Final Essay Topic

Initially, I wanted to research the device of the “flash forward opening” in films. However, I encountered a problem with finding sources so I wanted to change it. I read the paper topic blogs from class, and one really interested me, so I was hoping to do a similar topic. Douby’s blog talked about the narration in college or professional football and argues that each game is an episode in a season and the off season allows for new characters (players) to join the series.

            I would like to research how the narrative affects college basketball or professional basketball but looking at how the basketball commentators on ESPN, TNT Ect. use a narrative for each game to try and maximize entertainment. Commentators of basketball games at the professional level and even Division one college basketball are different than say the high school level because those sports league are businesses. The outcome of the contests seems irrelevant, the only matter to these leagues and to the television networks are did they please the spectators and entertain them. Did they maximize ratings?

 I think exploring the issues of the referee scandal that is currently going on surrounding Tim Donaghy is also a good example to explore of someone trying to fix an athletic competition into a narrative pleasing to him and the NBA. Media representations of American Professional sports are extremely popular.

In the book entitled Out of Bounds Ava Rose and James Friedman explore the many ways in which television sports constructs a uniquely masculine experience of spectatorship. I think I can also research this issue of masculinity and if the narrative targets males in college basketball and the NBA. The book quotes, “TV sports are similar to soap operas in its distracted reception, its construction of a gender viewing community, and many of its discursive strategies and textual effects”. I think the issue of masculinity and the notion of the narrative in sports creating a sense of distraction is also an issue that I can research here.

I think the best way to do this research is to use this book as my main source and watch a few Basketball games where there are clear examples of a narrative as entertainment and as a masculine cult of distraction. I could also look into how the NBA/College basketball uses advertisements and marketing skills to try and enhance their games leading into the narrative. For example the NBA’s slogan is: The NBA- Where Amazing happens! They have many commercials and ads in magazines to promote the NBA like this and then the commentators also try to incorporate this slogan into the narrative.

Thesis- The NBA (or college basketball) is more focused in entertaining an audience by using a narrative as a mode of entertainment than the actual result of the game; while also targeting a specific audience.

Please let me know if I can do this topic or if you think it is too similar to Douby’s?



  1. Edited by Aaron Baker and Todd Boyd Out of Bounds- Sports, Media, and The Politics of Identity Indiana University Press in Bloomington Indianapolis. Copyright 1997
  2. Edited by Tom McMillen with Paul Coggins Out of Bounds- How the American Sports Establishment is Being Driven by Greed and Hypocrisy and what needs to be done about it Simon & Schuster New York Copyright 1992
  3. Phone interview with NY Times sports writer William Rhoden
  4. Watching Actual NBA Games
  5.    Edited by David Herman The Cambridge Companion to Narrative (class text book)

More secondary sources to come as I do more research.

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