Spitting is the act of collecting spit (saliva) in the mouth and then forcibly expelling it as a gob using air from the lungs. Expert spitters can gather a sizable amount of spit and can accurately direct it at great speed to yards distant. [Such spitting should not be confused with something like cherry-pip spitting where a pip is placed in the mouth to be ejected as a projectile as far as possible in a competitive spirit; nor indeed the action of a wine taster depositing the sip of tasted wine into a bucket – stops them getting drunk you see]. With practice some are skilled at a special technique of deliberately stimulating their salivary gland and moving tongue and jaw and propelling out a stream through an open mouth.
In some parts of the World spitting has in the past been commonplace, but mostly for superstitious reasons. In the UK spitting in public has progressively been looked down-upon by society for nigh on three hundred years, spittoons have disappeared over the past century, and spitting is now currently socially totally unacceptable in Britain.
People are concerned about it for hygienic reasons and the risk of spreading airborne infectious diseases like TB and body fluid transmitted sicknesses like Ebola. Apart from that, spitting at or on a another person is a demonstration of individual extreme anger, downright derision, and utter disrespect – spitting into the face of someone is the ultimate expression of violent aggression, isn’t it?
Spitting in public is seen as foul, disgusting & antisocial act, but it was not specifically unlawful. However, nevertheless a couple of years ago some places made it illegal by using local by-laws to convict individuals of ‘littering’ using ‘waste’. Mind you spitting at a policeman would always have see someone’s feet not touch the ground on the way to a cell, don’t you think?
So does all that mean then that you won’t now be seeing spitting in public? Oh yes you certainly will – just turn up on any Saturday afternoon to watch a soccer football match, and see the overkill that takes place there. You will enjoy won’t you, seeing twenty two senior players constantly gobbing onto the turf (and indeed sometimes onto their opponents)? You see the football management say it is an essential part of the game apparently, and claim it is simply a physical necessity due to all the running around. That excuse seems a bit lame though when you see a substitute trot onto the pitch and the very FIRST thing he does is immediately spit (like as even seen on TV – as performed by an established English international player). The referees run all over the pitch following the play, but don’t seem to be doing their fair share of adding to the spit on the turf, do they?
Last week in a match between top teams Newcastle and Manchester Utd, two players had a stormy spat then a furious spit at each other [Pipiss Cisse (who held his hands-up to it) & Jonny Evans (who started it but pleaded innocence – intended to spit on the ground no doubt but had a poor aim?) – both got banned (7 games & 6 games respectively), but don’t worry for them though, they still draw their full mega wages throughout].
Such incidents will continue forever unless football decrees that ALL spitting on the pitch is banned – hits the dirt if you like!
Why-why do they do it you might wonder? Is it because it is a nasty ‘learnt’ habit, and all the players before them have done it, so they follow suit? In American football they run around quite a lot, but have you noticed them taking their helmets off every few minutes to have a good spit? The top tennis players at Wimbledon play for hours at a time, but they don’t seem to find the need to spit on Centre Court (even when the Royal Family aren’t watching), do they? Marathon runners don’t stop ever half mile to have a good gobbing either do you think?
Perhaps someone might come up with an anti-gob patch for footballers (similar to an anti-smoking patch for smokers)?
Human beings aren’t the only things that spit though, are they? No, there is say the black cobra snake that spits venom from its fangs when threatened; there is the camel that spits sick to cause a surprise distraction if scared; there is the sheep-like llama that spits to put others in their place; there is even a spider that spits venom and silk over its prey to entrap it. All very similar to the reasons for footballers to spit, wouldn’t you say?
[What example is all that spitting in football setting to the youngsters watching? What a cock a snook, or five finger salute, does it make at the values of our modern society, eh?]