Ideation - Athleteactivism/Design-doc Wiki

The ultimate VR experience should entail the point of view an athlete, what they experience on a day to day basis and what life was like during their childhood. As a fan or just a person watching sports for the first time, it is easy to judge the athletes because we see their lives through the luxurious lens of media; however, through this VR experience, we will be able to experience what they experience — the good and the bad. This will give both sides an understanding of each other and hopefully bring resolution to the conflict and create a hybrid space for people with different cultures to co-exist.

Original story arc:

The story will start by a general overview and display of all of the athlete protests across different sports, basketball, football, soccer, tennis, and more. It will include the disapproval from fans and the negativity surrounding their peaceful acts of justice.

Shown below is a video of KC Chiefs Fans BOOING Players As They Link Hands In A Moment Of Unity (https://youtu.be/6Fiy8IJM9rQ):

KC Chiefs Fans BOOING Players As They Link Hands In A Moment Of Unity

The experience will then follow the life and experience of a prominent sport figure: Lebron James.

(Left: https://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/9825052/how-lebron-james-life-changed-fourth-grade-espn-magazine; Right: https://www.thelist.com/157733/the-untold-truth-of-megan-rapinoe/)

Lebron James: Lebron James is one of the most recognized and richest athletes in the world. However, even the biggest stars are still human beings — Lebron is living proof of that reality. Lebron's childhood was incredibly challenging, one characterized by the difficulties being raised by only his mother and the racism as a young black man in America. As a rising star in his teens, there was immense pressure on the 16-year-old to be perfect and to achieve his goal to reach the NBA. Yet even after he grew into an accomplished athlete, no matter how successful he is, there are still countless people hating against him and criticizing him.

Lebron James' childhood story: (https://youtu.be/ScrANI0SvTI)

Lebron James childhood story

Lebron James speaks on how he's more than an athlete: (https://youtu.be/8IbUfAfDq4s)

Lebron James More than an Athelte

The story of Lebron James does not encompass the stories of all athletes. However, highlighting his perspective might help people understand why they chose to use their platforms to protest. Yes, they are athletes, but they are also human too.

Nevertheless, to make this VR experience more personal, the story arc will then transition into an interactive element: the audience will be placed in the shoes of an anonymous professional athlete and be asked to make many decisions regarding their career, if or if not to address the protests, personal conflicts, etc. These decisions will have a direct impact on what happens to them next and the reaction they receive from society.

Purpose of the VR experience:

The purpose of the VR experience is to allow people to understand the perspective and reasoning behind the activist athletes. Whether they are sport fans or not, it is crucial for this experience to create a space for conservation, and more importantly, allow people to listen and to understand athletes' choices before criticizing them. I hope that this project can foster empathy and a conversational space where people can bring their respective cultures and create more compassion, not conflict.

While athletes often get idealized and labeled as having the perfect life and occupation, they are human too. Because their name carries fame and honor, athletes feel so much pressure to play the part of the "unbreakable and ever-confident superhuman" — to be the perfect role model for all of their fans. Because of their circumstances and job as an entertainer, athletes' stories and their struggles are often neglected. Our project seeks to bring to light the stories of athletes themselves, that their experiences is what makes them who they are. Evidently, these activist athletes are simply reflecting on their own life and using their platform to fight for a better tomorrow for the generations that come after them.

Time and time again, people with little to no experience or knowledge of a sports are compelled to advise athletes on what they should do and judge their decisions. Because of the public pressure, many athletes are forced to silence their opinions and perspectives. As a group, we believe that the stories of these athletes need to be spotlighted, to prevent any misunderstanding or misconceptions. The counter-narrative story is going to be based on the perspective of athletes' childhoods and life experiences from their point of view. It is going to be focused on their feelings and experiences as they combat negativity and criticism when fighting for equality.