The Cosmopolitan Stadium

Philip Ziolkowski

Formal Paper 4

Professor Vinson

English 126

16 May 2017

The Cosmopolitan Stadium

Me at Levi’s Stadium

A cosmopolitan canopy is a unique place where people of all different races and backgrounds come together and get along with each other. These are places where all the differences of people are ignored for the time being in order to interact with new people. The photo above is an example of me at a cosmopolitan canopy. It was taken at the Levi’s Stadium with a Samsung Galaxy S4 phone on July 25th 2015. I attended a soccer game in which FC Barcelona played against Manchester United for the International Champions Cup. As you can see from the photo, all different kinds of people came together to watch their favorite sport. Levi’s Stadium is a cosmopolitan canopy because of the diversity of people that came together, regardless of their differences, for a common interest.

Before explaining why it is a cosmopolitan canopy, it is important to understand the history and geography of the stadium. Levi’s Stadium is located in Santa Clara, California, in the San Francisco Bay Area. It has been the home of the San Francisco 49ers since 2014. The stadium is about 40 miles from San Francisco and is named for Levi Strauss & Co., which purchased the naming rights in 2013. Construction of the stadium took about two years, starting in April of 2012 and ending in early July 2014. The stadium officially opened on July 17, 2014. The estimated construction cost of the stadium is 1.3 billion dollars. The stadium has a seating capacity of 68,500 which is expandable to 75,000. The record attendance however surpassed the max capacity at 76,976 in March of 2015 for WrestleMania 31. The first game played at the new stadium was a Major League Soccer match on August 2, 2014, where the San Jose Earthquakes defeated Seattle Sounders FC 1–0 before a crowd of 48,765. Levi’s Stadium also hosted Super Bowl 50 on February 7, 2016. As you can see, Levi’s Stadium is quite impressive. The match that I attended was FC Barcelona vs Manchester United where Manchester United won 3–1. I went to the game with my dad and we had seats in the lower part of the stadium, slightly above and behind the goal.

Walking to the stadium, I immediately noticed how much diversity there was among the attendees. However, this really isn’t a surprise considering soccer is the most popular sport in the world. The majority of the people there were either white or of some Latin descent. As Anderson writes, walking to their seats, everyone is eyeing each other and analyzing to see what kind of people they are. They do this without raising the awareness of anyone in order to be sure that no one is suspicious of anything. Many people came with their families and minded their own business, trying not to do anything to offend others. Anderson addresses this idea by writing “…under a virtual cosmopolitan canopy, people are encouraged to treat others with a certain level of civility or at least simply to behave themselves” (Anderson 15). People relax their guard when they are at a place where they know people are coming for something that everyone wants to see. As soon as this happens, everyone begins to talk with one another about the match, gauging others about what they know.

The stadium from the inside

Once everyone was in their seats, people became very friendly with each other. Many people of course took pictures and videos of the stadium. Pictures don’t do the stadium justice; it is quite the impressive structure. It takes a few minutes to take it all in, considering how massive it is. The inspection of the stadium of course led to the observation of other people. Like the other people, I also engaged in folk ethnography. It is so interesting to watch how other people behave and react to things. Anderson even says that studying and observing other people has become so common that in a way it has become a form of art. The diversity of the crowd made for easy conversation about the various foods there like nachos for example. This made people even keener to know more about the strangers sitting right next to them. Anderson writes that “When diverse people are eating one another’s food, strangers in the abstract can become somewhat more human and a social good is performed for those observing. As people become intimate through such shared experiences, certain barriers are prone to be broken” (Anderson 17). I thought that this was very interesting that something as simple as food can bring strangers together. It is also very accurate as I think everyone can recall a time where they talked up a stranger about their food or vice versa.

A sport stadium is one of the greatest examples of a cosmopolitan canopy because there is plenty of diversity and people are always curious about others. There is so much that cosmopolitan canopies teach us about others which in effect influence ourselves. Anderson talks about this by saying “Essentially, cosmopolitan canopies allow people of different backgrounds the chance to slow down and indulge themselves, observing, pondering, and in effect, doing their own folk ethnography, testing or substantiating stereotypes and prejudices or, rarely, acknowledging something fundamentally new about the other” (Anderson 25). The people who observe others make decisions and form ideas of the certain types of people they witness. Whether it is a positive or negative judgement, it undoubtedly influences how you will react and behave around those social types in the future. However these kinds of exposures are good for everyone because we learn things about others that can inspire us and provoke thoughts about why some things are the way they are. In times like these with great political tension, it is vital to understand others and their culture so that society doesn’t cave on itself.

In conclusion, cosmopolitan canopies are an essential part of every society. People are exposed to others, mingle with others, and learn about cultures they may have thought negatively about. As society in America becomes increasingly diverse and tensions seem to be rising, a common place where people can experience the openness of others is greatly needed. These neutral zones are a place where people can gain social and folk knowledge about others that they are unfamiliar with. They may find that surprisingly they have more in common with strangers than they would expect. In these places people can stretch and expand their mind in every way such as emotionally or socially. After, people create a base for how they believe others are from their experiences. In the end, people have a greater grasp on society and an increased social sophistication that allows them to get along with others.

Work Cited

Anderson, Elijah. “The Cosmopolitan Canopy.” Jstor. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 May 2017