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Team Effort: the Communities Created Through Sports

In: Social Issues

Submitted By mliljenquist
Words 2621
Pages 11
Hayden Liljenquist

ENG 102

Dr. Pegram

July 31, 2012

Team Effort:

The Communities Created Through Sports


Within today’s society, a number of small, unique communities exist. Communities can range from social, to religious, to occupational. In order to be considered a separate and distinct “community,” the group needs to share common characteristics or interests and be perceived as distinct from the larger society as a whole. Sports teams provide a particularly good example of a community. They separate themselves by the games they play, even by the name they call themselves. The entire world of sports itself can seem confusing to someone who doesn’t understand the rules. Behind each game is a complex realm of jargon, hierarchy, and guidelines. In order to play, you need to learn. And hopeful members work to earn their spot on the team. Through personal participation, as well as observation, one can witness for themselves just how the community created by a team functions.

The team experience resonates with a lot of people, and has attracted film makers with stories of motivation, hope, and overcoming the odds. Many of the most well-known sports movies are often even inspired by true stories. In all of these films, similar themes can be found, demonstrating just how much the feeling of community within teams is shared throughout all areas of sports. Teams have a goal, face a challenger, and overcome obstacles, all in the hope of becoming something greater than they started as.

Until relatively recently, sports films rarely did well at the box office. They were considered movies for younger boys, and associated with ideas like hero worship, nostalgia, and over-romanticizing. But, the sports film genre of today has gained popularity among movie-goers, pulling in audiences that otherwise have no interest in sports. The appeal of many of these films lies in their uplifting stories of victories over great odds. They also often serve as a way to explore human psychology, especially the challenges faced by young adults adjusting between childhood dreams and the harsh realities of adulthood. It isn’t uncommon in these types of films to see the transition of boys into men.

Having a Goal

Common among all sports teams is a desire to win; to reach their goal. Coaches and teammates all work together to give themselves the best possible chance of success. Many sports films depict the extraordinary pressure placed on high school football players. Particularly, boys from small towns find themselves in the spotlight with the hopes of the whole community resting on top of them. In the movie Friday Night Lights, Coach Gary Gaines (played by Billy Bob Thorton) gives an intimidating pep talk before the championship game to his team, telling them “Gentlemen, the hopes and dreams of an entire town are riding on your shoulders. You may never matter again in your life as much as you do right now." With such pressure to preform, teams focus in on the important goal of winning.

Having a set goal can be a powerful motivator when it comes to how well a team performs. Goals not only give individual players objectives and numbers to strive for, but they can also be used as a measuring stick to monitor progress for the whole team. Goals are agreed upon between a coach and player and worked on together, over and over again as the competitive season progresses. Nothing brings the team closer together than sharing a common goal. And as teams work together, they strive for greatness, hoping to become as close to perfect as possible. Coach Gaines (Thorton) explains, “Being perfect is not about that scoreboard out there. It's not about winning. It's about you and your relationship with yourself, your family and your friends. Being perfect is about being able to look your friends in the eye and know that you didn’t let them down, because you told them the truth. And that truth is you did everything you could. There wasn’t one more thing you could've done. Can you live in that moment as best you can, with clear eyes, and love in your heart, with joy in your heart? If you can do that gentleman, you're perfect." In this, members of the team can reach a goal greater than the game. The goals of a sports team don’t always have to be winning a championship (although that is one major objective). The goals of the team can range from improved confidence to better relationships and beyond. In this way, the goals of sports teams become extremely multi-faceted.

Learning Lessons Beyond the Game

Sports require people to learn rules and guidelines. They require discipline, practice, and devotion if a person hopes to excel in them. These are traits that are not unique to the world of games and sports, but can transcend into the real world of business, school, and relationships with others. Many times, important life lessons can be taught through playing with the team. These teaching moments can come when they are least expected. In the 1986 film, Hoosiers, Gene Hackman plays a passionate basketball coach faced with a rough past and a team of less-than hopeful players. After being forced out of a coaching role, George (played by Chelcie Ross) says to Coach Norman Dale (Hackman), "Look, mister, there's two kinds of dumb. Uh, guy that gets naked and runs out in the snow and barks at the moon, and, uh, guy who does the same thing in my living room. First one don't matter, the second one you're kinda forced to deal with." Even though Coach Dale earns his place, the important analogy given here demonstrates how team members can become better equipped to deal with different types of people and challenges that come their way. This is especially true within the team itself, where working together is critical to everyone’s success. Often, team members disagree or do not initially get along. These types of fallouts can bring arguments, poor performance, and loses. But continued practices and exposure to each other allows an opportunity for all members of the team to learn from one another, and work past their differences to achieve success.

Sports are also physically and mentally exhausting. Even the strongest of competitors can crumble under the immense pressure at times. A League of Their Own follows the story of two sisters, who have become a part of the first women’s professional baseball team. Their manager Jimmy Dugan, played by Tom Hanks, gives the girls some tough love when he shouts “There’s no crying in baseball!” The ladies on this team, along with many team participants in reality, succumbed to tears from stress and challenges. Luckily, Dugan (Hanks) goes on: “It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great." A similar lesson is taught in the movie Glory Road, when Coach Haskins explains to his team, “You'll play basketball my way. My way is hard.” Members of sports teams are often better equipped to overcome difficulties, because of what they have already faced in playing sports. They learn to work past “hard” and can see what is truly worthwhile. To members of a team, hard work translates to victory, and the difficulties overcome bring the whole community closer together.

Coming Together

Sports teams can bring together people who may have not otherwise had a reason to form a relationship with one another. Unlikely partnerships can be formed, which can create lasting friendships. In the movie Seabiscuit, based on the true events behind the famous racehorse’s success, a group of very different men are brought together because of their passion and drive. They not only changed their own lives, but lifted the hopes of an entire nation, struggling to surface out of the depression. Jockey Red Pollard (Tobey McGuire) understands the impact that this unlikely team made in his own life: “I was crippled for the rest of my life. I got better. He made me better. Hell, you made me better.”

Coming together can be especially difficult for teammates who come from different places, or even other teams. Great players often want to rely solely on their own abilities. But, that’s not really how the game works. Often, working with a team requires a little humility from all of the players, regardless of how talented they are. The movie Miracle chronicles the story of the famous U.S. Olympic hockey team’s victory in 1980 over seemingly invincible Russia. After a particularly bad game against an mediocre opponent Norway, USA coach Herb Brooks (played by Kurt Russell) skates his team until they are about to drop. Only team captain Mike Eruzione saves them when he realizes that the name on the front of the jersey is more important than the one on the back. His moment of revelation comes when he utters “I play for...the United States of America!” This becomes a major turning point for the entire team.

Perhaps one of the best film portrayals of fellowshipping and coming together through sports is in the critically acclaimed movie, Remember the Titans. In the midst of the civil rights movement, a small town school becomes one of the first inter-racial football teams. Based on the actual events of 1971, the team becomes the unifying symbol for the community as both the boys as well as the adults learn to depend on and trust each other. Coach Herman Boone, played by Denzel Washington, in one of the most powerful scenes in the film takes the players on a workout to Gettysburg.

“This is where they fought the battle of Gettysburg. Fifty thousand men died right here on this field, fighting the same fight that we are still fighting among ourselves today. This green field right here, painted red, bubblin' with the blood of young boys. Smoke and hot lead pouring right through their bodies. Listen to their souls, men. I killed my brother with malice in my heart. Hatred destroyed my family. You listen, and you take a lesson from the dead. If we don't come together right now on this hallowed ground, we too will be destroyed, just like they were. I don't care if you like each other of not, but you will respect each other. And maybe, I don’t know, maybe we’ll learn to play this game like men.”

The Impact of Sports Teams

Becoming part of a team can change an entire life. According to the 2008 film Sugar, over 25 percent of baseball players were born in Latin American countries. At 19, Miguel "Sugar" Santos (Algenis Perez Soto), who was born in the Dominican Republic, signs a deal to play baseball with Kansas City. He is sent to the team "The Swing" in the fictional town of Bridgetown, Iowa, where he lives with a local farm family. From here, a whole new world of experiences begin to open up to Sugar. He works through issues like leaving his mom and girlfriend behind, living in a completely new and different culture, and trying to learn English. He has to learn to work to through his nerves, and work hard to succeed. By navigating friendships, encountering racism, and a woman's mixed signals, he learns valuable lessons. Most people who participate on teams will find similar trials such as dealing with an injury or being faced with the temptation to try performance-enhancing drugs. All of these challenges are part of finding a place on the team and in the world. The team itself can also be pivotal in providing the necessary encouragement and support to overcome difficult trials and sorrows in life.

Being part of a team can strengthen a person’s confidence and self-esteem. Doubts can be lessened, and self-assurance can grow with victory. In Varsity Blues, Jonathan "Mox" (James Van Der Beek) has been pressured by his father to play football since childhood, but hasn’t seen much action as only a second string quarterback. But after the first string quarterback Lance Harbor (Paul Walker), is totally injured, Mox is brought in to finish the season. He rallies his teammates with his speech, "If we go out and half-ass it cause we're scared, then we'll always wonder if we were really good enough. But if we go out there and give it all we've got... that's heroic. You guys wanna be heroes?" For those who take sports seriously, the hope of slipping into legend is always in the back of their minds.

One of the most underrated documentaries about sports, Hoop Dreams follows the story of young inner-city youths trying to work their way out of poverty through basketball. It's an amazing story that young people everywhere should see and it provides many inspirational moments. One young man explains to the camera and crew, "People always say to me, 'When you get to the NBA, don't forget about me.' Well, I should've said back, 'If I don't make it to the NBA, don't you forget about me.' "Basketball, and being a part of a team that depends on them, is actually and truly shaping the lives of these young boys. It is their big chance to change the lives of their families, and shape their own future. Whether or not they make it to the professional level, they are still impacted by the lessons they learned through team sports.


Playing sports, and being on a team fosters a unique and powerful community experience. Complex lessons of work ethic, endurance, and creating lasting relationships all work in favor of those who bury themselves in the game. In the end, many find they have achieved victory far beyond that of just the game. As stated in the memorable story of Rudy, “You're five foot nothin', one hundred and nothin' and you have nearly a speck of athletic ability. And you hung in there with the best college football team in the land for two years. And you're gonna walk outta here with a degree from the University of Notre Dame. In this life, you don't have to prove nothin' to nobody but yourself."

The lessons a person can take from being part of a team extend far. Being part of a team can impact the total experience of a whole life, as well as bring important meaning to an individual. Coach Dale (Hackman in Hoosiers) tells it straight when he states, “If you put your effort and concentration into playing to your potential, to be the best that you can be, I don't care what the scoreboard says. At the end of the game, in my book, we're gonna be winners.”

Works Cited

Friday Night Lights. Dir. Peter Burg. Perf. Billy Bob Thornton, Jay Hernandez, and Derek Luke. 2006. Film.

Glory Road. Dir. James Gartner. Perf. Josh Lucas, Derek Luke and Austin Nichols. 2006. Film.

Hoop Dreams. Dir. Steve James. Perf. William Gates, Arthur Agee and Emma Gates. 1994. Film.

Hoosiers. Dir. David Anspaugh. Perf. Gene Hackman, Barbara Hershey and Dennis Hopper. 1986. Film.

A League of Their Own. Dir. Penny Marshall. Perf. Tom Hanks, Geena Davis, and Lori Petty. 1992. Film.

Miracle. Dir. Gavin O’Connor. Perf. Kurt Russell, Patricia Clarkson and Nathan West. 2004. Film.

Remember the Titans. Dir. Boaz Yakin. Perf. Denzel Washington and Will Patton. 2000. Film.

Rudy. Dir. David Anspaugh. Perf. Sean Astin, Jon Favreau, and Ned Beatty. 1993. Film.

Seabiscuit. Dir. Gary Ross. Perf. Tobey McGuire and Jeff Bridges. 2003. Film

Sugar. Dir. Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck. Perf. Algenis Perez Soto, Rayniel Rufino and Andre Holland. 2008. Film.

Varsity Blues. Dir. Brian Robbins. Perf. James Van Der Beek, Jon Voight and Paul Walker. 1999. Film.…...

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...Nike Football Team Sports La agilidad como motor del crecimiento Resumen Hoy en día, se puede decir que no hay persona que no reconozca esta marca llamada Nike, ya que es una de las marcas más conocidas a nivel mundial. Nike posee una cuota considerable del mercado mundial de material deportivo, valorado en 15.000 millones de dólares. Además, patrocina los equipos de fútbol profesional más importantes, como el FC Barcelona, el Manchester United o el Arsenal. Pero tan sólo en Europa hay unos 500.000 equipos de fútbol amateur, y todos ellos necesitan camisetas, pantalones, calcetines, calzado y demás ropa deportiva personalizada. En ese mercado aún por explotar el equipo de operaciones de Nike para Europa, Oriente Próximo y África vio un potencial enorme.  El Mercado del Fútbol Amateur en Europa La historia de Nike es bien conocida. Desde sus comienzos en 1964 como importador de zapatillas de deporte japonesas, ha crecido hasta convertirse en una de las marcas –y logos– más conocidas del mundo. La empresa fabrica una amplia gama de categorías de producto, desde calzado y ropa deportivos hasta equipos de golf y aparatos electrónicos. Sus productos cubren casi todos los deportes conocidos, y su éxito es tal que Nike controla un tercio del mercado mundial de ropa deportiva de marca. En el caso del mercado del fútbol europeo, Nike ha hecho grandes progresos desde que entrara en los noventa con su sonado patrocinio del equipo nacional de Brasil. Aunque ahora patrocina a algunos......

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