Introduction Different parts of the world have their own cultures, and in these cultures there are certain “cultural norms”. Many people decide they would like to go out of a familiar area to study what these “cultural norms” are, but the hardest cultural norms to identify, are the ones in one’s own culture. For this experiment, I decided to sit at a sports bar and see how different groups of people would react to being at a restaurant with multiple NFL games on different televisions. I predicted that there would be a lot of male groups that would be present and intently watching the games.
I expected to see a lot of people drinking beers, rooting for teams, and talking about different teams’ statistics. I decided to study this because the south is known for adoring NFL and college football, and I wanted to see if these were the cultural norms for how we watch NFL football in a sports bar. Methods I went into downtown Clemson on Sunday, October 25, and sat down in the sports bar, Tiger Town Tavern. From 6:12 to 7:39 pm I watched how twenty-three people interacted with each other, while several different NFL games were shown.
I recorded notes on some notebook paper, sectioning off the paper into the different number of groups that were observed. The general observations are stated in Table 1, while the more detailed observations on their behaviors are in the Observation section. Observations Group 1 was composed of a group of five college-aged males. Each male was dressed similarly, long sleeved t-shirts and colored shorts. When they were not eating, the boys would either be on their phones, or watching one of the football games that were being shown.
Nobody really talked to each other, unless it was about the game, and even then, it was very brief. Group 1’s body positions were very similar throughout all five of the males. Three of the males had leaned back, while two slouched forward. The one male had leaned back had his arms crossed over their chest, and the other four boys were crouched over the table. Four of the five boys were on their cell phones, while the last one, who crossed his arms, would occasionally watch one of the football games. Group 2 was composed of an adult male and female.
They were dressed very casually, the male was in a t-shirt and sweatpants, while the girl was in a hoodie and leggings. They mostly talked amongst each other, and for the most part, did not pay attention to the football games. Towards the end of their time at the restaurant, the male did slowly focus on one of the football games. While the two were talking, the male would shake his head a lot and use his hands a little while he talked. The female would use her hands a lot, and she was very talkative. Group 3 was an adult male sitting at the bar.
He was dressed casually as well, jeans and a hoodie. His body position was very contorted, his lower half was facing the bar, and his food, while is upper half was turned about of a third of the way around so that he could watch a specific game. During commercial breaks, he would reposition is body and eat his food very quickly. This motion occurred every commercial break until he had finished his food. Only then did he sit in a position that faced the TV and was not contorted. Group 4 was a college aged female sitting at the bar.
Her attire was a bit more formal, but it was still casual. She had ordered a drink and was looking down at her phone a lot. When she was not looking at her phone, she would scan the room multiple times. She left approximately ten minutes after she arrived. Group 5 was a father, mother, and son. The child would move around a lot and would not stop moving until the food arrived. The husband would watch one of the football games that were going on, and would only talk if the son would ask a question, or the mother would snap at him, so that he might pay attention to her.
The mother would talk a lot, it didn’t matter if it was the child or the husband. Group 6 was a group of seven adults, four were males and three were females. The group of males all seemed to be wearing a Panthers jersey and jeans. The women were all dressed casually. No one in Group 6 was watching any of the games, the males were playing pool, and the women were at a table eating. The males had multiple beers, and it showed when one of the males would go into the kitchen a couple of times.
The females would talk amongst each other and would occasionally make comments to the males about their pool game. Over time, the group as a whole, got louder. Group 7 was a mother and her two college children. The daughter was slumped in her chair, looking around a lot. She would also mess with her straw and twist her ring around her finger. For the first half of their dinner the daughter would not talk a lot. Once the male left for a few moments, the daughter went to sit with her mother, and laid her head on the mother’s shoulder. The son would talk a lot while making gestures with his hands.
His eyes would get very wide at parts, and occasionally he would switch what language he was speaking in. The mother did not speak as much as the other two did. Her shoulders were very relaxed and her head was always pointing to the person who was talking. Throughout their dinner, nobody paid any attention to any of the football games that were shown. Group 8 was a college-age male. His body was pointed at the spot where the most football games were being played. When all of the TV’s had gone to commercials he would go on his phone.
He ordered food, but when he was served, he hardly touched any of it. Results From these observations, a cultural norm that can be identified is that most of the people that came with a group of people, did not come to watch football games. People in Group 1, and Group 2 were catching up with friends and were not paying attention to any football game. People in Group 5 and Group 7 were spending time with their families and not paying much attention to the game. The only exception in this case was when the husband from Group 5 would get lost in the football game he was watching.
Group 6 was the only group of people that would pay close attention to the games going on. If the person went to the bar by themselves, they were more likely to watch the games, if they were a male. Group 3 and Group 8 were both males that had come by themselves, but they were very into the game. Their posture was directed towards the televisions, and they would rarely break eye contact, unless it was for food during a commercial break. Group 4 was a girl who came by herself, but she was not paying attention to any of the games.
Also from these observations, eight of the twenty-three people were females while fifteen were males. From this, it can be said that more males will go to a sports bar while a football game is shown. Discussion Discovering that the cultural norm that most people that go to a sports bar when a football game is playing, do not go to watch the game. This cultural norm can disprove the stereotype that Americans mainly go to a bar to watch a football game. A future study that can be done is to see if the population of the United States goes to sports bars to watch football.
Currently the culturally norm that people do not go to sports bars to watch football, can only represent the southern part of the United States. This is because the observations were only taken from a sports bar in Clemson, South Carolina, which is part of the south. If the cultural norm were to be generalized, people in sports bars from around the nation would have to be observed, and that could be a great follow up study. Ethnographic observations can be difficult to conduct and there can be many downsides to their interpretations.
The researcher must go to a place where a large number of people will show up and the researcher must be able to write down everything they see, without being biased. When they try to interpret the behaviors, the conclusions must be unbiased and must be respectfully worded. Even if this occurs, the results can be foreign to the scientist’s culture, and different scientists can violently reject the findings. Another thing that could happen is that the people that were observed could find the results extremely offensive, and verbally abuse the researcher.