Rah-Rah, Let’s Go   6 comments

Are any of your characters fans of a particular sports team?

54,984 Soccer Player Stock Photos, Pictures & Royalty-Free Images - iStock

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It’s the Apocalypse

In Transformation Project, my characters are living through the apocalypse. Terrorists destroyed the major cities and the long-line electric and communications grids and so there’s not a whole lot of time in their days to enjoy their favorite sporting teams, and even if the time was available, the electronics in their TVs and computers have been fried, and Los Angeles, New York, and Atlanta–the nexuses of all broadcast channels in the United States–are now all three nuclear wastelands. Shortwave radio and the spy nest in Jericho Springs are about the only sources of news from distant locations. The spies don’t care and the shortwavers are just figuring it out in February — five months after the events that altered the entire country.

In Their Before Lives

Before the bombs went off, my characters were living ordinary lives and, yes, of course, they followed sports teams. Rob Delaney, a career soldier before he “retired” to become a feed store operator and then mayor of Emmaus, Kansas, loved to watch the Army-Navy match-ups in football and of course he tuned in for the Super Bowl every year. His wife Jill would watch with him for the ads.

Both of their sons, Cai and Shane, played soccer in their younger years. Both followed the Colorado Rapids soccer team, although Shane often was out of the country and had to catch up when he came home. In Life As We Knew It, Shane describes his friend Mike as a super fan of Cruz Azul, the Mexico City professional fotbal team. Shane competed as a kickboxer in college and during his time overseas and did keep up with some MMA fighters. Click Michaels, the former-Chicago Times reporter stranded in Emmaus by the bombs, is a big hockey fan. Marnie Callahan Delaney is a huge fan of the Denver Broncos. And Jazz Tully, who spent her formative years training in dance, follows a Christian ballet company called Ballet Magnificat. Alex Lufgren played football in high school and was good enough to get a scholarship to University of Kansas as a Jayhawk. He had to turn it down when his parents were killed in a car accident and he found himself owning the largest farm in Emmaus and raising his toddler sister. He still roots for the Jayhawks. His sister Poppy was an avid fan of the Kansas School for the Deaf’s volleyball team, mainly because her mother played for the team and it feels like the only connection she has to the mother she doesn’t remember.

Under the Circumstances

With the exception of Cruz Azul, it’s unlikely any of these sport teams still exist. There’s something about the apocalypse that just prevents frivolous activities like sports from taking center stage. I suspect, as the country heals, sporting events will return, but they may not be the media events they were before the events of this series.

Other Series

Daermad Cycle is a Celtic fantasy set in a medieval society. I can’t envision what sort of sports they’d follow. The Dwarves versus the Elves — battle axes against bows. Funny image.

What If Wasn’t is set in modern times, but Peter has expressed no interest in team spectator sports. He’s an individual sports kind of guy – mountain biking, tennis, swimming, rock-climbing — his body against whatever looks exciting. Ben does enjoy watching baseball in the stadium (Go, Ducks!) and he will watch football with his family or friends when in season. Trevor is a dancer who is also a hockey fan, but he’s really too centered on pushing his body to the next level as a dancer (and then getting drunk afterward) to follow any sports teams. He just likes watching the games, preferable in the stadium. When I thought about it, I realized that most of the girls in this series are dancers, which is a team participation sport (don’t let the grace fool you), but I don’t think of any of them care about sports you can watch on television at all. I can imagine Alyse challenging the captain of the football team to a contest to see who can stand on demipoint longer. My daughter did that in high school. Bri won by over five minutes and she only stopped then because she was boring her audience and had made her point about the strength and fitness of dancers compared to football players.

This Author….

I don’t really follow sports teams myself. I grew up in Alaska where high school football exists, but Homecoming Game is always played in hypothermic conditions. So, I never really developed that rah-rah spirit. We went to a lot of basketball games when I was in school because they were indoors. I do enjoy the local teams I can see in the stadium — the Goldpanners baseball team were National League heavy-hitters when I was young, spawning grounds for Tom Seaver, Oddibe McDowell, Craig Nettles, Barry Bonds, James Winfield, Dan Pastorini and the Boone brothers (and about a dozen more). And, hockey — well, you can be on the ice six months a year here without a refrigeration unit. My cousins played and I was the backup to the hockey reporter when I was a college reporter. I covered a few games. The local newspaper always expressed surprise that a girl actually knew hockey. Women were rarely sports reporters back then and I never played. My knees and ice skates — not a good match-up.

I am vaguely aware of how the New England Patriots are doing because that’s my husband’s team (although he still really likes Tom Brady, so how we’re vaguely aware of how the Tampa Bay Bucs are doing). Most Alaskans root for the teams from wherever they are originally from and about 50% of our population is from somewhere else. If you were raised here, you’re expected to root for the Seattle teams, but neither my father or stepdad cared for sports other than Gold Panners baseball, so I only root for the Seahawks when they’re playing against New England — because my husband insists. Yes, I do know what’s going on on the field, but I really just don’t care other than for the particular game I am watching at the time. I do follow the Nanooks hockey team from University of Alaska-Fairbanks, but I’m not a very engaged fan. “Oh, they’re up in wins. That’s great. And against some tough competition? That’s better. Now, for something important — like how deeply in debt Congress is putting me.” I go to the Nanooks games maybe twice a winter and the professional team just never gets my notice. And I don’t like to watch hockey on television, so I’m not even sure I know any teams’ names.

That might explain why I don’t focus a lot on team sports in my writing. I’m not all that interested in my own life, so my characters are only marginally interested teams in theirs. My characters are almost all individual personal sports types because that’s who I am. Plus, it’s the apocalypse. They have more important things on their minds. If someone would create a team sport for generating electricity, they’d probably cheer for that.

Posted October 18, 2021 by aurorawatcherak in Blog Hop

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6 responses to “Rah-Rah, Let’s Go

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  1. Being Canadian – I comprehend watching games in hypodermic conditions.
    Tweeted.

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  2. I’ve never been a big fan of hockey. If it wasn’t so rough and the dexterity and skill of the players was highlighted, it wouldn’t be so bad.

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    • Yeah, I don’t know about teams in the Lower 48. Here, the dexterity and skills are highlighted. They certainly were when I reported. There’s always some bump and jostle along the boards and when UAF and UAA get together for a fight, a hockey game breaks out because they’re head-to-head AK rivals but generally speaking it’s less violent than football — in my opinion. Of course, I don’t pay attention to pro-teams, which do seem to mix it up more.

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  3. Sci-fi is a bad setting for sports, in the same way as the post-apocalyptic world. In the far future, there is so much promise for letting your imagination run riot that to weigh it down with sport seems like a wasted opportunity.

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    • I always felt that Star Trek Next Generation did a good job with parasee squares. You never really knew what the game entailed, but you saw just enough of it to know why they played it. While I’m not a Harry Potter fan, I did think quiddage played an important role in the series. I did think, however, that the writer paid a little too much attention to it. Might be one reason I’m not a fan.

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