nation seems more concerned with Paris and Nicole than with the daily senseless carnage in Iraq...

Does anyone but me see similarities?

Posted by Anne | August 7, 2007 9:20 AM

There may have been other pictures in the Oregonian, but the none of the women in the hyperlinked photo are smiling. I won't comment on whether they're glamorous, but unlike the men, they actually don't look like they're enjoying themselves.

Posted by Tim | August 7, 2007 9:36 AM

This can go in the scrapbook with the UC golf tournament a few years ago, with the naked women on the Waverley greens. What a class act!

Posted by Allan L. | August 7, 2007 10:24 AM

It looks like a scene from a Harry Crews novel.

Adult boxers are like all other athletes: they've been doing it their whole lives. Those who aren't fans of the sweet science can take comfort in the fact that boxing's popularity continues it's decades-long downward spiral. These spactator's children, in fact, were likely at home watching Jake Brown's instantly famous X-Games skateboard wipeout. I can't believe that guy is still alive after that. It blew his shoes off. No, boxing will never be mainstream again.

Posted by telecom | August 7, 2007 10:43 AM

SB 492A would ban competitors under 18 years old. It's currently allowed.

Posted by jim |August 7, 2007 11:21 AM

You guys and your bans...

You going to ban martial arts as well?

Posted by Joey Link | August 7, 2007 11:59 AM

Wow this has gotten out of hand. Should high school football be outlawed too?

Boxing is a sport, albeit an inherently violent one, which I myself have dabbled in since I was only 14. Amatueur boxers are required to wear headgear and other safety precautions are also in place. I do realize that the sport is not for everyone and that boxing will never be mainstream again but I think this is an overreaction.

Posted by Brendan | August 7, 2007 12:10 PM

I'm playing devil's advocate...

"In my opinion," the reader writes, "trained child boxing is akin to dog fighting, cage fighting, etc. and is totally deplorable."


At least this person appropriately qualified the statement -- "In my opnion..."

My opinion is that this opinion is lame. This person is essentially comparing the boxers to the poor dogs who are abused by their owners and then forced to maul other dogs in deathmatches -- a stupid implication and failed analogy.

Nobody is making these young boxers box -- they love their sport. They're humans, not dogs. The only people who think they're abusing eachother is you, the reader. Boxers are mentally tough, disciplined people and who are you to judge them just because you don't like what they do?

The Oregonian showing the University Club members’ joy in experiencing the youngsters’ abusing each other is so, so sick

You see boxers abusing one another. I see a magical dance; minds working to employ strategy; speed, agility, hours and hours of sweat and practice; discipline.

Are you people, who believe this is abuse, any better than a political Christian Evangelist hell-bent on creating a society in which their vision of life should be law and every single person is required to live by that law because they're in the 'moral majority' and God spoke and thus it must be so?

Who are you to say that boxing is child abuse? Well then, I say football is abuse. Young football athletes have obscene physical demands made of them by coaches who love to yell and scream and belittle teenagers who are then forced to go out onto the field on Friday nights and smash heads for several hours.

Give me a break.

I love the socialist mentality here -- making value judgments on others and presuming that what you believe is truth. So you impose your own beliefs upon everyone else, to the point of making laws if need be.

Screw that.

Posted by Damon | August 7, 2007 1:32 PM

Well then, I say football is abuse.

I agree. And ask the loved ones of all the retired NFL players whose brains have been destroyed by the game. Kids and teenagers aren't old enough to make an informed decision about whether to assume the very serious risks involved.

Posted by Jack Bog | August 7, 2007 2:34 PM

I second Damon's comment and add that I too have boxed and played football. I suffered concussions, broken noses, and a hip injury (all football related) that still follows me to this day and I would "go down swinging" if anyone tried to take that away because it was one of the best experiences of my life.

The arrogance of the do-gooder makes me sick. What ever happened to letting people (even 15 year-olds who are not the same as dogs no matter what the stretch) do what they want. Give me a freaking break.

Posted by travis b | August 7, 2007 2:44 PM

soccer (head)
horseback riding (spine)
baseball (death, head, spine)
Hockey (everything)
track (javilin accidents)
cycling (car hit and runs)
tennis (ankles?)

what sport would be left. We could all play the Wii at home but injuries have occured with that is well.

come on folks. We are limiting the experience of our childrem because of the potential low % risk. Everthing has risk, life is risky. But go live it not avoid it.

Posted by travis b | August 7, 2007 2:49 PM

Travis: Since when did "do-gooder" become a pejorative term? Isn't doing good desirable? The phrase seems like a shortcut to avoid making a reasoned argument.

Also, what about passing a safety regulation arrogant? By your standard it seems like all legislation would be arrogant, because it involves making tough judgement calls.

Posted by Todd B. | August 7, 2007 2:56 PM

What would the safety regulation be? No teenage boxing at a rich man's University Club event?

That's not a regulation, it's a law.

I sincerely do not mean to attack any contrary points-of-view, I'm merely confused and concerned with the sentiments.

Posted by Damon | August 7, 2007 3:06 PM

The American Academy of Pediatrics opposes boxing by children because of the health risks:

Posted by Todd B. | August 7, 2007 3:07 PM

I was the boy that all of the other boys picked on in grade school. Boxing gave me back my confidence and the ability to stand up for myself. I am happy that I learned it and I have passed some skills along to my son who is also very small. He does not get picked on like I did because he can stand up for himself.

Posted by Keith | August 7, 2007 3:09 PM

I think Damon made the argument. the term was used as a label of identification recognizing the good natured intent. I think that most who actually learned about these sports would not make these comments. I played these sports and the theyy taught me work ethic, dedication, how to push myself, and how to be a good winner and a good loser.

I am all for safety. Football players now have hard helmets and face masks. Spearing (leading with the head) is an illegal move. but an out and out ban is not a tough judgement call, just reactionary, much like my first response, and just as riddled with errors.

I have two boys and they might want to try these sports, and I will let them because the long term benefits of character are worth the low percetage risk of injury. Others may disagree and they can raise their kids how they want. I am offended when they tell me how to raise mine.

Posted by travis b | August 7, 2007 3:10 PM

Damon: I was using the term "regulation" to mean "law" or "statute." Though if an administrative agency had the power to ban youth boxing, then I believe it would be a "regulation" in the proper sense.

Whatever the mechanism, the proposal would only allow participation in organized boxing by adults (at fancy clubs or otherwise). The rationale is that young people have a lower ability to evaluate risks than adults (e.g., that's why smoking is illegal for minors, but not for adults). Also, minors have brains that are still developing, and repeated blows to the head could harm the brain development process.

Regarding the virtues of boxing and other sports that commonly result in head trauma, I'm sure that there are plenty of alternative sports or activities which can teach a strong work ethic and sportsmanship.

I'm fairly sure that participation in "mixed martial arts" (i.e., Ultimate Fighting) is banned for young people, so it's just a matter of where to draw the line. The nation's leading society of doctors for young people thinks boxing, like Ultimate Fighting, should be on the other side of that line.

Here’s a new question: If a minor boxer suffered a serious head injury while boxing at a University Club event, would the club be liable for the injury, given the known risks of boxing by young people?

Posted by Todd B. | August 7, 2007 3:30 PM

Cheerleading is also responsible for a great many serious injuries and deaths. It actually has been banned by several universities.

Life in and of itself is dangerous and risky, and death is assured. Should we ban it?

The original poster obviously has a personal abuse issue lurking in their past. I hope they are able to find the help they need.

Many other posters are "class warriors", jealous of the so-called privileged classes.

If you are serious about eliminating a proven group of serious child abusers, start with the Catholic Church. Ban that.

Posted by kenny boy |August 7, 2007 3:44 PM

Football in way more dangerous than amatuer boxing. Amatuer boxing is all about safety. The younger kids box kids their own size, fight fewer and shorter rounds than professional fighters, they all wear headgear, and have much heavier gloves. The point system does not reward knock downs any more than any other punch, and technique rather than brute force is the way matches are won. The referees are charged with keeping the match clean so nobody gets seriously injured. Very little amatuer boxing is televised because it's really boring and technical compared to professional fighting. 15 year old kids are old enough to make a lot of decisions, even if they aren't ready to take on the world on their own.

I have a 15 year old son who does full contact martial arts...it's entirely his decision, and I have the utmost confidence in the people who supervise him. It's not a big deal if he gets a bloody nose or a black eye once in awhile. He's a young man not a child, and making some choices on his own is part of entering adulthood.

The main thing I didn't like about the University Club event was the fact that the young athletes were subjected to second hand cigar smoke while people were getting tanked on scotch, wine etc. These kids need a more positive environment than smoking and drinking when they compete.

Posted by Usual Kevin | August 7, 2007 3:45 PM

Stick with nail polish, expensive handbags and uncomfortable shoes... things you actually know something about.

Posted by Dallas Fridley | August 7, 2007 4:20 PM

[Comments above posted when indicated; restored later after they were inadvertently lost.]

Off subject I would like to see what your readers think about this situation if they are so concerned about CHILD ABUSE:

I work at a 711. In walk two older Soccer Moms with 7 soccer kids around the age of 8. They are in full soccer uniforms ready for an upcoming game. These moms peruse the store. The kids were already excited and grinning and acting silly. I could tell they had that "I'm getting away with something grins" on their faces. The moms find the 5 hour energy shots and said: "Here they are. Now drink a little before the game and then the rest at the second half..." The kids clustered around holding their 5 hour energy drinks. I tried to catch the mom's eye to inform them of the drinks. They merely glared at me. Excuse me, but those drinks are formulated for ADULTS. They are loaded with caffeine and all kinds of stuff. Not to be consumed by 8 year olds...Our society...What we do to our kids...

When are people going to realize people prefer freedom over babysitters?

When it's true?

"Jake Brown's instantly famous X-Games skateboard wipeout."

That was the most amazing thing. Surviving that fall was near miraculous... but walking away?! That young Aussie is at least as tough as he is lucky.

(Catch the video before ESPN has it taken down again. If you're too late, search for the one that's 3:38 long and watch it all.)

"When it's true?"

You don't believe it?

The full slate of Oregonian photos is here.

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