James Ross, Silvia Dominguez, Stephen Burgard
Date of Award
Master of Science
Department or Academic Unit
College of Arts and Sciences. School of Journalism.
Boston English High School, Boston Public Schools, Inner-city basketball, Urban culture
Journalism Studies | Social and Behavioral Sciences
Observing the varsity boys basketball team at Boston English High--the nation's oldest public high school--on a near-daily basis, the author examines the role fatherhood plays in urban basketball culture. While societal stereotypes suggest growing up in a two-parent home fosters stability, many fathers in black communities push basketball on their children too hard. And while stereotypes suggest every college and NBA player was raised by a single mom, many coaches actually look for players who have traits most likely obtained in a two-parent home.
The narrative of English High's 2005-06 season focuses on two players on opposite ends of the parenthood spectrum. Calvin Davis, a junior shooting guard, grew up without a father and struggles to find a viable alternative to replace the role basketball plays in his life. Mike Marsh--a senior small forward displaced by Hurricane Katrina--struggles to handle his overbearing father who insists he can earn a Division 1 college basketball scholarship even when Mike is willing to settle on smaller schools.
While it's impossible to definitively determine if developing players with fathers have an advantage over those raised without dads, or vice versa, looking at these hypothetical questions through the milieu of English High helps untangle complicated conceptions shrouding urban hoop culture and its relationship to fatherhood.
Justin A. Rice
Rice, Justin A., "A sense of where you aren’t: basketball birthright at Boston English High and fatherhood in urban hoop culture" (2010). Journalism Master's Theses. Paper 5. http://hdl.handle.net/2047/d20002801
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