I never thought I would ever say this, but I am starting to hate football. It has long been the sport l, as many other have enjoyed for years. No matter what event is going on Sunday, people will skip it to watch football. Maybe that is why just about every wedding occurs on Saturday and not Sunday, to make sure men don’t miss their own wedding. But, after taking this class I find myself disliking the sport more because of the role it play in development of masculinity to young boys. I used to think of sports as just a way to enjoy ones self and nothing more.
But, this class has taught me how sports share a elation in society with the subject of race, gender, and class. And in doing so I have seen just how negative a part football does play in society. But it is not just the actually sport, but movies about certain sports in general. I used to think sports movies were used to display the American dream and coming out on top, but they also display the social processes Of race, class and gender. Varsity Blues is not just about sports, but is also considered a coming of age movie.
What I see now is how the movie show the negative side of sports in how the ideas of race and gender are seen. The film takes place in West Canaan Texas, where as any place in the state football is seen as a religion and way of life. Jonathan Nixon is the backup quarterback who is not just a good athlete, but intelligent as well. He will be attending Brown University after his senior season. But when the starting quarterback goes down, Nixon must take over the job and lead the team to glory.
But, if he doesn’t he will have to faith the wrath of the head coach, and be seen as a failure in the eyes of not just his father, but the whole town as well. Although the film deals with how the players deal with pressure of a town’s expectation, it also show how tooth gender, race and coaches are treated in the world of sports. It also shows how football is used as a tool in the development of masculinity for young boys. Coach Bud Killer is seen as a legend around the town.
He has been coaching the high school football team for generations, and has brought home 22 titles. He is the kind of coach who will win at any costs, and it shows as he makes his star player play hurt, which result at one point in the star quarterback getting even more injured. It’s abuse of adolescents that should not be allowed, but instead of stopping the tactics, parent more so embrace t. The parents trust that Killer is coaching the right way because it is a way that parents can affirm their authority over their children. At home, Nixon does not listen much to his parent, especially his dad who want him to concentrate less on getting into college, and more on the weekend’s football game. But at practice when Nixon tries to have some fun the coach yells at him and a more serious tone is taken in the practice. The players do not talk back as they might outside of practice. Another reason the parents allow for the coach to do whatever he want to the players is because it has been rover that he is a winner. Killer has won 22 regional championships, and with titles comes rewards.
Because the kids are winning the parents are seen as good parent. There is no position in sports that is valued more than the Quarterback. So, when Nixon win, “the parents are viewed as good parents if their children are successful at sports”. 2 The parents are not supporting the players, and “instead of setting examples for their children, they live through them, pathetically feed off them. “3 Nixon father is viewed as a joke while his son is first sitting on the bench, but when he become the star and is leading hem to victory, the dad is gaining all sorts of rewards and is praised all the adults.
When the first quarterback goes down and is in the hospital, all his dad can think of is the scholarship to Florida State, not if his son will ever walk again. What Varsity Blues shows about sports is that although it “has the capacity to build character”4, it “encourage bad character. “5 As for coach Killer, he is an example of showing how in youth sports “we live in a morally distorted sports world a world where winning often supersedes over all other considerations, where moral values have become confused with the OTTOMH line. 6 He is an example of what youth sports has become. It is no longer about having fun and learning about hard work. It is about winning at all costs, which includes injecting our player with shots to make them play through pain of loose ligament in a leg. Killer is the example of most coaches today where “in this in-your-face, whip-your-butt climate, winning at any price often becomes the prevailing code of conduct. “7 The movie is an example that ‘Seven we make the value of winning so important that it trumps morality. 8 The sport is diminished, but who cares as long as the team wins. One thing I have learned about youth sports is that they are tools in the construction of masculinity. I know my parents didn’t sign me up for sports to develop my masculine side, and it was not their intent, but a huge part of my masculinity was developed playing sports. Football is the sport most associated with the development of masculinity, and in Varsity Blues it is used as a tool just for that purpose.
The role of family influence is a reason many of the boys on the team are playing, and stay on the team even though coach Killer tells them they are nothing. Football is what the town lives for, and as e found out, many of the fathers and other families of the family members played football before them, and for the same coach. They serve as a reason to want to succeed. ” “An Older brother, uncle, or even close friend of the family who was a successful athlete appears to have acted as a sort of standard of achievement against whom to measure oneself. 9 Killer compares Nixon to his father, telling him his dad was not the best athlete but he sure as hell could listen. There are many scenes that create the development of masculinity by putting in the player’s head that they must match or exceed where there past family members couldn’t. The fact that boys introductions to organized sports are often made by fathers who might otherwise be absent, or emotionally distant adds a powerful emotional charge to these early experiences. L O One can see that there is an emotional disconnect between Nixon and his father. While Johnny care more to talk about school and his future, all the dad is concentrated on is the game that weekend. One can assume that Johnny and the rest of his friends were pushed into football rather than it being their own choice. Yet, Nixon could have quit the sport at anytime. We know he is smart enough, and someone ho follows his own path as going to college is what he wants while his father wants him to go play football.
But he doesn’t and part of that is there is a part of him that wants to live up to his fathers expectation that is like many young boys in the construction of masculinity. Another reason not to quit the team is because “it’s just what everybody did. “al Meaning it’s what all the boys did growing up, and being part of a team makes you feel as if you are part of some type of tribe.