Excellent Estudiante
Communication Identity Project
SPCH 1311 – Professor Raynor
As a Canadian moving to Texas I had stereotyped Houston residents to be fans of
football only, not hockey. I searched online and found a place called the Maple Leaf Pub
that advertised itself as the place to be for hockey season! The NHL lockout was just
ending and I decided to check it out. None of my current friends enjoy hockey, so they
did not want to join me on this exciting day watching the first games of the season. I had
some communication apprehension walking in to a completely new place. I anticipated
talking to new people and was looking forward to meeting fellow hockey fans but was
nervous of what they would think of me. I chose to wear my Pittsburgh Penguins jersey,
jacket, and ball cap. By impression management I was trying to show that I am a big fan
of a team I was hoping they would like also. These also acted as artifacts that indicated
to other fans in the bar that I was cheering for the Penguins without saying anything. As
I looked around I could see many other people wearing jerseys and plenty of non-verbal
communication through kinesics going on with arm movements, cheering or throwing
fists at the referees on the televisions. I was surrounded by people of the same coculture of hockey fans and had found my happy place. I grabbed a seat at the bar and by
initiating I made first contact with a stranger wearing the logo of the Pittsburgh
Penguins as well. His jersey was an interpersonal attraction that made me want to speak
with him. Before saying anything I knew already that we had something in common.
Through experimenting we made small talk about recent trades and what we expected
of this year’s season. He mentioned it was odd to see a female with such vast hockey
knowledge, suggesting it is a gender expectation of society for males to be hockey fans,
not females. When his friends arrived he moved to a small table with them and invited
me to join. This moved our conversations from on-on-one interpersonal communication
to a small group orientation. In this group we were all able to use jargon specific to
hockey like crosschecking and hat-tricks. As the bar was quite full, we took turns buying
pitchers of beer to share. This collectivist orientation put aside our individual
preferences so each person didn’t have to go up on their own and also, one person
would not have the tab, we all split it. Throughout the games we were watching,
everyone at the table was sharing information and telling stories. These self-disclosures
helped me get to know them and my own disclosures allowed them to get to know me.
The group was made up of friends from all over the country, or more specifically,
continent. There are some words that would give up my Canadian status and I chose to
use. I am very proud to be Canadian and by divergence I continued to use words like
“eh”. The paralanguage throughout the group was greatly affected by the atmosphere.
The excitement and crowd caused people to yell to both show their excitement about
each game and also so friends could hear one another over the cheers of people around
them. As the games wrapped up it was time for everyone to part ways. I enjoyed getting
to know these people so at the exit stage of uncertainty reduction theory we exchanged
numbers and decided we would all meet there for another game.