The rituals of American football reflect our society

Iowa Writers 'Collaborative. Linking Iowa readers and writers.Tomorrow is New Year’s Day, and football fans worldwide will gather to watch college football bowl games in homes, bars, and if they are lucky, in stadiums across the country. Here in Iowa most of us will be rooting for the Hawkeyes in the Cheez-it Citrus Bowl in Orlando as they take on the Tennessee Volunteers.

American football has a complex set of rules and rituals that reflect the structure of our society. Many of those rituals are described by Mark Axelrod in “Popular Culture and the Rituals of American Football.” Some of the rituals used not only reflect our society but also reflect the traditions of many rituals worldwide and throughout history.

For example, football has a season that mirrors the seasons of most spiritual and religious traditions. It begins during harvest time, and ends near the winter solstice, with bowl games in cities in warmer climes foreshadowing the coming of the new year and spring.

Teams have symbols, myths,…

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