chapter  I
41 Pages

The Athlete as Hero, Star and Celebrity

WithDeborah V. Tudor

The image of the professional team athlete exists at the intersection of several discourses. This chapter examines the multi-faceted construct "athlete-hero-star-celebrity." Myth-as-ideology can be unpacked from athlete-texts and film-texts in its various guises. The connection between the hero's quest, outlined by Campbell, the athlete, and the formation of consciousness within Western culture is specified by Edward Edinger who views the tragic hero as an outgrowth of ancient Greek ritual drama and sacred games. The prodigious feats of athletes during their childhood years figure prominently in both fictional and non-fictional representations of athletes. In addition to resembling the entity of film star the career athlete bears some similarities to the concept of the character. The spectator's personal memories of athletics and fantasies about sports also form part of the athlete's image. Comparisons of leading athletes with mythical figures, especially knights, are common among baseball journalism and essays.