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IN THE QUIRKS


Excessive Expectoration! | By Glen Mikkelsen, CFE “Excuse me, do you mind if I hock a loogie?” In many of our ven-


ues, the action of sending spit soaring, typically frowned upon, is ac- cepted. Football, soccer, hockey, rugby, and especially baseball play-  the bench, in the dugout … and it is not just the players – coaches, trainers, and hangers-on are all seen spitting. Especially in the era of   into the viewers’ faces. So, why is spitting, which is described as “gross, revolting, vulgar,


crude, dirty, unsanitary, and unnecessary,” fostered and enabled within our venues?


In baseball, the tradition of spitting is as old as the game. In the


 would spit to moisten their gloves.  - ed part of British and American societies. The habit was tolerable in pubs, buses, and on trains. Scottish politician, James Stuart, visited a Philadelphia hotel, and would have returned, “but for the smoking and chewing of tobacco, which never ceased in the reading-rooms. The chewing and spitting were carried to such a height, that it was  had spitting troughs at the base of bars. Ross Coomber, professor of sociology at Britain’s Plymouth Univer-


sity, says, “Just about every society used to spit commonly. Non-spitting is a largely recent phenomenon. Today we swallow, when once we would not have done. If we were not to some extent bound by cultural  Public spitting ran out of public favour when it was linked to dis-


eases, such as tuberculosis. In 1882, the TB bacillus was discovered by the German biologist Robert Koch. Public health campaigns raged against expectoration, when there actually was little evidence it caused more cases. Nevertheless, spitting became established as a socially dys- functional behaviour. In the 1960s, when the dangers of chewing tobacco became known,  Oliva of the Minnesota Twins, says, “When you play the game, you   crazy.”


Chris Colabello of the Twins estimates that today 70 percent of


players chew seeds or gum during games, and adds, “You saw guys on TV spit, you want to spit like the big-league ballplayers. So, when  Yet, it may be more than emulating their heroes. Mary C. Lamia, writes in “Making Emotional Sense of Why Baseball Players Spit,” “If spitting can protect a person by evoking disgust in the observer, then, given the consequences, it might be considered as an aggressive or contemptuous display. Evoking disgust in another person can be a way to cope with, or disguise, one’s one anxiety. It expresses a fearless attitude of disdain, condescension, or disregard.” The teaspoon of winged spittle is also interpreted as a challenge on


  - ger or marking our territory, ” Ross Coomber suggests. “Spitting your 


28 Facility Manager Magazine 28 Facility Manager Magazine


Spitting in someone’s face is probably consid- ered one of the worst things you can do. It’s obviously a form of violence, very confrontational, perhaps the most violent you can be against someone without actually hitting them.”  I was in the British army, we were taught to spit in   humiliate them, they naturally get angry, lose control, and you have more opportunity to work your victim.”  


most prevalent in soccer. Regarded as the most infamous of soccer’s “spats” during the 1990 World Cup, Holland’s Frank Rijkaard lobbed a looger into Germany’s Rudi Voller’s hair, after both were ejected out of the game. Other examples include:       • Soccer superstar Lionel Messi, in 2008, even lost his cool, spitting on the back of his opponent’s jersey during a match with Malaga. • And in 2005, Frenchman Fabien Barthez picked up a six-month suspension for spitting at a referee, who said, “I regret what hap- pened, but I’m not guilty because I didn’t spit at his face.”


Even in the contemplative sport of golf, spitting is contentious. In


2011, while lining up a putt, Tiger Woods spat on the green of the           Woods later tweeted, “It was inconsiderate to spit like that, and I know better.”


            


            “Spitting is disgusting at all times. It’s unhygienic and unhealthy, par- ticularly if you spit close to other people. Footballers, like the rest of us, wouldn’t spit indoors, so they shouldn’t do it on the football pitch. If they are spitting near other people, it could certainly increase the risk of passing on infections. Certainly, spitting is a nasty habit that should be discouraged – and it should be discouraged by the clubs.” In 2015, even the small city of Terrace, British Columbia, took the


step of canceling drop-in adult hockey after some players refused to        


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