Put me in coach : surviving the bench and the locker room in adolescent basketball literature

UNCW Author/Contributor (non-UNCW co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Brendan E. Drury (Creator)
The University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW )
Web Site: http://library.uncw.edu/
Meghan Sweeney

Abstract: This thesis examines the off-court spaces of adolescent basketball literature. In most sports literature, the spotlight is placed on the field of play, whether it be a football field, a baseball diamond, or a basketball court. However, I take the spotlight off of the court and place it on the bench and in the locker room. After a short history of adolescent sports fiction, I examine the bench. Although the bench may be “the best seat in the house,” it is just that—a seat. The young adult athletes in these basketball novels want to play; anything that keeps them from playing becomes a threat. For this reason, the bench becomes the coaches’ best form of punishment. On the bench, both players and coaches are powerless. They are part of the team, but the fact that they are sidelined renders them helpless. As a result, the bench often becomes a place of selfishness and cynicism. Next, I take a look at the locker room. The locker room is different for each young adult athlete. While some are able to find community in the locker room, others see it as a place where social orders are strictly enforced. The coach is also a dominant figure in the locker room. His or her behavior often determines whether an athlete’s locker room experience is a positive one or a negative one. Moreover, I analyze the locker room as a gendered space and discuss the sexual images that arise. This thesis is grounded in close readings of various young adult basketball novels. I also incorporate both adolescent literary theory, as well as sports theory in order to find out the impact that these spaces have on young adult athletes.

Additional Information

A Thesis Submitted to the University of North Carolina Wilmington in Partial Fulfillment Of the Requirements for the Degree of Maters of Arts
Language: English
Date: 2009
Basketball stories, Sports in literature, Sports literature--History and criticism, Young adult literature
Young adult literature
Basketball stories
Sports in literature
Sports literature -- History and criticism

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