My New Book!

My New Book!
My New Book!

Saturday, February 10, 2024

February 10-11, 2024: AmericanStudying Sports Movies: My Pitch!

[For many years now, I’ve used the Super Bowl week to blog about sports histories and stories. This year I wanted to do the same, focusing this time on sports movies and what they can tell us about American culture and identity and leading up to my pitch for a new such film. Be a good sport and share your thoughts in comments, please!]

First, full disclosure—there’s probably no story from American history that I’ve spent more time trying to add to our collective memories than that of the Celestials, the 1870s semi-pro baseball team comprised of students from the Chinese Educational Mission in Hartford. I did so most fully in this Saturday Evening Post Considering History column, but also for this TeachItCT lesson plan and in my third book, among other places.

As I’ve shared multiple times in this space, my in-progress seventh book likewise focuses on the Celestials, and specifically on their triumphant, tragic, and very telling September 1881 final game on a San Francisco sandlot. I’m still hopeful that that book will find a home (and would welcome any ideas for places it might or people I could talk to about it!), but because I’m so determined to get this story out there in any and all possible ways, I’m certainly also considering other media through which the story of the Celestials and their last game might be told. That definitely includes a limited-run podcast, for example, which is something I’m just in the early stages of thinking through but am excited to consider further for sure.

But as this week’s series has reminded us, there’s no better venue through which to tell the most exciting and inspiring sports stories than film. And I can’t lie, I’ve long had the basic idea in mind for a screenplay on the Celestials—with that last game as the throughline, and then with flashbacks to the experiences of the players, their fellow students in the stands, the city of San Francisco and its anti-Chinese movement and massacre, Chinese Educational Mission founder Yung Wing, and more. I’m thinking John Sayles to direct, but in whoever’s hands, I believe the story of the Celestials’ last game could be one of the great American sports films, historical dramas, and much more. Let’s make it happen, fellow AmericanStudiers!

Valentine’s series starts Monday,


PS. So what do you think of my pitch?!

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