One of my favorite classes this semester is the Sociology of Sports (SOC2111). As an aspiring sports journalist, I knew I had to take this class, and tacked it on despite a full courseload already. While I’ll watch every game, memorize every stat, and can passionately hold my own, what really intrigues me is why people play the game and why it means so much to us. Sociology of Sports examines just that.
For our first assignment of the year, we had to watch a sports movie and write a paper examining the myths presented in the film. I could have chosen from dozens that are favorited in my Netflix library: the Mighty Ducks, Miracle, Invincible, the Rookie. Instead, I selected one of my absolute favorites: Remember the Titans. I explored how racial barriers are overcome and how a football team could teach an entire community about transcending cultural ideologies. The topic fascinated me, and it was a great excuse to rewatch the movie on a school night. What I found was that the Titans’ story attempts to teach us that sport can overcome all barriers. While this lesson might not always be true, these sports myths serve as a vehicle for myths in our culture and the lessons society wants to teach us.
Our second assignment was to read Friday Night Lights, watch the movie of the same title, and compare the two. I finished the book this morning in between classes and I was so devastated when the epilogue came to an end. So many issues concerning student-athletes were raised, and I wanted resolutions to all of them. After spending nearly a decade of my childhood in Texas, I was captivated by the elements of Texas high school football I wasn’t exposed to during my time there. I expected football to tie the town of Odessa together in positive ways, not the negative consequences of crowning football King.
This weekend, I’m particularly looking forward to our next homework assignment: watching the Super Bowl. I turn to my friend, Jordan, every class and ask him how any of this is considered homework. That’s how I know I’ve chosen the right path.