Behavior in Football

June 17, 2011 § Leave a comment

The behavior of a football team is almost the portrayal of an early tribe in a non-modernized nation. The fact is that to play and excel at the sport, you must have a different mentality towards your goals for the day. “ I believe that each day I workout or even go to the Yoh (Duke Football Facility) I must have a very tough appearance.” (Cody Robinson) After talking to him about his thoughts on the atmosphere in football he had the same thought that I had observed, a warlike mentality.

This mentality provides a masculine trait into the culture. Not many players have excelled in football while being feminine. Not to discredit feminism but you must have a very tough and hardened approach to football. It is a sport where you have to be super masculine and tough to do well, because of the nature of the game. Also not every day will things go right so you can’t wear your emotions on your “sleeve.” This is to mean that each guy must act like the prototypical masculine being and not show any signs of doubt, fear, or emotion.

The thought that “survival of the fittest” also prevails in many college players’ minds. Even though all the players are to win, still there are battles daily. During football workouts the atmosphere established that each player must beat out the player in front of him on the depth chart and do it with perfect form, high weight, and intensity. Noel Durfey (Head Strength Coach at Duke) will scream at each of the players in their designated workout groups that are divided into certain positions. He will say things that instill a certain mentality that each day is a competition. One of the statements put into our workout syllabus was, “Find a good training partner who will work as hard as you and make him work harder!” This statement sums up that no matter what is going on someone is always challenging you and if you do not step up, you will be left in the dust.

Keeping up the same emotions and lifestyle of this subculture, failure is faced daily. No matter what happens on the field, in the weight room, or meeting room, failure will be faced. Mainly on the field every minute the guy behind you is looking for you to mess up once so that he can take your position. “ I look at each rep in anything I do and think did I do it to the best of my ability, and if I do not reach that goal I still have to be able to put that aside of me and go onto my next rep or play.” (Dave Harding) After putting all you can into lifting weights or studying your playbook to know everything when game time comes, there is always going to be failure. The fact that in a college football team, the thought that you can’t let that affect the next thing you do is critical. Just like many primitive hunters, they did not give up when they did not catch the first gazelle they tried to kill, but made an effort to the best of their ability to kill the next one.

In my other observations of these many examples, the behavior exhibited in the Duke football program is one of overcoming failure, competing daily, and having a masculine approach to everything. This has instilled a very drastic behavior than one of normal societies in many parts of the world. There are similarities in a few of the aspects such as competition in jobs but unlike football, the best person for a job doesn’t always get that job. All this to say that the subculture of football thrives on a different type of emotions and mentalities than a normal society would.


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You are currently reading Behavior in Football at CA94: A Cultural Crash Course.


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