Discourse Community Analysis: Basketball
The Height of Discourse After I watched two hours of intense play and the huddle split, I observed high fives and complex handshakes of some sort. “Hampton on three. Hampton on three. ONE, TWO, THREE, HAMPTON!” They started coming my way; as an ex-basketball player, deep down I yearned for a handshake or some kind of acknowledgment, but I sat there like a fork in the road. Each member parted around me to my left and to my right, some giving head nods and some giving nothing at all. I quickly realized that I was clearly not a part of this discourse community.
One rainy evening, I sat in my house bored as all ever and realized that I had an assignment to observe and analyze a discourse community. So I walked over to Holland Hall and sat
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I observed that they said “Bang Bang” whenever one wanted and alley-oop thrown to him, or whenever someone went up to dunk the ball. They also said, “Cookies” whenever someone stole the ball from another, and “up top” whenever they wanted to clear the ball to the point guard at the top of the court to run a play. Most of these words have been adopted from the young, African-American basketball culture depending on their original region. All of the players are from the East coast; most from New York and Maryland, but also some from Georgia, Philadelphia, Virginia and North Carolina.
If one was to ever witness a basketball practice at Hampton University, they would also hear these words and phrases yelled throughout the course of play. Not only did they yell, but they would also communicate non-verbally through body gestures, and handshakes. For example, when a player would repeatedly point to the sky, and make eye contact with the person with the ball in their hand, the ball handler would throw the rim where the pointer would catch the ball and dunk it. This was an example of a means of communication, most likely so the opponent would not anticipate the dunk as he would do if the pointer verbally yelled “Alley-oop”. If the everyday person were to play with the players, chances are that they would not know what to do if they saw someone pointing to the sky. Running plays was similar to this.