My Body My Weapon My Shame Analysis

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Published in GQ in 1997, Elwood Reid’s “My Body, My Weapon, My Shame,” is a personal article that offers a behind-the-scenes account of college football. He describes his journey as a University of Michigan Wolverine, starting from his high school scouting days and ending with his retirement in Alaska. Reid recounts the strain he and his fellow players put on their bodies, both on and off the field, and explains the constant pressure to fulfill the image of a popular, powerful football player at a sports-oriented school like Michigan. In “My Body, My Weapon, My Shame,” Reid compares the path of livestock as a commodity to the path of a professional football player, emphasizing the dehumanization of these athletes with the use of animal and …show more content…
In the same way that Reid explains the similarities between athletes and animals, he compares the coaches to owners or masters. For example, when Reid first starts training at the University of Michigan, he says ““This time he owns your body and your mind for the next four years” (Reid 2). In football, a player’s body becomes their greatest asset is their bodies. So, to own a ballplayer’s body is to ultimately own them as a whole, thus placing the coaches in the “master” position of the player-coach power dynamic. The coach, although physically weaker, holds power over the players through the promise of fame and fortune. For this reward, an athlete is willing to break their bodies, destroy their minds, and remove all emotion at the direction of their coaches. Essentially, these players will strive to be the “top of the food chain,” trying to please the coaches and be the best. However, the coaches see the players as expendable bodies. In the text, Reid says “the coaches stand there looking at us the way a mechanic eyes his socket wrenches, as tools to be picked up, used and thrown aside” (Reid 3). To these coaches, the football players are merely animals to train and break. Their end goal is the financial gain and investment of a great team and powerful players. A football player is simply another commodity to be bought, sold, and traded to a different master. Reid …show more content…
He uses specific examples from his experience as a University of Michigan football player to mimic the path of animals and livestock as a commodity. In addition, Reid depicts the athletes as animals and coaches as the owners with distinct animal imagery. In today’s society, football players and coaches are idolized. Jerseys are sold out across the country, stadiums are filled with people, and each player has millions of social media followers. However, Reid has created a new perspective on the football environment Americans believe they know. Instead of the glitz and glam of fame and power that many perceive this industry to be, football players are really just another commodity that is sold and abused for the benefit of the American masses. An athlete is just another object with no control over their body, always owned and controlled by another. Their identity is stripped, body destroyed, and simply another resource to be used and abused by the

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