As John Swales’ once said in his excerpt “The Concept of Discourse Community,” “a discourse community is a group of people involved in and communicating about a particular topic, issue, or in a particular field”(Swales). Within these societies, they form their own type of subgroup, of people with similar goals who work toward said objective. I encountered a discourse community in my first year of high school when I joined the Cedar Grove boys soccer team.
When I first became a part of the team I was terrified that I would not be able to fit in with the rest of the players. However, they welcomed me in with open arms into their group and worked with me, so that I can become better at the sport. At the beginning of the season, which began on August 2nd, we had mandatory practices everyday from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. except on Sundays. During these practices, we all suffered together and looked out for one another, making sure we all made it through the drills and nobody quit. Before joining the team, I was a shy and quiet person, however becoming a member of this team indicated that in order to properly communicate and collaborate with my team I had to speak up. As the season progresses, the practices become difficult, which affects the entire team because at the end of everyone’s practice our coach increases the pressure by making us complete sprints. During these sprints, we are timed and have to make it across the street in a certain amount of time and if we do not complete it we have to complete the task again. It is at this moment where some players begin to throw up and quit, but within the team, we have a phrase that we live by “We all suffer, but we don’t quit”. In order to persuade the rest of the players to complete the sprints, our captain would say, “Guys, we have all suffered through the same thing and if I can complete this sprint so can you, so get on the line and burnout everything you got left one last time then we can all go home”(Captain Johnny). At the moment, he spoke those words it hit me cause that was me he was talking about. Even Though, I was the slowest in the team he knew I could finish it but just needed a little boost of confidence . After completing the last run we were all satisfied with how much progress we made. As a team, we would always go eat lunch after practice was finished and just talk bad about our coach and how much we hated it, but inside we all loved the way we made our own little family.
Within, any discourse community communication is a key factor that impacts the way a group reaches their goals. For example, in a soccer game, certain phrases are said on the field, so that only our teammates understand what we are about to execute and they are open to score. Common vocabulary used between teammates during a game includes the following man-on (which warns our teammates that there is somebody behind them or approaching them and they should pass the ball). Other similar phrases involve through ball (indicates that you are passing the ball to a teammate between two opposing players) and get-wide ( signaling to your teammate that you are passing the ball to the sides and they should get open to receive said pass). These are just a few of the plays we are taught to know when playing a soccer game to communicate on the field. We used these callouts in and out the field to confuse the opposing teams onto what were about to do. In order to get the hang of these callouts, we incorporate these expressions in practices so that we get accustomed to a similar environment. During practices our coaches will have us fun drills and work on certain skills and work on mistakes made during the game. Our coaches push us to our max to enhance our endurance and stamina with drills that focus on building muscle and cardio. In order to become better and win our games, we would watch tapes of our opponent’s games to analyze there play styles and understand how they execute those plays so that we could work on countering those plays so that we don’t get scored on. We would do this so that we can see which strikers are good so that we have two people covering him so that he doesn’t touch the ball as much and find our angles of scoring to win the game.
In order for the soccer discourse community to prosper, it is essential for players to get more involved in the community and maintain a leadership role in the group. These individuals who step up can, in the end, grow to be captains. They can be seniors in the group who have sacrificed an abundant amount of time into the game of soccer, or even simply players who are more skilled and have impacted the players in the soccer community. As a leader, it’s important to have specific qualities, such as knowledge of the game, right conversation skills, and selflessness. Leadership is essential for any discourse community, but a crew requires each and every character involved to assure a feeling of satisfaction. As a matter of fact throughout my four years of playing soccer for Cedar Grove, I unfortunately never became captain because I was not the type of player he was looking for when choosing a captain. However, the person he choose Johnny was a great pick because he helped every individual person on the team reach their full potential on the squad. To this day we still keep in touch and I asked him about how being a captain impacted his life. He responded, “Being the captain of the Cedar Grove Boys soccer team was a great experience that I would never give up for anything in the world. It helped me gain great knowledge about the game and I enjoyed my four years of high school with my soccer family”. When he told me this I began to tear up because I missed those years, but understand that it is time to leave that discourse community and create a new one at NJIT. Although, having soccer skills is essential to being in this discourse community, there are other qualities that are needed to properly help players develop in the community. Relationships are very essential in this community because they can have an effect on how the crew works together. It is a necessity for teammates to bond so that they are able to have perfect chemistry on and off the field. Having this good chemistry between teammates helps on the field because then you can move quickly with the ball. This allows players to be able to understand one another and pass to one another without having to think about it. Having this type of chemistry with a group of people was quite satifying having people understand the stress and torture you’ve been through helps create a delightful group of friends.
In the end, I have learned the essential parts in the creation of a discourse community and how it has impacted my life. Walking into Cedar Grove High School, I would’ve never thought that I was about to create a family with my fellow students. When I first walked into this new and nerve-racking environment I thought I would feel this way all four years. However, I was wrong as I became a part of the soccer team this action changed me for the better. With this new family of mine we had become a discourse community with multiple goals that we achieved throughout the season. The goal of joining the soccer team was to build a strong relationship and connection with your teammates, in order to defeat opposing teams we faced. This was difficult because those other teams would have similar chemistry with their teammates, but there was always a team that developed a deeper connection with teammates. This skill was tested on the field to determine which team was able to score the most goals and come out on top. Fortunately, my team was the best in the league because of all the hard work and commitment we put toward the team that we were state champions. The experience I learned while being a part of the team will be with me forever and being a part of this type of discourse community taught me a lot about communication and how significant it is working with a team.