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On the 21st day of February, I attended a basketball match between Miles College and Judson College. The match was taking place at Miles College basketball pitch and started at 8.30 am. All the teams were ready and the spectators had occupied their positions before 8 am. The lecturers and the students of both colleges showed up for the event, with the largest attendance from Miles College, since they hosted the match. The match had not started yet, and every person in the field was harboring hopes of winning the competition. This match portrayed many things, as based on the sociological point of view. Sociological theories like functionalism and conflict and role theory were manifested in the game. The fans supported their teams and this showed the aspect of belonging, as each person needed to be associated with a team. Upon defeat, Judson College fans and players were sadly leaving the field, while Miles College players and fans jumped all over singing with joy.
At around 8 am all spectators gathered in the sports field waiting for the players. Exactly at 8.30 am, all the teams arrived and we all stood and sung Miles College anthem. After the anthem, we were welcomed by the principal of Miles College, with Judson College giving a welcoming speech as well. We all clamped our hands and took our seats. At around 9 am, the referee blew the whistle and the game started. At this time, all the fans were silent. After five minutes of a hard struggle between the two teams, one from Judson College player scored three points. All the Judson fans stated making noise and sinning songs of victory. They were praising the player who had scored three points.
The game started again and Miles College scored two points. At this time, the field was full of noise with each team singing songs mentioning the names of the players. They sang and cheered, so the noise was heard far away. At this point, the players of both teams played aggressively and with confidence. After three minutes, Judson College managed to score three points again. Everybody cheered, even the principal of Judson College. The game was tough and the players played hard. The referee gave warnings to many players of both teams. The fans did not seize making noise, but sang at the top of their voices.
After a few minutes, the players went to rest and the fans followed the teams to their changing rooms. The players from both teams were being given medical attention. Many players at this point were tired. Judson College was leading with 39 points, while Miles had 34 points. The coaches of both teams were giving advice on how to strengthen their play. After a few minutes, the players went back to the field. They rested and stood with more confidence, since they had been given advice on how to improve their performance. The referee inspected the players and, after one minute, he blew the whistle and the game resumed.
The players chased after each other struggling to get the ball. After one minute, Miles College scored two points. The game went on and Miles scored three points. They scored three points several times without anything scored by Judson College. At this point, the fans from Judson College kept quiet and the fans from Miles College were singing songs of victory. They sang songs of mockery to Judson College calling them the hate names. After so many scores, from Miles College one player from Judson managed to score twice.
The time was almost up and the players from MilesCollege were scoring three points each time. At this moment, the fans from Judson College had given up and stopped cheering. They did not motivate their players and this made the whole team lose hope and let the competitors win the match. The referee blew the whistle to mark the end of the game and, at this time, Miles College had 134 points while Judson had 76 points. The fans from Miles sang different songs. They jumped into the pitch and danced all over. They carried their players around and gave them new clothes. The student who was leading the cheering team carried the school flags and another flag which read,” Miles defeats the undefeatable”. The players from MilesCollege were dancing together with the fans. Each person from Miles College was happy, including the principal. The fans from Judson College were quiet and unnoticeable, since they went out before the game ended. Some of the players from Judson were crying and lying down on the ground.
At 4 pm, we met at the assembly ground where all the fans and players were present. This was the closing meeting and we started by singing the anthem of Miles College followed by Judson’s. Students from Miles College made a few presentations to entertain the audience. They sang different songs and performed drama plays, which was entertaining for everybody. They made each person laugh, even the players from Judson who cried after the match. After the entertainment speeches had been made by different people, the best players were awarded and encouraged to take basketball as their carrier. After the play, the words of gratitude were given by the principal of Mile College. The meeting was closed by words of prayer. After the meeting, the players from Judson College boarded their college bus and left. The player and fans from Miles College went back to their hostels and resumed their normal routine.
Feelings of belongingness and social identification
There are sociological groups and each person finds a way to associate himself with a certain group. People may feel uncomfortable, when not associated with other people. They like interaction and, in the process, they form groups in which they can share ideas and feel safer since they belong to a certain group. Those groups include religion, family, and sports clubs. In this contest, the groups focused on a sports club. Each person in the field participated in one way or the other and had a sense of belonging (Steve, 2002).
The players played their favorite game and enjoyed it, because even after the defeat of Judson, the players were motivated. The best players were given presents and encouraged to keep up their performance. There are so many games to play and the players would feel uncomfortable without participating in any game. Sociologists regard different games as types of group identity that individuals associate themselves with. The players of this match choose basketball as their group. During the game, the players showed much interest and played with confidence, since they felt they belonged to a certain group. The players from JudsonCollege cried after defeat. Each team stayed focused on the group which the players and fans identified themselves with. After the defeat of Judson, the players cried while the fans walked away from the field since their group was defeated. They felt ashamed to associate themselves with a defeated group (Ford, 2004).
The fans in the field were cheering their teams and this motivated the players. The fans from Judson College cheered for their players and this made them feel as if they belonged to the team, even though they did not participate in the game themselves. They identified themselves with the team. The fans from Miles College who responded with great numbers appeared to have liked the players and interacted with them from the start of the game up to the end (Layton, 1997).
After the end of the game, we went to the closing assembly and same students entertained the audience. There were some songs and performances going on. This shows that even those who did not participate in the game had found groups to identify themselves. At the play, they did not show up because they did not have an identity. They could not identify themselves with a group. They performed with much confidence, because they were proud of being identified with that group (William and Hickey, 2005).
The principals and lecturers from both schools had a place where they watched the match. They formed a group identity with, because they felt uncomfortable in the company of the students who were cheering for their teams loudly. During the game, both principals and students responded to each success of their teams. This shows that the principals and other lecturers had identified themselves with the teams from their colleges. They felt comfortable, since they had a certain group to identify with. During the final closing ceremony, the players who showed much potential were given presents. They were given words of advice by the chief guest. He told them that they should join international basketball clubs. He advised them to make the game their career. This shows that even the chief guest was aware that people should belong to a certain group. The best players did not suit the identity of a college-level basketball team, albeit the best. Competition existed between the in-groups and out-of-groups. The two groups competed, while the fans cheered strongly to recognize their in-group emerging as the winner. As evidenced in the match, the members from Judson College had left before the match ended, and this shows that they would have liked to be associated with the victorious group (George, 1990).
The socially acceptable outlet for hostile and aggressive feelings
At the start of the match, all the teams and fans were calm and did not make loud noise. The match began and, when Judson College scored the first points, the fans started singing songs of encouragement, and the players changed the mode of playing. Each team started playing hard game and the fans from both sides did a lot of cheering. Hostility and aggressiveness is provoked by stimuli. In the game, the players could not behave in hostile ways without the stimuli to provoke their feelings. There are some moments when aggressiveness is discouraged, but on some occasions it may even be helpful, e.g., when an individual exhibits aggressiveness and hostile behavior in order to achieve something to benefit his in-group (Blumer, 1998).
During the first round of the game, the players started rather smoothly. They feared each other, and hence could not develop negative attitude towards each other. When each team scored, they changed and the referee had a hard time to control the players. The players injured each other during the match because at the resting time players of both teams were given first aid. The aggression made both teams play to their fullest and show their best, as expected by their coach. On return from the first round rest, MilesCollege performed well and managed to beat JudsonCollege. This occurred because Miles had started applying aggressiveness in their play and their fans cheered with more aggressiveness. The hostile behavior adopted by Miles College in the second round injured one of the best players from Judson College and this made Judson’s team become weaker and lose (Steve, 2002).
Role of sport plays as a cultural element to bring meaning to life
Plays and games serve many roles in individual’s life. People develop the sense of belonging. Games also develop the aspect of cultural enhancement and strengthening of cultural beliefs. Individuals meet at different times, while playing different games, and share their cultural practices. In the time of tournaments, the players and fans interacted with each other sharing their views of life and practices. On many occasions, sports serve as a place for future marriages. Many people meet at sporting events and start relationships which lead to marriage. During the games, people sing songs and dance according to their culture, thus strengthening cultural practices. Most of the sports are set according to groups’ cultural practices. The customs exhibited during sports events enhance the cultural practice of a certain group. For example, basketball was developed in America and the costumes worn during the match were adopted from American culture (Layton, 1997).
This match between Miles and Judson Colleges was played by men. The game did not have any woman in the field; even the referee was a man. This showed that they respected their culture and the good spirit of the game. Basketball was developed in America, and the culture did not allow both sexes to play together. The match respected and practiced culture. The people at the match came from different states and races. They interacted and shared their ideas on how they perceived life. Boys and girls from both colleges’ interacted, as did the teachers of different sexes, and this showed that they could have made a relationship, which could turn into a marriage in future and enhance their culture (Blumer, 1998).
At the start of the game, Miles College had to sing the college’s anthem and this was the cultural practice of the college. On every game, the national anthem was to be sung before the start and at the end of the match. The college’s anthem reminded the students of their cultural practices and beliefs. When Miles won the game, they cerebrated all over. They sang and danced traditional songs .They promoted their culture with the songs and dancing. The game made them proud of their college and cultural practices (Ford, 2004).
After the game, the principal from Miles College expressed the words of gratitude, as it was the norm for every event in Texas. The teams went home joyful and relieved due to interaction. They exchanged their views on life and this made people change their negative attitudes. The best players were encouraged to join international basketball clubs. This made many of them gain a new meaning in life because they realized that they had potential of making the best and developing their talent (George, 1990).
According to the sociological role theory, individuals like participating in a certain group. All people need to participate in the in-groups and the out-groups. In sports, all people involved play a certain role, hence they feel occupied and recognized. The key people in a game are players, but those who cannot play could instead help develop the sense of belonging.
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