Discussion: Sport in YA

After watching Emma Giordano’s video about needing more diverse hobbies in YA I got on to thinking about sport in YA. It’s very rare that we have an MC who is interested in any kind of sport and when a supporting character is interested in it, it’s often shown in a bad light, like if a male love interested is a captain of a school team it’s regularly made out like this makes them a bad person or is part of the reason they’re not worth someone’s time, because they’re too involved in sport. And whilst this isn’t the worst thing in the world and there are more pressing concerns in literature, like how gay characters always die it is something that I’ve noticed.

Growing up nearly every single person I knew was interested in sport in some way, even if it was a passing interest every time there was a big event on. Being from a country where football (soccer) is the biggest sport most of the interest was in that but there was a lot more sports than that that people did enjoy. A lot of people I knew were on the swimming team, some were on the shinty (violent hockey pretty much) team and a few really liked running. Personally whilst I don’t take part in much sport because I’m not very good I do enjoy swimming and going to the gym, it really helps with my mood as exercise gives a boost to endorphins. I also enjoy watching both tennis and rugby and go to every Scottish home rugby match that I can and I’m hoping one day to have time/money to go to some away games too.

I think it can be quite damaging that sport is shown in the way it is in YA because it perpetuates this idea that you can only have one niche of interests, like if you’re a geek you can’t also enjoy sport. This is obviously a load of shit since I both love exercise and reading, video games, tv/movies and music.

On top of all this often in YA if someone is interested in sport it’s something like football or American football which is 100% ok to have an interest in, I’m not here to police someone’s interests, but there’s so many millions of sports out there. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book where someone is interested in, say, speed skating.

So what do you think, were you interested in sport as a teen? Do you enjoy a weird sport?

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8 thoughts on “Discussion: Sport in YA

  1. This is a great topics. I love playing sports and totally love reading ya books with main characters interested in them. If your looking for some Miranda Kenneally has a whole ya series where the girls play sports.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I read a book called Delta Girls by Gayle Brandeis awhile back, and while the book wasn’t the greatest, one of the characters was a competitive figure skater. It was an unusual enough sport to show up in a book that I’ve always remembered that book. I don’t know that the book is considered YA, but the character who was into the skating was a teen.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is so on point. Most characters in YA who are “nice” are either bookworms, interested in some kind of art or something like that which is completely fine BUT you can be interested in sports AND be a good person. Growing up I was involved reading/arts as much as I was on sports and even when I slumped in the first, I’ve always had the latter and I’d like to see that more present in YA.

    Liked by 1 person

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