Reconstruction: Studies in Contemporary Culture
This essay stems from two cultural strands, which intersect in one cultural form, the sports film. The first of these is the figure of the "star," as opposed to hero, who is interested only in self promotion. The second strand, masculine nurturing, provides a direct counterpoint to the first. Sociologist Robert Connell explains that "In historically recent times, sport has come to be the leading definer of masculinity in mass culture" (54). In North America, sport plays an important and increasing role in our culture. Each of the four major sports leagues added teams in the last decade of the last century after little or no growth in the 1980s.  Coverage of sports at all levels has also increased through the addition of all sports television networks and even a few, such as Speedvision and The Golf Channel, that are dedicated to a specific variety of sport. Only a very select of sport. Only a few become elite athletes: the rest can compete at much lower levels, fantasize, or participate vicariously. Thus, sports films help to compensate for the disparity between those who cannot be and those who are professional athletes by contributing to the fantasies of the former group. By translating athleticsto a cinematic venue, the film maker is better able to foster an identification between the characters and the viewers by placing the protagonists in situations that cannot be viewed in a regular sporting event.
Original Publication Citation
Ouellette, M. A. (2007). "Everybody else ain't your father": Reproducing masculinity in cinematic sports, 1975-2000. Reconstruction: Studies in Contemporary Culture, 7(3).
Ouellette, Marc A., ""Everybody Else Ain't Your Father": Reproducing Masculinity in Cinematic Sports, 1975-2000" (2007). English Faculty Publications. 158.