depicted on film. These characters function on multiple levels in boxing
films, including fulfilling the role of life teacher. They lead the boxers
through fights and life challenges outside of the ring. Trainers are
integral to the development of the athlete and the person, becoming
almost part of the boxer; they seem to live every minute of their lives
with them, and some even live their lives through them. It’s a fascinating
thing to watch the commonalities among these boxing movies because
of the similar characters and storylines depicted in the genre. The power
of the relationship between trainers and boxers in cinema not only
reflects a professional bond but also a strong emotional relationship
between the characters, but less obvious to viewers is the role boxing
trainers play as teachers in an unconventional but indelible nod to The
Hollywood Model of good teachers.
The Hollywood Model, developed by Mary M. Dalton in the
book The Hollywood Curriculum: Teachers in the Movies, really helps to
distinguish different ways of approaching teaching and traits related to
“good” teachers. The Hollywood Model talks about the good teacher
under the headings “Teacher as Outsider,” “Personally Involved with
Students,” “Teachers Learning from Students,” “Tension Between the
Teacher and Administrators,” and what I will mostly be talking about
“A Personalized Curriculum” (25- 38). I find it fascinating to look back
on any type of education movies I have seen and identify connections
between teachers working in school classrooms and trainers educating
at the gym. The trainer more often than not personalizes the curriculum
for the boxer. The trainer uses boxing as a form of teaching the boxer
life lessons more significantly than actually teaching the techniques or
tactics of boxing. Life lessons are particularly important in these films
because the boxer is already a phenomenal athlete who, in some way or
another, has fallen from grace or has encountered a significant problem
in their lives. The trainer is very often there to pick up the boxer
emotionally as well as physically. Usually, the trainer’s past experience
is fundamental to the lesson at hand, and gaining the trust of the boxer
is probably the hardest obstacle to overcome in the education process.
These boxers have usually been betrayed or people close to them have
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