What does Paul's choice of sport and Erik's choice of sport say about each one of them?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

While Paul chooses soccer, Erik chooses football. I’d argue that the popularity ratings of both sports show differing aspects of the brothers’ personalities.

As of right now, in the United States at least, soccer is not as popular of a sport as American football. In 2013, Gallup reported that 39% of American adults rated football as their favorite sport to watch. Only 4% chose soccer. Though soccer’s popularity is rapidly increasing and many children play on recreational teams, it still does not draw the same enthusiastic crowds in the USA as American football does, especially for major events like the college football playoffs and the Super Bowl. Also, it’s important to remember that Tangerine was written in 1997, a time when soccer’s popularity was even more meager compared to football’s widespread appeal. I think the sports’ wildly different ratings relate to the brothers’ personalities because Erik seeks acclaim. He never acts in a kind or mature way unless his parents are watching, and he enjoys the attention of his crowd of lackeys. It makes sense that he would choose a sport that offers more opportunities to be highlighted and celebrated. In contrast, Paul often does good deeds without asking for any rewards. It makes sense that he would feel happy to play the sport that he loves, not the one that wins him the most glory.

I’d also argue that football allows Erik to have many moments of individual glory. As a placekicker, he doesn’t have to rely on his teammates or display any teamwork and cooperation. He kicks alone and takes the glory for himself. In contrast, soccer doesn’t offer many opportunities for individual glory, since at all times, the players are working together for a common goal. This shows that Paul has a greater sense of community, collaboration, and teamwork than Erik does.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team