Phase 4 Individual Project
Sociology and Understanding Human Behavior – SOCL215
The sports sociology exists because of the strong relationship between sports and society. As a culture, we as Americans value sports for the entertainment, physical activity and many other benefits it provides to us. I believe that is the reason so much research has gone into discovering how and why it affects us as a society. Sports are enjoyed all over the world, particularly soccer and baseball in many parts of the globe.
I am a really big fan of and enjoy football. It is my favorite sport. During the fall and winter months much of my life rotates around being able to watch professional football games and to cheer for my favorite team, the Carolina Panthers. It’s my favorite sport because I enjoy the energy, the socialization, competition and action. Because it is so widely revered in America, it is not very difficult to find another football fan or sports bar.
Football is widely represented in the media which also helps to be a fan. ESPN (Entertainment Sports Programing Network) covers games if you may have missed a game or play as well as offer news about teams and players. During the local news broadcast a sports segment is always included. And in local as well as nationally published newspapers a sports section is included. I however am not a typical viewer/fan in the football demographic. Most fans are middle aged white men that make $55,000. However the number of women watching football is on the incline. According to the New York Times the number of women watching “Sunday Night Football” has increased 23 percent over the last two years. (Baker, 2011) The fan base for football is expanding for minorities as well. I think this is because more minorities are playing the sport. To get a better understanding of how sports and society affect one another I went to a local high school football game. I have always gone to football games as a fan, never as an observer and I knew this experience would be different. I decided to attend this event because I enjoy football and I knew a few of the students from work that go the high school. It was also an opportunity to learn more about high school, I usually only watch NFL (National Football League) football games. The following are my observations from the fieldwork done during the football game.
The setting for this game was a high school football game was Carolina Forest High School. The elements that would affect behavior included banners, posters and cheerleaders. This affected the home team in a positive way as they feel more support and motivation. It could negatively affect the away team as they feel intimidated and home team as they could feel more pressure to win.
The attendees/fans were students, parents, cheerleaders, ROTC members, teachers and other dance team members. Most of the fans were white high school students between the ages of 14 to 17. I would say it was divided pretty evenly between males and females. They seemed upper middle class with a few that seemed to be upper class. The players were similar to the fans as they were high school students, 14 to 17 years old and middle class but there were a few more black players than white.
The dress of the fans was typical of teenagers. Students mostly wore jeans, T-Shirts and flip flops. Many were shirts that had the schools logo and mascot on it. There was a group of young men with hair dyed black and wore similar skateboard type attire. The students seemed to stay in groups together as did the parents. There definitely seemed to be groups that stayed to themselves and did not socialize with anyone outside of their group. This behavior applied to parents and students. The students in these groups were of the same social class and did dress similarly. The atmosphere was very positive and happy at the football games. The home team won which helped with the atmosphere. There were a...