Tracie Canada

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Virginia, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 9451

Approve Date

April 25, 2017

Project Title

Canada, Tracie J., U. of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA - To aid research on 'Tackling the Everyday: Race, Family, and Nation in Big-Time College Football,' supervised by Dr. George Mentore

TRACIE J. CANADA, then a graduate student at University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, was awarded a grant in April 2017 to aid research on ‘Tackling the Everyday: Race, Family, and Nation in Big-Time College Football,’ supervised by Dr. George Mentore. Between August 2017 and July 2018, the grantee completed ethnographic fieldwork with Black college football players, primarily at an institution referred to via the pseudonym, Mellon University. This research explored the everyday lives of these athletes because they are uniquely at the center of a variety of overlapping ordered and ordering systems that rely on certain rules, demand certain behaviors, and carry certain expectations. Black players, who are highly visible and over-represented in college football, then have to navigate these normalizing spaces that often privilege whiteness. During the research period, the grantee spent time with players in their daily lives, both on and off the field; conducted semi-structured interviews; and learned how student-athletes frame their own lives through life narratives. Findings from fieldwork reveal that instead of the team narrative constantly touted by football administrators and the media, Black players confront this paradigm about close relationships with their own forms of relatedness that, at times, contradict and undermine the idea of the team. This research encourages greater understanding of a previously unexplored population and addresses the tensions of race, masculinity, and nationalism as they relate not just to sport, but to America’s cultural and moral landscape.