Friday football spotlight | Tallwood at Grassfield (2013)

Rhetoric Analysis

            In 2013, Tallwood High School shocked the Virginia Beach High School football world and their division, 6A South, as they made the playoffs for the first time in 10 years.  Tallwood generated some media attention as they prepared for their first playoff game against Grassfield High School in Chesapeake, Virginia. As a source for writing a Wikipedia page about the Tallwood Lion’s 2013 football season, I used an article from the Virginian Pilot which broke down the two opposing teams before the game. While reading this article I noticed an unusual amount of underlining bias from a generally un-bias new source.

This article uses some ethos to get their information across to their readers. This article is creditable because the Virginian Pilot is a widely known and respected news source for much of Southern Virginia.  I can safely assume that the two authors have situated creditability when it comes to predicting high school football games and breaking down teams. They both frequently publish articles together each year on the high school football teams and games. One of the authors is a woman while the other is a man, and I find it interesting how the stereotype about women not knowing much about football was disproven in this instance when the female author predicted the correct winner of the game. Neither the authors or the people they interviewed attempted to identify the reader as a specific gender or race. Overall, the only ethos used in this article was creditability of information laid out in front of the reader.

I noticed a lot of underlining pathos used as well, while analyzing in this article.  The authors tried to get the reader to rally behind Tallwood a little bit because of some extra details they offered about Tallwood and not Grassfield. The male author wanted to plead his case for Tallwood’s chances of winning by making them look like the ultimate underdog team that was ready to break out the shadows of defeat year in and year out. He mentioned it several times that 2013 was Tallwood’s best season and they had promise. The woman author did not use pathos, but instead stuck to facts and what one of Grassfield’s players said in an interview. Someone reading this article without any prior bias or knowledge on the teams, would most likely side with Tallwood because of the increased amount of possibly unintentional ethos used by the male author.

This article does use a fair amount of logos along with pathos. The beginning picture of the article has Grassfield’s quarterback getting sacked by another team and the other has a Tallwood receiver running down the field. The pictures allude to Tallwood potentially doing well and Grassfield potentially struggling in the upcoming game. In a little excerpt in the article they mention how well Tallwood has been scoring against other opponents and mentioned that it was Tallwood’s first playoff appearance since 2006. For Grassfield they just mention that it was their sixth playoff appearance in a row. The male author is using two forms of rhetoric to persuade readers to the side of Tallwood. In the interview with the other team, the quote they put in the article could make the reader sympathize with Tallwood. “And they have an attitude and have nothing to lose. The only thing in their way is us.” With facts and interview quotes this article uses logos to sway the reader unknowingly to Tallwood’s side.

In one of my class readings about gender from the New York Times, women are not a strong presence on the online literary world. In the article she notices that women are not getting involved in online community and are letting men be the leading contributors and writers of the internet. With the article from the Virginian Pilot being co-written by a woman, she is helping women continue to get a foot in the male dominated online literacy world.

In this article pathos and logos are used more than ethos to possibly unknowingly sway the reader to rally behind Tallwood in the upcoming game against Grassfield in 2013.  Using ethos the two authors only have experience on the subject which gives them creditability on the subject. While with pathos the extra information given by the authors about Tallwood highlights their success and story book arrival to where they were before the game.  Using statistics and quotes from interviews they as well added to highlighting Tallwood’s success.  Usually the Virginian Pilot is a factual un-bias news source so it’s interesting that they even though it was co-written with one person supporting the other team, Tallwood had the favored spot light for the majority of the article.

Tallwood player (#2) running through an opposing teams defense

Grassfield QB (#7) is sacked by an opposing team



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