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Women, Sport, and Film - 2002
Women, Sport and Film
Background/Prologue [the future]: It is the year 2010. The WNBA has dropped the 'N' from its name and is now referred to as the WBA. There is some confusion over whether the 'W' refers to Women's or World, since both are used. A tiny line of script beneath the official logo on the WBA website gives the name as the Women's Basketball Association, but World Basketball Association is as apt a name as the other. Unlike the NBA, a strictly national league, the WBA made the decision in the early '00s to begin aggressively expanding. The WBA now has a team in most major American and international cities. The league's growth isn't really surprising given the crop of players over the past decade or so. A few have even risen to superstar status, regularly wowing packed arenas with a combination of style, showmanship and skill that hasn't been witnessed in basketball since the glory days of the men's league.
The Plot [The pastó'90s]: What really kick-started the stellar growth of the WBA was the discovery of Theresa "The Tiger" Tyson. Theresa iss a high school dropout from West Philly who managed to catch the eye of ---- State recruiter Jerry Krieger (on his way back from a game at Penn) during a fierce pickup game. Being as impressed by her obvious sense and no-nonsense attitude as he was with her deadly hook shot, Krieger manages to finesse a deal with his school. If Tyson gets her high school diploma and stays out of trouble (she was a bit of a hell-raiser), they'd manage to find a place for at ----.
Theresa is a motivated young woman, if nothing else. Basketball seems to be her only shot at a decent life for herself and her family. As of now, her future does not look too bright, given her lack of education or marketable skills. Not to mention the fact that she is the oldest of five and one of eight people overflowing a two bedroom apartment in the projects. She works the nightshift at a convenience store, protected by a two-inch layer of bulletproof glass and watched by security cameras trained on the register. Her boss does not trust her because she is African-American and poor. She spends the days sleeping, watching TV and keeping an eye on her siblings and seventy seven year old grandmother.
Theresa had been a very talented high school basketball player but after dropping out, she knows that her talent won't get her anywhere if she is not visible to talent scouts from colleges and professional teams. Her one big chance to break out of the poverty and bleakness of her surroundings now depends on her determination to graduate.
However, her family is unimpressed with Krieger's offer. Both she and they know that the precarious financial stability of the family partially depends on her contribution. Her mother is excited more by the chance of Theresa going to college than by her playing basketball. She actually wishes Theresa were more lady-like and cared more about her clothes and appearances like other girls. Theresa tries to talk to her mother about the opportunities she could have, including the chance to go pro. Her mother frowns a little and says that she does not consider professional female athletes to be real ladies. Her father is pretty sure nothing will come of it but tells her she can do what she wants, as long as she figures out how to grow money. The rest of the family is pretty indifferent and expects her to probably fail.
Unable to set aside either her dreams or her duty to her family, Theresa re-enrolls in school but keeps her night job. She studies while she is at work and manages to get a few hours of sleep between the time school ends and when work begins. Back in school, Theresa soon remembers the worse parts of her high school experience. The more popular girls tease her about her no-name, cheap clothing and short hair. Being a little short-tempered, Theresa has to really fight with herself to resist their insults, reminding herself to keep her 'eyes on the prize'. Schoolwork is also a struggle with Theresa trying to 'warm up' after a long hiatus from pop quizzes and homework.
Her personal life is not so fun either. Theresa has to spend a lot of time negotiation between the various parts of her life. She is a dutiful daughter who must obey her parents and grandmother, look after her siblings and help out with the chores. She is also a slightly less dutiful employee who is subjected to some strange things on the job, including encounters with drug addicts, the homeless, kids looking to make trouble and a suspicious, racist boss. Finally, she is the basketball star-in-training and pushes herself in every aspect of her complicated life in order to achieve her dreams. The struggles that Theresa faces as she matures and tries to resolve these various selves (or not) is the main focus of this film.
Resolution/Epilogue [The future again]: Finally, after a lot of hard work and long, sleepless days, Theresa manages to pass the few courses she needs to graduate and gets her diploma. She goes to college, impresses scouts from the WNBA and gets a spot on a team. She goes on to break records (both men's and women's) and becomes a legend in her own time for both her heroic struggle to overcome as well as for her amazing talent.
*Sorry. I know it's a cliche but I couldn't resist.
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