Running head: STUDENTS IN THE 21


Students in the 21
Century – St. Louis Sting
Jennifer L Givens
Grand Canyon University: EDU 576
July 2, 2014

Students in the 21
Century – St. Louis Sting
What does the student of the 21
century really look like? For this observation I took a
look at my son’s baseball team. It is comprised of 18 boys who are in the age range of 16 to 19
years old. They are from all over the St. Louis metropolitan area, except for my son, who makes
the trek to St. Louis from Springfield, Missouri every week to play on this team. For the most
part these boys came together at the end of May and have played as a team for the last four
weeks. They had very little knowledge of each other prior to their first practice on May 28
now they are all members of the St. Louis Sting and have one common goal – to play the sport
they love.
It is quite apparent that no matter where boys come from or what their background may
be; when you put them together there are just certain teenage boy qualities that emerge. The
communication style of these boys is quite normal based on what I know as the parent of two
sons ages 18 and 21. They try to talk a “big talk”. They talk about girls. They cuss, boy do they
cuss. My son would never talk that way at home and I didn’t hear him talk that way in the dugout
but several of them do. On the flip side, they are kind and use kind words to their teammates
especially when things are not going as one would hope during a game.
The communication styles lend to their social and interpersonal behaviors. Those “big
talkers” talk big about everything: their girlfriends, their money, their cars and how well they
think they play baseball. Others are more quiet and reserved and keep all of that inside.
Recognizable behaviors one would expect from a group of athletes is the occasional pat on the
backside or the “you’re due baby” when someone comes up to bat.
Topics of discussion that can be heard from within the confines of the baseball dugout are
mostly not baseball related. One would think with the common bond of America’s pastime that
all of their conversation would be about the game they love. Oddly, enough very little baseball
talk occurs. They are many times distracted by the girlfriends in the stands, the need for
something to drink or eat, the need to visit the bathroom, or about what they are going to do after
the game is over. The coach, who is not that much older, spends much of his time keeping them
focused but yet can easily find himself sliding into whatever topic of conversation might be
While spending many weekends on the outside listening in the conversation does not
change much. They are all enthralled with their teammate who raps on the weekends – most
specifically because he is a small, white, Jewish boy from Illinois. Their goal has become to
make his video go viral. When I was growing something going viral was not a good thing and
usually involved many sick people! They talk about their jobs, they talk about where they are
going to school next year if college is on the horizon and mostly they talk about how great they
feel they are and how they are going to “kick ass”. Yes, I believe I mentioned they like to cuss!
Someone not familiar with boys of this age might be listening and watching and think
they have terrible attitudes. These boys are committed to their team. They come to practice every
Wednesday evening for several hours following a full day of work for many of them. Although
my son is the exception in that we drive over 200 miles to get there, many still must drive 45-60
minutes to reach the practice location. Then every weekend, sometimes starting on Thursday,
they play 3-5 baseball games. They drive all over the St. Louis area, they show up 90 minutes
before game time and they begin the bonding process that will hopefully lead them to a win or
two. While they may kid and jest with their teammates, they are always very respectful and
courteous to the parents they also make that trek to cheer them on. I always hear requests for
water or Gatorade followed by a please and a thank you. So many people think 21
students are not respectful and I would respectfully opt to disagree with them.
Finally, what did I notice when it comes to clothing and their bodies? Obviously they all
end up wearing the same thing since they are playing on a team together but it is interesting to
see how they choose to arrive at the field. Some will come completely dress and ready to go with
the exception of their cleats. Others will come in shorts and flip flops and will dress in the
middle of the parking lot or dugout. They tend to arrive at the field as sort of a mish-mash of
anything and everything but then within a matter of a few minutes are all respectfully dressed for
their team and their sport. The one big “feature” I noticed with these boys is that facial hair is
very important! They are all growing some type of beard and there are some makings of
moustaches. I guess this makes them feel more like a man.
My observation was not necessarily full of surprises because I am the mom of young men
but like any parent it is sometimes good to see that your son is pretty normal and much like other
young men his age. While some outsiders might look at this group and think they are not being
appropriate; I can say I am glad my son is associated with them and that ultimately they all have
a common goal.

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