Beginning with the early stages of savagery to the complex civilizations in the 21st century, the need to compete remains an important aspect in the continual evolution of mankind. Competition took various forms throughout history from the bloody attempts to kill a mammoth in order to provide nourishment, to the violent battles between two opposing sides taking place on college football fields every Saturday afternoon. Another form of competition involving severe contact on a scale par with football is the sport of rugby. My personal history with the sport began in a medium sized island in Polynesia. I lived and worked in New Zealand during the summer of 1999, between my sophomore and junior year. This little country hosts a number of different leagues and excels on the world level. I watched numerous matches on the television and in the parks. The first time I watched the national team (the “All Blacks”) was in a friendly match against New Zealand’s biggest rival, Australia (the “Wallabies”). I returned to Occidental in late August with an All Blacks jersey and the idea of playing rugby once my soccer season ended. Unfortunately the gods thought it would be better that I hold off on rugby for a year, so they helped me land on my right foot in such a way that I fractured my ankle during one of my last soccer games. The next semester I studied in southern France, specifically a city called Toulouse. The “Stade Toulousain” is the best club team in France, and has won numerous European club championships. After watching rugby in New Zealand and France, I finally started to play rugby over the course of my senior year.
When the opportunity to study a group for my ethnography in “Anthropology 370”...
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...ile too much playfulness is a problem also. The oval ball pictured above exemplifies a sport with many opposing themes and contradictions. With a round ball like soccer, the ball bounces rather consistently. On the other hand, the oval-shaped rugby ball is constantly competing against opposing forces for the specific direction it will travel.
Appadurai, Arjun. “Disjuncture and Difference in the Global Cultural Economy.” Global Culture: Nationalization, Globalization, and Modernity. Ed. Mike Featherstone. London: Sage, 1990. 295-319.
Bourdieu, Pierre. “How Can One be a Sports Fan?” The Cultural Studies Reader. Routledge, London.
Carruthers, Vanessa. In class discussions. Occidental College. 6 February 2001.
“Rugby.” Encyclopedia Brittanica. Online. Internet. 9 April 2001. Available: http://search.eb.com/bol/topic?eu=114957&sctn=1
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