The Spectator

I never got into sports like so many do whether in practice, spectatorship, or a combination of both. Having my left arm permanently injured at birth played a major role in altering my experiences. As a child, I joined in where I could, playing different sports or games on the playground like basketball, tennis, and kickball and thanks to growing up around my grandfather, I was dragged along with his form of spectatorship. He would take the family to the Oakland A’s baseball games, he bought the cheapest tickets and he couldn’t get enough of the $1 hot dogs. Sometimes being taken to games by my mother, the purpose would be to see fireworks which was always a wonderful sight.

As my grandfather got older he submitted to staying home on the couch, watching the games from the TV screen. He also watched football (Superbowl!), tennis, golf (Tiger Woods), and the Olympics (Ice Skating). Most of the time, I was there, right along with him, asking him to explain to me how to know when someone was winning and who we were rooting for but apparently he didn’t know every rule either, he just had his favorite players, especially those who were Asian and even better if they were Japanese. I guess it was mainly entertainment and feeling proud of Asian representation, so I never quite got to understanding the sport. I just watched how the ball was thrown around, the reactions of the players/audience, and tried to decipher the scoreboard.

As I got older, my interests turned to other directions and grew broader as currently I’m a Communication major. In General, I like studying culture, representation, and producing media. I’m intrigued by cultures especially those that I personally don’t have much connection to, I like questioning the way the world works, seeing the interrelations, the implicit rules, and order of things and then being able to contribute through the production of media.

Honestly, I could explore any sport as so much is unknown to me but a few years ago, on my own, flipping through channels, I came across a UFC marathon where the sport being practiced is Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). Not only was it violent and scary but surprisingly it was extremely entertaining, I watched it all day long. This sport is something I could see myself exploring further because it brings up lots of questions to mind like why is a fight so entertaining to an audience? and other questions like what’s the mentality of a fighter? So, I’m pretty pumped to explore the culture of sport.

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One Response to The Spectator

  1. Sarah McCullough says:

    The rise of MMA as a popular cultural phenomenon promises to be fascinating. I’m interesting to see where this work will go. Your commentary about your grandfather’s interest in sport and its relationship to Asian/Japanese representation provides nice insight into one of the many cultural functions sport serves. Given the hybridity of MMA, it will be interesting to see how these issues of representation play out in your project.

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