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Women, Sport, and Film - Spring 2005
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This War is Over--Women and Rugby

Elhanna Porter

3. It is the year 2010, you have been commissioned to write a screen play about women's athletics using race, class, gender or sexual orientation as underlying themes. Who are your protagonists, what is the story line, why have you chosen the style/topic? What is the outcome?

If one learns absolutely nothing after two years in an all women's college, it is that some of the cruelest insults and harshest judgements you will ever receive as a woman are those that come from fellow members of your gender. Of all the themes that we explored this semester, this was the one I felt was sorely lacking. When women fail to bond between themselves it makes it nearly impossible to present a united front to the outside world.

If I were to write a screenplay about an issue in women's athletics I would write one that allowed women to come to a greater understanding of each other, their thoughts, motivations, and backgrounds.

My story would take place at Honoram College, a small liberal arts college in Upstate New York. Honoram is a school filled with mostly wealthy, liberal students. Honorians, as the students like to be called, pride themselves on being an open, forward-thinking, and considerate population. In fact, the only flaw in Honoram's perfect politically correct image is their women's rugby team.

The movie would open at the end of a rugby game, paying particular attention to the mud, sweat, and blood of intense play. After the game finished the film would shift focus to the after game Rugby Social. Social's are parties that take place after games, where the team gets together, either by themselves or with the team that they'd just played against, they sing songs, dance, and drink insane amounts of alcohol. As the party is raging inside of the dorm room, there would be a shot of other students walking past and expressing their disgust at the Rugby Team's activities.

After establishing the conflict between the Rugby Team and the rest of the student body, the focus would shift to the film's protagonist, Elizabeth Frobe. Elizabeth, a member of Honoram's rich and beautiful set, is a sophomore planning on spending her junior year abroad in Paris. When Elizabeth's letter of acceptance comes from her study abroad program there's a note attached to it from the dean's office, Elizabeth is two credits short of fulfilling her PE requirements and won't be allowed to go abroad if she cannot manage to complete the requirement before the end of the semester.

Elizabeth quickly discovers that all of the regular PE classes are filled for the semester so she tries to join on of the college's sports teams, but none of the teams will take her since it's past the start of the semester to Elizabeth's disgust the only group still accepting players is the Rugby team. Still determined to go abroad, Elizabeth swallows her pride and tries to join the Rugby team. At first the girl's don't want her on the team because the know that she's only using them to get to go to Paris. Eventually the team captain, Jennifer, convinces the team to let Elizabeth join because she thinks that Elizabeth will decide that Rugby's too much for her and quit the team.

Even after she joins the Rugby team, Elizabeth shows the same disdain for the players that she'd held before. She goes to practices and games, but refuses to attend socials and snubs the other players when they meet on campus. This begins to change when Jennifer and Elizabeth are assigned to work together for a Psychology project. The project requires the two of them to spend several hours together outside of the class room. As time goes on Jennifer and Elizabeth each begin to realize that the other person isn't nearly as bad as they first thought. Slowly the girls begin to be become friends off the Rugby field, but not on. Tension begins to build as Jennifer wonders why Elizabeth still refuses to bond with the rest of the team. When Jennifer confronts her about her behavior Elizabeth confesses that she even though she thinks that Jennifer's an okay person, she still has a lot of her old hang ups about the rest of the team.

Jennifer is furious that Elizabeth is still so close minded about the rest of the team, but Elizabeth refuses to admit that she's wrong, after their argument both girls go back to their old adversarial relationship. One day, weeks later, Elizabeth is with a group of friends when one of her rugby teammates walks past them, Elizabeth ignores the girl but her friends start tearing her apart, not even thinking about it Elizabeth tells her friends to shut up and her friends are so startled that they stop gossiping. Later in her room, Elizabeth realizes that her ideas about her teammates have changed without her even noticing it. The next day at practice, Elizabeth calls all her teammates together and apologizes for being so judgmental of them. At first the girls don't believe that she's changed and Elizabeth decides that she needs to take more proactive measures to convince them. With the school activities fair coming up, Elizabeth decides to organize the Rugby booth, when the fair arrives the team is amazed by the incredible job that she's done. The final conflict of the film takes place when a group of Elizabeth's friends come over to the booth and start to make fun of her for "going over to the dark side", Elizabeth tells them that she hasn't gone anywhere but if they want to keep being small minded and hateful they're more than welcome to leave.

The end of the film would be the same as its opening, only this time Elizabeth is smack in the middle of the game, the movie closes on her as she attends her very first rugby social.

My motives in this "screenplay" were not to turn Elizabeth into a fast playing, hard drinking, woman loving rugger, but instead to show that it is possible to learn to care for and respect other people despite the more obvious differences that may separate them.

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