Sociology of sports Term Paper 6 pages

Football and Society

A- Sports’ sociology

B- Selection of sport a- Football is selected b- Reasons for selection

A- Field Observation

a- Setting/environment b- Participants

c- Attendees/Fans

d- Dress/Attire/style e- Behaviors Observed

f- Ambiance/Atmosphere

g- Symbols:

h- Other Observations

B- Analysis of Report

a- Learning from experience in the work field b- Conclusions from a sociological point-of-view

C- Research methodology

A- Societal Role of Sport

B- Role in My life

C- Experience of other participants and fans.

Sociology of sport:

Sports sociology or the sociology of sport is the study of the association between society and the sports. It studies how values and culture can influence a sport, how a sport in itself can influence values and culture of a place, and the link between sports and politics, media, religion, economics, gender (S, 2005), youth and race etc. Sports sociology inspects the strong bond between sports and social mobility and the link between a sport and social inequality prevailing in a society.

B- Selection of Sport:

The sport that I have selected for sociological examination is football. Football has been chosen because the “attendance” data of football in America, over the years, has shown an upward trend. The prevalent associations of American culture with football and an integral role that media plays to cover various football events, have made this sport a central function for sociological examination.

The modern American society has a considerable level of interest in football. Today, people attend football games at high schools, middle schools and in their college stadiums. Football has emerged on the international stage as a professional game, appealing millions of fans across America and throughout the world. Media plays a vital role in promoting the event. Football is a visually interesting game and a competitive sport. Fans have their favorite teams which they support from game to game and also from season to season. Football being a professional sport, has received a wide coverage from media, radio and Television. When the fans are unable to attend the games physically, media serves the interest of the fans and keeps them updated about football. This sport successfully depicts the strong link between media as a promoter and a diversified community, taking interest in the sport. The perceived association is the major reason behind choosing this sport for sociological investigation.

Football fans today range from about 17-64 of age and are both males and females. They are from equal maxis of all the races and predominantly come from all walks of life. The diverse community would provide a broad and varied set of data for examination. The equal involvement of both of the genders would help to address the phenomenon of gender discrimination, a central fragment of sports’ sociology.

The football competition is not only between two teams. (JARVIE, 2002) At international level, it is between two distinct nationalities and two diversified races. They compete with each other to get a reward and a universal recognition. The collaboration of two different ethnic groups and the motive of fame make this sport an important case for sports sociologists.

All in all, Football being a competitive and a widely popular sport has a lot of drive for social investigation and examination. The element of success and a desire to win; rests at the heart of a socially interrogative model. These two components are substantial part of football as a socially provocative game. Everyone wants to be successful, both in personal life and business. The determination creates the competition. And, at the same time, the competition drives the determination for success (Anubhav, 2005). Football is very exciting when the favorite team is winning. It can be very frustrating when the favorite team is losing; hence the ups and downs in the behavior of the people can be observed and recorded. Football brings together various elements of a sociology namely people, media, gender, population and races together, hence making it a strong sociological case for examination.

II- Body:

A- Observation report:

a- Setting/environment: Because this assignment took place during the summer and most football teams are still engaged in off-season practice, I elected to watch a football practice of a local, high school team that was preparing for the fall, at the football stadium. The practice began very early in the morning to take advantage of the somewhat cooler air. Water stations and Gatorade containers were set up nearby, to encourage the players to remain properly hydrated.

b- Participants: There were not many participants that attended. There were approximately 20 players on the field. The coaches participated in some of the drills.

c- Attendees/Fans: Some parents and younger children were there with the players. The coach and several assistants were present and watching, given that this was a practice and school was not yet in session.

d- Dress/Attire/style: The players came with shoulder pads and other protective gear, ready to ‘suit up’ into their uniforms. Jerseys and helmets and were on the field without delay. All players wore helmets, but it is hard not to think of the negative press football has received regarding head injuries.

e- Behaviors Observed: The young men were friendly with one another. Despite the early hour, long before most students would arise in the summer, they seemed eager to play. Given the extreme heat, the players were clearly exhausted after several bouts of these drills. The coaches seemed to give the players a meaningful look instead of saying good job when players did an outstanding job.

f- Ambiance/Atmosphere: Although the players were engaged in a game, the practice was clearly treated as a ‘sacred space.’ Players did not question any of the guidance of the coach or complain, and any resistance was fairly muted, such as eyes being diverted to the ground in weariness. When the players rested during a break, the coach began to give a speech that was clearly designed to inspire the players, talking about the team’s newfound strengths this year and how it was looking forward to besting its past record. The young men were exhorted to work as hard as possible. There was talk about showing respect to others and values, which were linked to making a commitment to working hard at practice. Despite their sweatiness, the young men listened in silence.

g- Symbols: As soon as the practice uniform and padding was donned, a new identity was symbolically assumed by the players, no one saw age or race. They became a team known as the Riverton Rams.

h- Other Observations: This bonding has a cost. It excludes girls and non-members of the team. No women were helping out at the practice, and no girls were watching. The sacrifices demanded to play football were clearly masculine in character. And there are physical risks. Given that this was a practice and somewhat controlled, there was no spectacular helmet-crashing but players were clearly willing to push themselves in terms of speed and effort beyond their comfort zones in the name of excellence.

B- Analysis of Report:

From the sociological point-of-view, the practice match helps to draw the following conclusions:

There is strong sociological relationship between higher education and a sport like football. Students got together to play a practice match early in the morning because they have realized that to be successful in a sport, they need to put in as much hard work as they put in to get good grades at high school. The practice match is a struggle of a set of students to prove their physical strength, in the same manner as they have proved their educational potency.

Sports sociology instills a desire to perform better than others. The enthusiasm of the students in the practice match shows their desire to offer tough competition to their competitors.

According to the observation, the competitive match was inherently conservative with the teams being vitally enthusiastic to beat each other during the match. However, the friendly attitude of the competing teams, before and after the match show that the sport has inculcated a sense of sports man spirit in the students taking part in the game. Tolerance is important in a match and the same has been conveyed to the students by their coaches.

Students from different races were participating in the match. However, their identity was solely Riverton Rams, when they put on their uniform. A symbolically unified identity reveals that a harmonious and integrated racial relationship has been developed between the students of distinct identities. They are a singular body, striving hard to achieve a unifying goal i.e. victory for Riverton Rams. The elimination of caste, creed and race, under the banner of ‘Riverton Rams’ shows the underlying phenomenon of sociological sports.

The observed football game is an unprecedented form of gender discrimination. The game is predominantly masculine in nature; the female are absent altogether from the sport field. This conveys a sense that football as a sport is not preferable for females.

C- Direct Observation as a research methodology:

Field research like watching a football match is ‘non-intrusive’ in nature i.e. The observer is looking and recording behaviors, without the notice of the subjects under observation (techniques, 2004). This type of direct field observation has kept me aloof from becoming an active participant of the game itself and has helped be to record unbiased observations. Further, this form of direct observation has suggested a more detached and separate perspective of the subjects in concern. Moreover, this form of direct observation is more focused, precised and subject-oriented than a participant observation, in which I have to become the part of the match to obtain some physical data. I am simply observing the football match and the behavior of the players than trying to become immersed in the game. This method is less time consuming and less effort demanding (Wilkins).

III- Conclusion

A- Societal Role

The societal role of sports has been discussed for decades. Sport is a significant part of the society as both an entertainment enterprise and an educational fixture (forum). Sport lays foundation of social and human development; it can subsidize and contribute to the economic development of the subjects concerned; can bring in tolerance, social cohesion, integration and unity and is an operative channel for socio-economic and physical development. As a general language, sport can serve as an influential medium for economic and social change: it can be exploited to resolve conflicts, bridge cultural gaps and train people in ways that are not possible by any other activity. The basic goal of the Sports Socialization is to observe and promote the notion that a sport can be a dominant agent for variation and should be promoted by businesses, individuals, elites and governments to energize momentous positive progress and development in a political, economic and social context.

A number of people take part in a sport because they have varying degrees of interest. Fans are concerned to support their favorite team and the team of their nationality. Players pursue a sport as a passion or to gain economic benefits. Some people bid on a match and earn money by gambling.

B- Role of Sports in my life:

In my life, sport is an achievement motivator. Sports inspire accomplishment by directing one’s behavior towards positive and optimistic results and away from destructive outcomes. The love for quality sports has motivated me to set real life goals and then pursue them with the potency of a sport’s person.

My sports’ experience upholds that ‘Survival’ and ‘victory’ complements each other in a game. A desire to win supplements the player’s ability to survive the game. Survival here refers to a good team performance, which is a precursor to an ultimate triumph. Understanding the crux of sports and being a good sport person, I have learned to be determined and resolute in my practical life. Victory in a sport is certified by practice and a continuous hard work. Following the lesson offered by sports, I put in continuous and endless efforts in every task demanding time and precision.

Sports inculcate a feeling of nationhood, when being conducted at an international level. I, being a die-hard sports’ fan, support my country enthusiastically in every intercontinental sport’s event. I am unconcerned about the culture, class and creed of my team; all I wish for them is a good victory. Sports have infused a feeling of nation-hood within me.

C- How does your experience connect you to others who are sports fans and participants?

Similar to my insight, the sports’ fans perceive sports as a challenge and therefore want their teams to win. The desire to win together with the vigor to do well instills loyalty, love and a sense of nationhood in the entire sports’ fan community and the sports’ participants. I came across the similar spirits and morals, while observing the practice football match. The change of emotions, following the ups and downs of the game was experienced by me while watching the practice football match. The sport’s participants and sports’ fan undergo the similar tussle of emotions during a game. I observed that during the practice match, the participants with varying cultural identities were striving hard for victory under the common banner of ‘Riverton Rams’. Generalizing the team spirits, it can be said that all sports’ participants and fans aim for a collective victory; irrespective of the cultural divergence between them. They are tied together as one nation or a group, in their pursuit of victory. Loyalty and a sense of collective responsibility drive the motives and actions of all sports’ fans and participants. My experience of the match confirms that, the phenomenon of sport can be taken as a prime instance of globalization. Sports do that by reconfiguring and extending national cultural practices as a singular global phenomenon. Sports tie together the sports fan and the participants, submerging the existing differences between them.


Anubhav, H. (2005). Observations. Retrieved from

forum, W. e. (n.d.). Role of society in sport. Retrieved from

JARVIE, G. (2002). Race relations, sociology of sport. Retrieved from

S, J.E. (2005). Sociology of sports. Retrieved from

techniques, T. a. (2004). Direct Observations. Retrieved from

Wilkins, W. & . (n.d.). Sport Sociology. Retrieved from

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