I had an idea for an upcoming story in my comic. It came from real life, in a way. I've noticed that I'm really, really good at rock, scissors, paper. Like, I almost never lose. So a tale in the near future will feature one of my characters being similarly gifted…or probably even more gifted, and deciding to come out of retirement and compete, in some forum, in a high stakes rock, scissors, paper battle!
The story pitch makes me laugh. I'm looking forward to doing it, and it got me thinking about some of the “sports story” conventions and cliches that I could parody and reference.
The Sports Story
Sports stories are not my favorite genre, and I'm not very knowledgeable about them (or sports in general). Here are some of the components of these types of scripts that have occurred to me:
-“The wounded former champ”
Whether it's the competitor him/herself or the coach or trainer, there is generally a character
who's been burned out or wounded by the sport, maybe physically, but definitely emotionally.
-“The personal vendetta”
It's always good when it's personal. It's almost ALWAYS personal in some way, in every sports
movie from The Karate Kid to Dodgeball to Searching for Bobby Fisher. There's some kind of
personal enmity between the competitors (or at least the coaches).
-“The Training montage”
We see the hero/heroes learning how to do their thing, and setting up the rules of the game,
and also set things up for the dramatic payoff at the end.
-“The Early Failure”
This applies to lots of different stories of course. It's about establishing the heroes as
Of course, there are other elements that apply to almost all stories, like the “All is Lost” moment, and the
twin tracks of what the character WANTS (to win the competition) vs. what they need (some kind of personal growth).
There are probably more diverse types of stories than I know of; like I said, I'm not really well schooled in sports stories.
Here are the variations that come to mind…
The Rag-Tag Underdog Team
The Bad News Bears, Any Given Sunday, Dodgeball, A League of Their Own…This is where it's a TEAM effort to come together and accomplish a shared goal. There's a strong relationship between these stories and the classic “hero's journey” story like Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, or Ocean's Eleven, with the gathering and training of the team.
The Solo Effort
Of course, the first movie that comes to mind when I think of Sports Stories is Rocky. The underdog who works himself to the bone to make more of his life and achieve something great, whether they win or lose the competition. I guess this is basically the template I'm going to parody in my story, maybe with little side trips to other subsets.
This is where I'm on shaky ground…I guess there's the BIO PIC story about real sports figures, with a “fall from grace” aspect to it (RAGING BULL, FOXCATCHER), or the more technical/strategic look at things (MONEYBALL) or a mythological take on loving sports, like FIELD OF DREAMS (though I'm not sure that's a Sports Story. Actually, I think it is. What is it, if not that?).
Anyway, those are my initial thoughts on Sports Stories, and my pitch for an upcoming issue of my comic.
Hope you have a great Thursday!
Eye of the Tiger, babies!
The Sports Story and a PitchBanes at 12:00AM, March 10, 2016
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KimLuster at 4:39AM, March 11, 2016
Very thorough coverage again!! Can't think of any sports theme or aspect you didn't go over. I wonder if 'Gladiator' movies also follow these - Russell Crowe's Gladiator or the Spartacus series (at least when they were all in the arena)...! They all have the elements you describe! Although the uber-violence and permanent ban from participation for the losers (death will do that) does kinda put them in a genre of their own. Still... they were a 'spectator sport' of the day!
takoyama at 10:11PM, March 10, 2016
you have hit all the concepts i've seen in the great sports movies i know comedy or serious. one thing i have to say is that sports movies have women in them in some fashion either as a competitor, reporter or best friend girl friend.
Ozoneocean at 7:34PM, March 10, 2016
Banes, you HAVE to see this! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQ3mdrQeTHE It's a parody of the ragtag underdog team thing, especially the stories written by the people who have zero idea of the sports they're writing about, it's hilarious. Even if you know nothing about cricket you can still recognise all the tropes they're lampooning. :D
tupapayon at 11:57AM, March 10, 2016
Remember, if you write it he will come...
Ironscarf at 9:00AM, March 10, 2016
Interesting stuff. I have a future plot with a sport related backstory. After reading this, maybe I'll make it a front story.
Banes at 6:19AM, March 10, 2016
Oh, it's a big manga thing? I gotta look into that; I've seen it much more in life than in media...maybe it's not such a clever idea after all! XD
bravo1102 at 4:52AM, March 10, 2016
bravo1102 at 4:50AM, March 10, 2016
This is a huge recurring theme in manga and anime. To include one about rock, paper, scissors. Many martial arts stuff also includes all kinds of tournaments like my favorite the Ikkitousen franchise. And of course there's Girls and Panzer which is a sports anime featuring the fine feminine sport of tankery.