Since my last post mentioned ritualized warfare, I thought THIS STORY, from the was a pretty obvious tie-in, touching as it does on sport and the war dance.
The Jefferson, Oregon football team has adopted the Haka, a war dance that originated with the Maori people of New Zealand.
Wikepedia notes that the Haka includes;
"...facial contortions such as showing the whites of the eyes and the poking out of the tongue, and a wide variety of vigorous body actions such as slapping the hands against the body and stamping of the feet. As well as chanted words, a variety of cries and grunts are used."
Of course, I've known about the Haka for a long time, as my wife's family lived in New Zealand for several years. The N-Zed national rugby team, the All Blacks, has employed the Haka in a way similar to the Jefferson High School team. I used to wear an All-Blacks rugby jersey.
The Jefferson footballers perform the intimidating ritual on the field before each game, and this has drawn complaints from opposing teams (not the Silly Nannies, by any chance?) which has led to the Jefferson team being penalized 15 yards at the start of every game.
I'm not going to rant about them being treated unfairly. The refs have determined that the Haka is a form of taunting, which seems like a no-brainer in the affirmative. The penalty is reasonable enough - no one has threatened to ban the Jefferson team from playing or to put them on Double Secret Probation or anything. They decided as a team to take the penalty in each game, and it's something of a motivating and team-building experience for them. Shockingly, it seems like reasonable behavior all around. I admire the Jefferson team for taking it on the chin and not whining. Looks like they channel their frustration well... they're 9 and 1.
So, as the Kiwis might say... Good on ya.
Here's a VIDEO, for the curious.