Jan. 9th, 2013 10:32 am
tevere: Kobe Bryant in a ridiculous white hood (Kobe)
During that whirlwind six weeks of Yuletide, when I was reading every goddamn NBA blog, profile, article and book in existence, I discovered something so shocking that it completely upended my understanding of the world: sports-loving dudes are shippers too. See, I had always had the erroneous belief that people who were into sports were, you know, into the sports, and when people 'talked sport' they were talking about boring things like stats and power rankings. But no! As hockey fandom discovered aeons ago, it turns out that people who are into sports spend 90% of their time creating and analysing narratives about all their favourite personalities, often outlining elaborate character arcs of courtship and betrayal based on snippets from Twitter, a couple of Instagram photos, and some bitter locker-room interviews. Dudes into sports spend all their time doing exactly what we in female-dominated online fandom do, just without taking things to their logical conclusion. Basically, they're into smarm, except that they call it the 'bromance'.

This morning The Boy dropped this Lin/Parsons photospam into my inbox, courtesy of the dudebros on Reddit. It's... epically shippy. It's possibly one of the shippiest things I've ever seen. Just when you think there couldn't possibly be any more, it keeps going. Cosy dinners! Christmas shopping! FIFA battles! The most I feel for Lin is a vague sense of solidarity, and all I know about Parsons is that his nickname is 'Chandler Bang', and to be honest the resentment inherent in Lin/Harden is a ten times more interesting dynamic, but... yeah. I could go with this. I hate an animated gif as much as the next person with an antiquated computer, but it really does just come down to this:


And of course this ship already has a Lin-related pun as a nickname. Of course it does.

(30-second Jeremy Lin primer by a non-expert! A Taiwanese-American and pretty great at basketball, he was possibly overlooked by college scouts due to being, you know, Asian. So he went to Harvard, which doesn't offer basketball scholarships. He didn't get drafted out of Harvard, and spent some time bumming around in the D-League. Eventually he landed with the Knicks for the 2011-2012 season, becoming the first American of Chinese descent to play in the NBA, and rocked the fuck out of the league in a phenomenon known as Linsanity. Then he got injured and had to sit out the second half of the season. Then there was a bitter trading kerfuffle and he ended up at the Rockets, where he has... not been awesome, and everyone's mad that he gets to be an All Star due to the 'China vote' rather than having given an All Star-quality performance this season. And I mean, he's not my favourite, but I do feel for the guy. It's hard being the centre of so much hype, not to mention having to 'represent' your entire race and deal with all the Asian stereotypes and general racist shit being flung around by the media. Remember ESPN's 'chink in the armour' headline? Yeah. As a person, he's down to earth (he famously couch-surfed for weeks in New York while playing for the Knicks), endearingly dorky, and super-religious.)
tevere: Kobe Bryant in a ridiculous white hood (Kobe)
I am not a team player. The thought of team sports makes me break out in hives. In the thirteen years I've been with The Boy, I've managed to remain completely, blissfully, ignorant about the sport around which his family revolves. And yet when [personal profile] thefourthvine suggested this Nike advertisement as a potential Yuletide source earlier in the year, I somehow couldn't resist. POC protagonists! Rivalry! Jealousy! Extreme competence! It's only a minute long, but somehow contains an entire world:

As [personal profile] thefourthvine correctly guessed (and I think [personal profile] toft suspected), my story was:

Winning is everything (because without it there's nothing) (9852 words) by Tevere
Fandom: This Is Where It Starts Commercial
Rating: Explicit
Warning: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Ben Watkins/Meng Ling
Summary: "It's a commercial, not a competition," Meng says. "The only person who cares how you play is you." He laughs. "Our job is just to look good. Can you do that, or are you too busy hating me?"

My Yuletide lesson this year was that one-minute fandoms are hard, yo. I couldn't really put my finger on the problem until I read this brilliantly insightful post on narrative tension (highly recommended!!) by [ profile] supacat aka [ profile] freece, whom you may know as the author of the utterly absorbing Captive Prince series. I'm so used to having complex, lengthy sources to leverage off as a source of narrative tension, not to mention characters that have distinct personalities. Squashing character development and something of a relationship into 10,000 words was... challenging, to say the least. To make it even more difficult there was also the whole basketball thing, Christ. Despite The Boy's best efforts, I still have no idea what a pick-and-roll actually looks like. On the other hand, I do now have strong opinions on the size of Dwight Howard's head in relation to his shoulders, Blake Griffin's performance at Jenga, whether or not Shane Battier could win Jeopardy!, if Dwyane Wade is the best-dressed man in the NBA, and if Kobe's Death Stare was the final nail in Mike Brown's coffin. -- Oh, and did I mention that this fandom takes place TWENTY YEARS IN THE FUTURE? I mean, sports science fiction, I can't even.

Anyway, given the time constraints of working around a screaming three month old baby, I'm tolerably satisfied with how it turned out. Thank you so much to [ profile] supacat for her structural superpowers, [personal profile] isilya for sports-fandom cheerleading, [personal profile] kaneko for moral support, and [personal profile] the_grynne for expert advice on future!China. And, of course, to The Boy for endless technical advice, sending me all the best gossip links, and sharing fannish squee with me for the first time ever.


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