With this being understood the cockfight blend has an influence on the societies in which they are carried out (Turner, 2001).
As it relates specifically to Latin America, there are 20 countries that compose the region. In the Latin American country of Mexico cock fights are very common ("Cock fights in Mexico"). In fact cockfighting shares the same amount of popularity as charreadas and bull-riding rodeo activities ("Cock fights in Mexico"). In addition the prevalence of cockfights is as common as the late-night entertainment that occurs during village fairs ("Cock fights in Mexico"). In Mexico, cockfights tend to draw both male and female onlookers; these individuals place bets on which gamecock will win the fight ("Cock fights in Mexico").
In many regions around the world the sport of cockfighting is illegal ("Cock fights in Mexico"). However, within the country of Mexico, cockfights are legal and a central body in the Federal District regulates the sport ("Cock fights in Mexico"). It is form this vantage point that sponsors are granted licenses and gives the sponsor the right and responsibility of guaranteeing the regulations are complied with and that the fights are carried out in an orderly fashion ("Cock fights in Mexico").
The stages of a cockfight are inclusive of the following:
The weighing in of cocks and matching them up with their eventual competitors based on the weight of the cocks ("Cock fights in Mexico").
One bird is brought out and used to entice the actual fighting cocks into action and increase the excitement and adrenaline of the cocks ("Cock fights in Mexico"). The initial bird that is brought out does not participate in the fight.
Steel blades are selected and placed securely onto the birds' spurs ("Cock fights in Mexico"). This step actually takes place in the "ring" with the crowd and the cockfight officials observing, so that one cock does not have the advantage over the other cock ("Cock fights in Mexico").
The cockfight officials examine the cocks and the way the blades have been secured and assure the blades are secured in congruence with government regulations ("Cock fights in Mexico").
Finally, the two fighting cocks are placed in the center of the ring and the fight starts. Depending on the cocks, the fight may be a fast flurry of flying feathers and dust, or it may be compose of a series of timed "rounds" until one cock comes out as the clear winner, or there is a draw ("Cock fights in Mexico").
The popularity of cockfighting in Mexico and throughout Latin America has also been prevalent in many American cities that are populated with Latin American immigrants. These cockfights continue to occur although they are illegal in most of the states. It seems that cockfighting is a strong tradition that will continue in the states even if it is declared an illegal activity.
As it relates to the influence of cockfighting in Latin America, it is obvious that is serves as a traditional past time, a source of pride and masculinity. In addition, it is also a sport that requires a great deal of expertise and attention to the physical condition of the gamecock. According to an article published in the Washington Post, owners and trainers must pay careful attention to what the gamecock eats, especially before a fight. The author -- reporting from a cockfight in Nicaragua -- explains the complexity involved in preparing the gamecock for battle, "Give the gamecocks too little food or water and they will be too weak. Give them too much and they will be weighed down by the undigested contents of their bellies...This is the true challenge of cockfighting...You want to get the gamecock exactly on point by the time of the fight (Aizenman 2005)." The author also explains that the cocks are given the best kind of feed and constantly being prepared to fight (Aizenman 2005). The author also explains that owners and trainers try not to become attached to the gamecocks because they know they will probably be killed (Aizenman 2005).
The amount of time and money that is required to raise gamecocks and the gambling that takes place as it relates to cockfights can in some instances have a negative impact on society. This is particularly true in the areas of Latin America where there are few economic opportunities. In such cases cockfighting can be particularly detrimental if a great deal of money and time has gone into training the cock and the fight is lost. Not only does this have a negative impact on the man that owns the loosing cock but it may also have a negative impact on his family because the money used for the gamecocks could have served other purposes.
On the other hand, there are positive influences that cockfighting can have especially for the man that wins. For instance in many of the top competitions, owners receive substantial cash prizes that can be used in positive ways. In addition, cockfighting can keep many young men away from engaging in activities that are not legal.
With these things being understood, it is also evident that cockfighting plays a central role in providing a social gathering for people within a community. Although many in other parts of the world view cockfighting as nothing more than animal cruelty, it is clear that people in Latin America simply see cockfighting as a tradition that has been passed on from one generation to the next. At many of these events children are present and they learn the rules of the game. It is also seen as a way to gain social status and to spend time engaging in an activity that is legal and regulated by government entities.
The aforementioned factors serve as the primary reasons why cockfighting is a popular sport throughout Latin American and many other regions of the world. In addition, although some of the cultural norms vary from country to country in Latin America, the common language and the tradition of cockfighting exist in many of the nations that compose Latin America. As such cockfighting is likely to remain as a cultural past time throughout the region.
The purpose of this discussion was to research the role of this "sport" in a society and the influence on the individual in Latin America. The research indicates that cockfighting is a popular sport throughout the world. The research also indicates that in some areas of the world cockfighting has become a ritual of sorts -- passed on from generation to generation. The research also indicates that Latin America is one of the regions of the world that have made cockfighting a legal sport that is regulated by the governments of each nation.
The research found that the role of this sport in society is that of projecting the man onto the gamecock. In other words men use gamecocks and eventually the cockfight to project himself in a way that he can't project himself within society. Indeed, many societies in which cockfighting is legal the social status of a man is determined at birth and is difficult if not impossible to change. However, men that engage in cockfights have the ability to change their status, at least within the world of cockfighting. Cockfighting is therefore viewed as a test of masculinity and manhood. As you can see cockfights are elaborate affairs that have to be regulated by the government. It is also evident that cockfights are part of a long tradition in Mexico and serve as a status symbol.
As it relates to the influence of cockfighting in Latin America, the research indicates that cockfighting serves as a popular past time and a tradition. The research also indicates that males are particularly obsessed with the sport because it has become a symbol of masculinity over many years. In addition it is apparent that cockfighting can have some negative effects on the loser because the time and the money required to raise the cocks. However, it is also plausible that cockfighting is more productive and safer than other activities that young men can be engaged in that are not legal. Whatever, the case, the research indicates that cockfighting is popular in Latin America and throughout the world. In addition it will probably continue as a tradition or right of passage for males living in these regions of the world.
Tuesday, August 15, 2006; Getting Physical, Talon by Talon, in the Cockpits of Nicaragua. Washington Post. Page A10