This paper reflects the research and thoughts of a student at the time the paper was written for a course at Bryn Mawr College. Like other materials on Serendip, it is not intended to be "authoritative" but rather to help others further develop their own explorations. Web links were active as of the time the paper was posted but are not updated.
Women, Sport, and Film - 2002
I believe that one of the most important things to keep in mind about sports/athletics is that no ones experience is the same. There are many different perspectives that complicate the subject and there is no real clear-cut answer or solution to any problem. But it is always important to bring the issues to the surface where they can be discussed and debated in the hopes of reaching better grounds with a compromise.
So, in writing a movie script, I would try and include several different perspectives from people with varying personalities. I would also have to take and expand on my own experiences. Though my exposure to athletics and the questions surrounding society and women have been limited, I think that what I have been made aware of is similar and relevant to the issues today.
My movie would follow a small group of high school students and their varying experiences with the athletics in their small school.
Cathy is a junior and was the first girl to try out for and join the wrestling team. She is a very involved with sports and school activities in general. She's on track and field and does several academic extra curricular activities as well. But after joining her high school wrestling team, and cutting her hair short, she is picked on and called a dyke. In actuality, she is in a long-term relationship with a male track and field teammate.
Mae is a senior and a self-described feminist. She plays on the girl's varsity softball team. She too gets called a dyke, but she doesn't get it as bad as Cathy. Mae is also very involved with her academic school activities.
Larry is a sophomore and the heir to the Macky Mini-Mart chains. He joined the school's track team to appease his mother. Track and cross-country come easy to him. His older sisters were track stars and his mother is the coach. Halfway through the season however, he quits and joins the newspaper. All the guys pick on Larry and call him a queer because he is soft spoken and seemingly uninterested in everything including team sports.
Adette is the editor of the school newspaper. Adette is not involved in any sports and in fact, failed most of her gym classes, but her best friends just happen to be Cathy and Mae.
The trouble starts in the middle of senior year; Adette is demoted to sports writer after running a scandalous issue. Larry Mack, who turns out to be a brilliant writer, replaces her as editor. Soon, however, she causes even more trouble when she runs a story about the many abuses as detailed and chronicled by a few anonymous athletes.
* * *
Principal Bonding: What have you done now? What do you have to say for yourself?
[Principal throws the new issue of the Tiger Times on the desk in front of Adette.]
Adette: You don't like it?
Principal: You portrayed our athletes as being cruel, mindless and homophobic!
Adette: My sources--
P: What source?
A: Sources. Plural. Lotsa people have an opinion about this. I just took it down for them. And they are anonymous you know that.
P: What possessed you to--
A: Look, I was happy as editor. You and yours put me in this position. And it was a drastic decision. It's grunt work and you know it. And it was wrong. It's my senior year! But I'm not solely responsible anymore for what this paper prints and all the inconvenient complications that go along with it. I'm just a sports writer. The sports editor approved the story, the section editor approved the story, and finally your boy Larry approved the story. Obviously, people want the story out there.
P: Larry approved the story?
[Principal starts to walk off.]
A: You know it was cold to drop me as editor. I mean some of us are trying to get into Harvard here.
P: And some of us are trying to run a riot free school. Your little fluff gossip column--
A: It's not fluff.
P: What was that last one called? "High on the Totem Pole: Drugs and our Schools Finest Exposed." And dropping you as editor was too drastic? That was nothing but slander and name-calling.
A: [a bit sheepishly] Yeah. I guess I know that now--I learned that the hard way. But this [holding up the newspaper] is not fluff. A majority of your schools athletes are cruel mindless and GASP homophobic. And you and your administration look the other way! [Principal starts to walk off again. Adette talks louder to his retreating back.] So tell me, Principal Bonding, what do you have to say for yourself? [Principal stops and stares at her.] No really, this damn sports writer wants to know. [Adette clicks her pen at the Principal and takes out a notepad. Principal exits.]
* * *
The most important thing that I wish to emphasize is that there needs to be discussion especially since so many people are coming at the subject from so many different angles. So the theme for this movie would definitely be just allowing the floodgates to open and stir up some commotion. If there is no communication, there is no understanding. So Adette and her newspaper reports would serve to uncover the many issues that often get overlooked or glossed over in the arena of high school athletics. Among the issues that each highlighted individual would deal with would be the topics that we covered in our gym seminar. That is to say, race and class, gender and sexual orientation would all affect any given individual athlete on a certain level.
I wouldn't try and glorify any one person. Since everyone is in a different situation, it would be too difficult to decide who is good and who is bad or who is wrong and who is right. I would just hope to expose people to the different viewpoints that they might not have considered before.
I would end this movie with Mae and Adette cleaning out their lockers on that final, most eventful senior year.
* * *
Cathy: [running barefoot down the near empty hallways] Hey! Did you see the Yearbook, Adette? They voted you Quietest, Least Flirtatious and Most Likely to Rock the Boat.
Adette: Shucks. And I was vying for Best Smile.
[Mae and Adette slam their lockers shut and start to haul their garbage bags down the hall.]
Cathy: [picking up a Hello Kitty picture that falls from Adette's bag] Yup, you're a real troublemaker, you and your damned Hello Kitty paraphernalia.
Mae: [laughing] Hello Kitty screams anarchy.
[Principal walks by and nods in their direction.]
Cathy: [screeches at Adette after he turns to corner] No recommendation for you!
Cathy: I don't think he likes you very much.
Cathy: Why did you do it then? I mean, why not just write about the ninth grade chili dinner like a good editor in chief?
Adette: Why didn't you just join cheerleading?
Adette: She dribbles then shoots! She scores! Touchdown!
Mae and Cathy: Touchdown?
Adette: Goal. [Mae and Cathy laugh] Whatever.
[Girls continue to walk down the hallway and the scene fades slowly.]
Mae: Hey, you still gotta sign my Yearbook.
Cathy: O, yeah, mine too! Oooo! Can you sign it "To my biggest fan! Love, Boat Rocker?"
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