The field of sociology of sports is a subdivision of the discipline of sociology. Sociology of sports highlights the relationship between sports and the society. This field of sociology identifies how a sport is influenced by the culture of different people and their values. It also identifies how culture and values of a society are influenced by sports. Through the study of the sociology of sport, one can identify the socio-cultural values of different groups of people who engage in various sports. These values include religious values, economic status, and their gender (Delaney & Madigan, 2002).
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On April 22, 2013, the Brooklyn Nets met the Chicago Bulls during the NBA basketball game in the eastern conference playoff. This was the second game in the series, and the players and the audience focused on the game’s results in order to predict the success in the next games after the win of the Nets in the first game of the series.
In the research, the sport of choice was basketball. The match observed was between the Chicago Bulls and the Brooklyn Nets. The research studied basketball because it is one of the most popular sports in the world, and its game’s venues are a potential environment for a sociologist to observe the diversity in culture. People from different cultural groups attend basketball games; thus, the sport is viable for a research in sports sociology.
The game was held at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. The Barclays Center can accommodate more than 18 thousand of spectators. The majority of seats were occupied by the teams’ fans. It is possible to note that the space and environments did not affect the behaviors of players or fans significantly because of rather comfortable conditions of the place. Nevertheless, it is necessary to concentrate on the atmosphere which can be discussed as rather tense because of the game’s significance and because of the players and audience’s excitement associated with the starting games of the series.
This event was selected because it held huge importance to the players in the sport, and the fans of the participating teams were expected to show up in big numbers. It was a perfect event to observe the behavior of the players and the fans in the tense game. The aspect of cultural diversity in the venue would also be clearly highlighted. In the findings of the research, it was established that the social inequality variables among the fans were difficult to attain because the fans were dressed in similar attire. The fans wore jerseys in unison to the respective teams they were supporting; however, based on the teams’ status, one could assume the audience was made up of individuals from the upper middle class. The majority of the fans were males from different age brackets.
The fans of the Nets and the Bulls could be easily differentiated because of wearing the elements of the clothes and symbols with the teams’ main colors. The Nets’ fans represented the majority of the audience because of the specific place in the game to be held. The majority of the audience was the male public in different age categories, including students and middle-aged person. It is possible to assume that the audience included many representatives of the upper middle class with references to the teams’ status.
The public wore a lot of symbolic elements of clothing that is why it was rather difficult to state the social status of fans referring to their dress. The Latin Americans and African Americans were presented at the game.
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The players of the Nets and the Bulls can be compared to the fans in relation to their age and race. Many players of two teams are African Americans in comparison with the racial division among the audience. Moreover, the middle age of players is not above 35 years when the middle age of the male audience can be discussed as above 37-38 years. Considering that the majority of the fans were male, the research concluded that the basketball sport is predominantly watched by males.
It was also established that the African Americans are the largest supporting group of the sport. Basketball is a very popular game among the African American people; however, there are also Latin Americans and Whites supporting the sport. The sport influences the behavior of the players and the audience. The players were observed to be vigilant and aggressive in the game play, whereas the audience followed suit by screaming and cheering for their respective teams.
Considering that the majority of the fans were male, the research concluded that the basketball sport is predominantly watched by males. It was also established that the African Americans are the largest supporting group of the sport. Basketball is a very popular game among the African American people; however, there are also Latin Americans and Whites supporting the sport. The sport influences the behavior of the players and the audience. The players were observed to be vigilant and aggressive in the game play, whereas the audience followed suit by screaming and cheering for their respective teams.
It is necessary to concentrate on the specifics of the players’ communication during the game. The style of the players’ game was not aggressive, but the tension was observed. It is possible to refer to the reaction of Joakim Noah (the Bulls) to different technical elements of the game in the form of loud screaming and even roar (Joakim Noah’s roar, 2013). The public actively reacted to the behaviors of the players also with screaming. The ‘waves’ of screaming were observed as the reaction to the teams’ successes as well as faults. It was possible to observe the repeated behaviors of the fans when the groups of fans reflected the reactions of the other groups (Yiannakis & Melnick, 2001).
Any deviant behaviors expressed by fans were observed. However, it is necessary to note the highly competitive character among the fans in relation to supporting the team with screams and claps. Definite types of ritualistic behaviors were observed when the fans of the same team greeted each other (Delaney, 2009).
The special language is characteristic for the players, coaches, and commentators who use a lot of terms to describe the elements of the game. The fans are inclined to share specific knowledge about the results in the series of games, and about the players’ personalities and style of playing.
Field observation gives a researcher first hand data and information to work with. I got the chance to witness diversity in culture and the influence of sports to values and culture (Robson, 2002). This method provides the researcher with authentic findings, and the conclusions made are valid because the primary data and information is free from any bias.
People from different cultural groups interact with each other through different avenues. Sports are avenues of interaction between people in the society. It brings cohesion in a society while influencing the acceptance of cultural differences. In sports, the social, economic, and cultural differences are camouflaged by the games, bringing people together. The interaction between sports values and cultural values unifies the people in the society, and it promotes the spirit of togetherness as the fans support their favorite teams (Delaney, 2009).
Delaney, T. (2009). The sociology of sports: An introduction. North Carolina: McFarland and Company Inc. Publishers.
Delaney, T. & Madigan, T. (2002). The Sociology of Sports: An Introduction. North Carolina: McFarland and Company Inc. Publishers.
Joakim Noah’s roar. (2013). Web.
Robson, C. (2002). Real world research: A resource for social scientists and practitioner-researchers (Vol. 2). Oxford: Blackwell.
Yiannakis, A., & Melnick, M. (2001). Contemporary issues in sociology of sport. Illinois: Human Kinetics.