My High School’S Girls Soccer Discourse Community
In the years before I took English 1010, I did not know that a discourse community was a thing, let alone a widely known thing. After I read the information that my professor gave to me and researched a little bit about them I now know what they are. They are usually a club, team, or group of some sort. I do not have a very broad social life, but I did decide that the best discourse community for me to write about is my high school’s girls soccer team. This is where I met one of my best friends, Laney and thought that writing about the experience, and how they communicate, might give someone an inside scoop to what my high school’s girls soccer team was all about.
James Paul Gee said that discourse communities are about communicating with others on a daily basis. The easiest way to understand a group of people is by becoming one of them. There are many characteristics which make up a community and communicating with our voices is just one of them. My freshman year of high school I joined the girls varsity soccer team. I learned that this group of girls was not like the group of girls in my elementary or even my junior high that I hung out with. Not only did they speak with their body language, but the girls constantly were giving commands, or suggestions to the other players.
The best way to get to know these girls and to be on their level of expertise, was to know their terms for certain parts of the field, or where to pass the ball. Before we were actually on the team, we had tryouts, this was hard for me because I did not know the terms that the coach would use, but I followed along with what the other, more experienced girls were doing. I ended up being among the first chosen to be on the team the next day. I spoke with my coach at the end of the last day of tryouts and asked him if he could help me out with the different terms that the girls had been using, he said that the best way to learn is by hearing and seeing what task is being completed. From that day forward, I trained and listened as hard as I could every day.
As the practices went on throughout the year, I began to be accustomed to the words that the girls were saying, although at first I did not give commands to the other girls, I knew what the more advanced girls were talking about as I watched the other girls complete the commands. It was hard at first because the terms that they were using were not similar to the ones that I had used before, but as soon as I knew what to do when the commands were said it got easier. For example, the term, “through ball”, meaning pass the ball between two girls on the opposite team, meant the same thing to them as the word “split” as I had learned before. The easiest way that the girls could communicate with each other outside of school and practice was over a Facebook group.
My freshman year, the captain of the team started the group, although it was a private page, we could share all of the events with our friends on Facebook if we chose to do so. This was the easiest way to remind the girls that we were supposed to wear a certain color, what time practice got changed to, when and where our group activities were, etc. Our coach pushed us to spend time off the field together, he thought that if the team had chemistry off the field it would be easier for us to communicate on the field. I found that when we did have a team dinner the night before our game, it was easier to talk to the girls on the field. When we were having fun with the game, passing and talking became easier, and we would win games because of this.
As the years went on, I became one of the people that the younger girls looked up to. I eventually became the Captain, of the team; and my senior year I was MVP. I used every day as a learning experience and that was how I became the person I strived to be ,since the first day of being on the team. I had learned all of the special commands, and positions, within my four years of playing for this team. Although I had learned a lot from the older girls on the team; I also learned a lot from the younger girls. Some of them had struggles and I had to learn to explain the drills and positions to them in a way that they would understand; just as the older girls had done for me.
Younger players came to me for answers just as I had gone to the older ones when I was younger. I treated them with as much respect as if it was me standing there asking for help, to understand what was going on. On the front of our Jerseys we had our mascot, an eagle. I love the eagle because it represents, courage and strength which I believe is a big part of being on the team, and working together to go further. I believe that calling ourselves ‘lady eagles’ was one way to remind ourselves that we are strong, and that we could push through anything. Not only are the girls communicating with their body movement, but also with their voices, which is something powerful that is needed to play the game.
When first starting high school, I thought there would be a huge culture change, but that did not happen. Everyone on the team, chose to hold the same values, along with when a younger team member had questions. There was no talking down to others, everyone was always very respectful and helpful. I learned that through listening and communicating with the other girls on the team, I was able to learn what certain words meant, along with what happened when they said them. I also grew in knowledge about how to be a successful captain for a girls soccer team, through communication, having respect for the girls, and accommodating those depending on their needs.
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