In some people’s eyes being a man is about having a drink and playing rugby, the following is a critical evaluation of whether or not our drinking culture is healthy or not healthy. The link between drinking and sport is strong in New Zealand with younger generations growing up in an environment that makes alcohol and sport seem normal. This normality that we grow up with gives us tendencies to think it’s alright to drink as after all our parents did it and their parents did it and so forth. With these tendencies our first thought after a day out of being with your mates kicking a footy around is to go have a few drinks and this in my eyes seems normal and fun. In this essay I will cover the questions of why we have this tendency to binge drink, the New Zealand drinking psyche and the big question of if this culture of associating alcohol with sport is actually healthy.
Every day you see billboards and TV ads. So every day you see an alcohol brand using sport as a selling point. For example Heineken use the Rugby World Cup as there selling point using lines like “One World, One Cup, One Beer” – Heineken associating rugby with drinking. Relationships include sponsorship of national and regional sports organisations, events, clubs, teams and individuals for a lot of alcohol companies. Different sports have varying levels of sponsorship from the alcohol industry and the relationship with alcohol sponsors takes many forms. More indirectly, funding from gaming societies (e.g., The Lion Foundation, New Zealand Community Trust, Pub Charity), which have direct links to the alcohol industry through profits from gaming machines on licensed premises, is an important source of revenue. Estimates of the level of alcohol advertising and promotion (including unmeasured media and sponsorship) range from around $73 million to up to $165 million per annum (note: this is for all advertising and promotion in New Zealand). Among the sports clubs surveyed, it is estimated that, on average, around 9% of clubs’ income is received from alcohol industry sponsorship (including an estimated value of products/supplies “in kind”). May this not seem a big deal as all it is, is advertising, the real deal is how it affects our thinking. All these ads pose the idea that you have the best times drinking alcohol and the normalization that occurs from this sinks into our brains giving us these tendencies to think getting drunk will make us have a good night. Think about it all of those beer ads on TV are brilliant, who doesn’t want to visit the Tui factory have a look at the girls, have a beer and watch some rugby. Steinlager do it well also by associating alcohol and rugby with pride and history by going back to 1987 when it came in a white can. All of this has influenced us since we were young, subconsciously allowing for us to think of alcohol as a good time and something that is good for you. Constant environs from alcohol related sporting campaigns, New Zealand drinking psyche and New Zealand’s drinking culture that is passed on through generations are to blame for our drinking tendencies
Most people choose team sport because it’s a social experience, and whether it’s rugby or soccer or anything else, having a beer after the game ... is just a part of the New Zealand psyche. From initiations to court sessions these types of moral building spectacles bring the social experience which exists in many team sports. Having a drink after the game or going out with the team is common social practice and allows for cohesion in the team. The New Zealand drinking psyche has been expanding in our brains ever since we were born with an attitude that makes getting smashed within a team environment seem normal. A common recital for teenagers 16-18 is to play rugby on a Saturday then go get smashed with your team mates. I know this for a fact as I have been in that situation with my mates many a time where we have gone out to a party together