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.

Stuck Between Two Different Worlds

June 16, 2011 § Leave a comment

When someone plans two different birthday parties it is normally a scheduling conflict. In Paul’s case he did it because his life socioeconomic backgrounds. The thought that some friends or “peops” where they are a closer knit group and of a different class, while his “peers” are ones of the same socioeconomic class, mostly closely associated with his current employment. Since he was involved in two worlds Paul played two different characters. These two worlds are stuck in a very particular way of life that is forced to interact on many levels. In class today we talked with the author “Harlemworld Doing Race and Class in Contemporary Black America.” Dr. Jackson allowed a certain perspective for me to interpret on this certain reading. Paul showed me by having two different parties and by extension two different identities; he was able to fluidly move between two separate classes.

This brings me to the point that, are we stuck in where people classify us or can we form our own group that fits us? If so then how do establish us, or is someone like Paul just stuck in a grey area between two worlds. Looking at this chapter and from the talks with Dr. Jackson I believe that in a city like Harlem there are many different ways to classify this city than just two socioeconomic classes, and that the interactions between these people are breaking down these classes and allowing it to change its judgments on socioeconomic levels.

Just like how Paul is able to move between two different classes, I have learned to do the same. From where I grew up, there were multi-million dollar houses.. I lived near these awesome neighborhoods but in a one-story condo and with all these houses surrounded me. This same diversity was faced at school, with the kids, with kids whose reality were much different than mine. I can see why Paul felt like he had two have two different characters to be with the people of the certain classes due to standards that are held in each.

Flawed Policies of Embargos

June 10, 2011 § 1 Comment

The thought of an embargo on another country is not foreign to the American people. The U.S. has one on Iran and still on Cuba. In the aftermath of this embargo it did not immediately affect the upper classes of Cuba, because they still had the resources to attain their money through kin from other countries. Thus this embargo was not one affecting all Cubans just mainly affecting the lower classes.

The embargo took the Cuban economy by storm because nearly 40% of Cuba’s food is imported. Making the lower classes having to drastically change how they had to work to get food that had all of a sudden gotten more expensive. Men dominated the work force over and thus forcing women into not very appealing jobs. The men believed that the women did not have the physical abilities to work most of the daily jobs in Cuba.

This embargo affected many racial and gender issues. Making even male Cubans of African decent to work jobs behind the walls or not where the public could see them. Such as a hotel clerk, would tend to be a Cuban of white decent to make the tourist seem more comfortable. Not only did race affect the job field but the gender issue cause a huge boom of a certain industry.

Now with women looking for a job, they took what was natural to them and began going to “sugar daddies” at 14 and 15 to get money and food in exchange for sexual favors. This drastically changed the view of Cuba and why tourist, mainly males, came to Cuba. Now Cuba has a nickname as “pussy paradise” which has drastically changes the culture and how Cuba functions daily from an embargo from one country.

The thought behind putting the embargo on Cuba was to hurt the elite of that country. In doing this the U.S. ended up hurting the poor people of Cuba which was not the intent. This was a flawed policy and by this I mean they ended up doing the exact opposite of  the original intent of the U.S.

Communal Living In College Football

June 10, 2011 § 1 Comment

The idea of a subgroups in the subculture allow subcultures such as college football team to maintain a high team unity. Many programs use dorms or off campus to house athletes. The dorms and housing provide social, cultural, and statistical background in the thought that race determines a lot of factors in football such as team unity, divisions, or how a team will win. In review I will take the Duke football team and review the living arrangements of the freshman class to determine how it contributes to racial boundaries.

Communal living also enforces a sense of unity. When you live with a certain person you get to know them through various circumstances. This has benefits for a football team. Many players that have lived together can over come many obstacles by the trust and familiarity with teammates.

Teammates together enforces team unity, it helps because many of the roommates have chosen a person of same race or social standards. In review of the housing assignment statistics nearly 80% of the 2015 Duke football freshman class rooms with a fellow athlete of the same race.

After talking to Will Monday (white punter) who rooms with a fellow black athlete he notice some nominal differences in how they lived. One very small thing is the way that Will and his teammate dress. One key difference is the brands that they put on each morning. While Will puts on dominantly Polo Ralph Lauren or Guy Harvey shirts, his roommate tends to wear other brands such as FUBU and Graphic t-shirts. This is a very topical difference in their lifestyle but one thing that inhibits the dorm equilibrium is the difference in the overall lifestyle and upbringing.

Knowing where both Will (Georgia) and his roommate (Maryland) came from, it will bring up differences in their lifestyles as depicted earlier. Following this theme this must force both of them to leave their comfort zones and turning these dorms into a more hostile environment that say a one with two athletes of the same race.

Providing all the previous observations and statistics, this backs up why most athletes choose a “safe” roommate. Choosing one of the same race, culture, and even position. With all this, it reinforces and ideal of racial divisions in a team. In my evaluation of summer workouts so far is that running depicts the team unity. When we run our sprints you even see the racial ties. We run in three lines; big skill (offensive and defensive lineman), combo skill ( tight ends and linebackers), and skill (cornerbacks and running backs). If one were to some observe they would realize the difference in these lines it would be quite obvious. The first line is predominately white with the second is mixed and the third is mostly black.

Now the question here is what does running have to do with communal living. Well in relation to the thought that many of players choosing certain roommates due to race and position, it makes a certain unity among those players and positions. When one man struggles to finish you can normally see either that persons roommate or position group encourage him on. Also reinforcing the backgrounds that many athletes come from allowing certain players to know what to say and what not to say. Communal living doesn’t just affect how clean a dorm room is or what music is played in there, it affects all aspects of the game.

In summing this up the observations of the freshman football class at Duke shows that racial ties to roommates is very pivotal in how the football team dynamic is cultivated. Without the brother hood or family feeling inside a college football program then, that makes it to where that team cannot win or be a “team”. Thus making the idea of communal living with a person of the same race, social, and cultural backgrounds allows a team to thrive and grow closer and eventually become a booming subculture. Even though the race boundaries are clearly defined in college football, most of the time it is the difference in being a good team and a great team.

June 3, 2011 § 1 Comment

Why are there so many white quarterbacks in football? Why do we only see a few black quarterbacks each year and even fewer excel? The main thought process behind this all is due to racial stacking. Stacking relates to the phenomenon of finding a non-random distribution of whites and blacks in certain playing positions. An example for this is the typical NFL or college football quarterback. There are many theories and proven examples of this occurrence. One theory is that white people have a better quick analysis of events while black people have a natural athleticism and raw strength.

Many coaches use this technique by placing players of certain race in positions without consideration of other people who may be suited to play that position. Not only do coaches enforce this theory but it is also enforced by socio economic backgrounds. Many black athletes do not have as many opportunities that most white athletes did as they were growing up. In the instance of my former offensive line coach Jay Gore, who now is the head coach at McGavok High School, he could drive himself to our workouts over the summer at Brentwood High School due to the accessibility of cars that the kids had. Unlike this, now at McGavok, he had to drive around and pick up players due to the inability for certain black athletes on his team to get just a ride to workouts over the summer. This example shows the ability of opportunities that are presented to white athletes over black athletes of certain socio economic backgrounds.

Whites have more opportunities that allow them to dominate the positions of higher thinking and quicker decision making. The statistics from the 2010 Racial and Gender Report Card: National Football League confirm that these positions are still racially dominated.

The primary reason that the positions shown on the graph for defensive positions are mainly black is due to the way that a majority of black athletes were raised in inner city communities. To find out the reason why you can go to a blacktop court on a weekend and watch these athletes play basketball. Even though this is a different sport than football many of the things can be carried over to the football field. Such as the ability to make a read of a deceptive behind the back pass and pick it off and go to the opposing goal and score. The blacktop directly relates to a cornerback and how he must read a quarterback to intercept a ball and run for a touchdown. Also the mentality that goes along with being on the blacktops of an inner city basketball court helps a (defensive) linebacker. Many of the courts work as a win or leave. As many linebackers must make key tackles and coming from that mentality most of these linebackers must make the decision to make this tackle one on one or let him by and potentially loose the game because of one play.

In the next piece of my ethnographic research I will overview communal living and how it affects team chemistry and even builds upon stacking.

 

Lapchick, Richard. “The 2010 Racial and Gender Report Card: National Football League.” Tide Sport, 29 Sept. 2010. Web. 3 June 2011. <http://www.tidesport.org/&gt;.

http://www.tidesport.org/RGRC/2010/2010%20NFL%20Racial%20and%20Gender%20Report%20Card.pdf  (Page 29 and 30 have statistical charts backing my information.)

 

Advocating Feminism

June 2, 2011 § Leave a comment

Feminism in today’s world is a hard idea to grasp. Hooks hopes that women… “see feminism as a lifestyle choice rather than a political commitment reflects the class nature of the movement. (Pg.27)” Hooks takes an approach in the article, Feminism: A Movement To End Sexist Oppression, as more of a redefining approach to the word feminism. Hooks asserts, “Many feminist radicals now know that neither a feminism that focuses on women as an autonomous human being worthy of personal freedom nor one that focuses on the attainment of equality of opportunity with men can rid society of sexism and male domination. (Pg. 24)” This quote is summing up the revision of the thought of feminism as not one about sexual oppression but one about male dominance.

Feminism did not look through a racial boundary either. To many it only mattered that a female was in a position over a male. “I knew that being black would always make a difference, but I certainly didn’t think that being a female would make a difference.” This was a quote said by Leanita McClain. This quotes significance comes from her growing up in the inner cities of Chicago and what she knew was that being black could hold her back. Until she got into a job of power with men under her did she realize that sex and feminism were a key component in her life. She recognized this because people made a big deal over her being a female in a top spot being a true advocate of feminism.

Moving onto the redefinition of feminism, it also comes with a new way to approach its goals. Making women focus on the ending of sexual oppression is forcing the ideals of feminism to be a lifestyle rather than a social issue. This is making all women not “supporters of feminism”, but “advocators of feminism.”

Bell, Hooks. “Feminism: A Movement To End Sexist Oppression.” 17-31. Print.

Racial Stacking in Football

May 27, 2011 § 1 Comment

The whole thought process behind doing an ethnographic study is to focus on how a sub culture lives, interacts, believes, and behaves (2). During this study I will focus on the dynamic of a football team. Sub cultures acts as a society on a small scale. Especially in college football there are many roles on the team that mirror the basic social pyramid of larger societies. In more depth I will go over how race constructs team dynamic, position structure, and behavior.

Communal living enforces the construction of team dynamic. This allows the team and coaches to form a tight nit group between position groups. Even inside these groups there are many of times cliques where certain players thrive. This has shown how players of certain color and position gravitate towards the same color and position. An according to a sports illustrated article race directly correlates to choosing a sports hero (3). The aspect of living with someone makes a natural emotional connection whether it may be good or bad. Thus the good or bad is shown directly on the field. If your half of the team doesn’t agree with the other half then how will they maintain a common thought during a game? This affects their verbal and physical relationships too.

A main reinforcement of this is how positions are structured. Inside these little niches as talked about earlier it is its own society and functioning body. Essentially this works as a giant city with different districts contributing to combine this infrastructure. Just as a city these niches are diverse in how they look and act. Typically you have a stereotype of white quarterbacks and black running backs. Well this is not something that has just happened over night; our time and society around the world has affected the color of the typical running back today. The biggest factor towards having certain players in a position is due to stacking. Stacking is a concept of reserving certain positions for certain races, like quarterbacks (1). The thinking is that whites have are better adapted for positions of quick thinking while blacks are more suited for positions with greater physical prowess (1). Allowing certain players to thrive at certain positions due to color.

In all a society runs with a certain behavior to it. This is one that functions with the same mentality just with a different method. Many of times progress is judged by competitions inside positions to see who starts. Even deeper into these competitions is failure and unlike new thought where everyone is a winner, football players must learn to adapt to failure. Not every time that a player rises to an occasion will he come out victorious?  These types of behavior have made a certain atmosphere around a football team.

Mainly this ethnographic project is focusing on the atmosphere of a football team and how race affects the team dynamic, positions structure, and behavior. All of these factors have almost locked color into certain positions.

Works Cited

1) Lashley, Horace. (1989, Autumn). Coaching Focus, (England), p.7.

2) Clifford Geertz, “Description: Toward and Interpretive Theory of Culture,” The Interpretation of Culture, (NY: Basic Books, 1973), Chapter 1

3) Price, S.L. (1997b, Dec. 8). Is it in the genes? Sports Illustrated ,pp.?