I don't know where to find the research you're looking for, but I think it's a
fascinating subject and it speaks to a theory I've been developing but don't
know whether I'll ever seriously pursue in a thesis: That action-adventure
films/series are often metaphoric of rutting rituals, with the male hero
required to perform a brave show of masculinity (usually involving a
fist-fight, even in a high-tech story), while he wins the female as his
reward. That model is changing and there are variations, such as
male-only versions where the male-to-male bonding and competition
(sometimes both simultaneously) become ends in themselves, as satisfying
as the actual rutting itself.
Oh well, I went on too long. Basically, I think you could also think of the
Native American potlatch rituals -- I can't remember what tribes but
potlatch psychology is very interestingly described by Georges Bataille
(crazy French writer, but intriguing), either in an article (possibly "The
Solar Anus") or in his book _Erotism: Death & Sensuality_.
Potlatch as you probably know is a type of ritual in which valuables are
ceremonially destroyed or consumed in a massive town party where rules
are temporarily suspended for the event. I believe sports have some, but
certainly not all, the features of potlatch.
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