“She cleared the bleachers and saw him make his way around the side of the stadium where he spotted a pair of brothers playing catch with their young dad. The camera and Max were indistinguishable.”
My lovely writer friend, Kathy Dunnehoff has managed to bring us older women back to school in her book, BACK TO U. By doing this, she is able to draw from, and recreate the nostalgia of college days- including the fun and craziness of college sports games. In this scene the hero and protagonist are competing to see who can take a better photo of the game. Gwen, the protagonist, can’t imagine Max taking anything but a gritty shot and he is trying to prove her wrong.
Although BACK TO U isn’t strictly a sports romance, it uses the role of sports as a third character in the book. Through the football players Gwen befriends and her growing appreciation for the sport, we watch her character change and develop. At the same time, Ms. Dunnehoff is able to use the tension (see how I got that in there) that derives from our idealized version of sports (the two kids playing catch with their dad) versus the reality (cracking skulls, cheering- sometimes drunk- crowds, winning at all costs). Through this tension we get to see the boy that Max was vs the man that he has become, just as we observe a transition occurring within Gwen.
April is Romancing the Genres sports romance month. We will have some great sports authors visit to show us what it takes to use the sports theme in romance. I hope, as part of this, they will explore how sports help them develop character and story tension.
Meanwhile… here are some nostalgic sports pictures. If you are up for the challenge, try to list the sweet, idealized themes in the picture, and then compare it to the reality of what was probably happening. As always, I love to hear your thoughts, so be sure to leave a comment with what you encountered while completing this exercise.