Blog Post #4: Murderball

I think a lot of our past readings really resonate well with Murderball. I think this film does a good job of representing the mindsets of many people with physical disabilities while showing how they conquer historical barriers. These competitions and tournaments for wheelchair rugby would have never existed years ago because of the presumption that people with physical disabilities just could not succeed at sports. We’ve seen many times in class that these disabilities do not put a ceiling on the opportunity and achievement for these people. In the beginning the various athletes discuss the version of disability rhetoric people view them with, the consensus seemed to be related to the sentimental rhetoric and in this case it was overwhelmingly unwanted. In the Garland-Thomson reading from the beginning of the semester it states, “The sentimental produces the sympathetic victim or helpless sufferer needing protection or succor and invoking pity, inspiration, and frequent contributions”. When people call these players out and ask if they need help, wonder how they are able to drive, put clothes on, and more it annoys the players. It’s this rhetoric and attitude towards people with disabilities that make them angry and further fuels their drive to be successful and competitive to show what they can do.

Because this was an international competition it also reminded me of disabilities on an international level. I was happy to see teams from different countries uniting for their passion of rugby. It just shows that there are people all around the world, in every nation, who are physically disabled and passionate about overcoming their disability by participating in intense competition and being successful within those combats.

I tried to find the reasoning behind naming the game Murderball. Obviously most people say it’s because it’s “brutal, it’s fast, it’s intensely competitive and it’s bone-shatteringly full-on”, which I assumed. I was curious to see if there was any other meaning behind the tag but turns out its purely is called that because of its brutality. Another aspect of the sport that some may think is a bit brutal was the numbering system based on how much somebody’s body “works”. The combined count of four players on the court cannot exceed eight. In a way people may see this as degrading and animalistic because the players are just stamped with a number but I think it’s kind of cool. In this environment certain people with physical disabilities can be dubbed barely disabled compared to others. It makes the athletes feel good about them selves and instills confidence.

I enjoyed Murderball and I think it’s a really good film to raise awareness about physically disabilities.


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