The U.S. Congress is typically seen as an institution filled with career politicians who have been seasoned by experience in lower levels of political office. In fact, political amateurs have comprised roughly one quarter of the House of Representatives since 1930. The effect of amateurs' inexperience on their political careers, roles in Congress, and impact on the political system has never been analyzed in detail.
Written in a lucid style accessible to the nonspecialist, David T. Canon's Actors, Athletes, and Astronauts is a definitive study of political amateurs in elections and in Congress. Canon examines the political conditions that prompt amateurs to run for office, why they win or lose, and whether elected amateurs behave differently from their experienced counterparts. Challenging previous work which presumed stable career structures and progressively ambitious candidates, his study reveals that amateurs are disproportionately elected in periods of high political opportunity, such as the 1930s for Democrats and 1980s for Republicans.
Canon's detailed findings call for significant revision of our prevailing understanding of ambition theory and disarm monolithic interpretations of political amateurs. His unique typology of amateurism differentiates among policy-oriented, "hopeless," or ambitious amateurs. The latter resemble their professional counterparts; "hopeless" amateurs are swept into office by strong partisan motivations and decision-making styles of each type vary, affecting their degree of success, but each type of amateur provides a necessary electoral balance by defeating entrenched incumbents rarely challenged by more experienced politicians.
In the United States, the entanglement of sports and education has persisted for over a century. Multimillion-dollar high school football stadiums, college coaches whose salaries are many times those of their institutions’ presidents, psychological and educational tolls on student-athletes, and high-profile academic scandals are just symptoms of a system that has come under increasing fire. Institutions large and small face persistent quandaries: which do they value more, academic integrity or athletic success? Which takes precedence: prioritizing elite teams and athletes, or making it possible for all students to participate in sports? How do we create opportunities for academic—not just athletic—development for players?
In Alternative Models of Sports Development in America, B. David Ridpath—a leading sports development researcher who has studied both the US system and the European club model—offers clear steps toward creating a new status quo. He lays out four possible alternative models that draw various elements from academic, athletic, and European approaches. His proposals will help increase access of all young people to the benefits of sports and exercise, allow athletes to also thrive as students, and improve competitiveness. The result is a book that will resonate with sports development professionals, academic administrators, and parents.
Cindy Bentley: Spirit of a Champion celebrates the life of one of Wisconsin's most inspirational leaders and activists. Born with an intellectual disability as the result of fetal alcohol syndrome, Cindy Bentley spent much of her childhood at the Southern Wisconsin Center for the Developmentally Disabled. No one expected her to learn the skills necessary to live on her own. To everyone's surprise, including her own, she did that and much more.
With the encouragement of a teacher at Southern Center, Cindy realized she had a deep passion for sports, and the discipline to train and compete. She began participating in Special Olympics, and gained confidence as she worked with teammates to earn medals in tennis, track and field, and even snowshoeing. Chosen as a Global Messenger for the Special Olympics International in 2000, Cindy has had dinner at the White House with two different American presidents, traveled around the world, and given speeches in front of thousands of people.
In these pages, young readers will learn what gives Cindy her champion spirit, and why she gave away some of her gold medals. Today, Cindy is still competing in Special Olympics. She also continues to advocate for people with disabilities, and helped to start People First, a statewide organization that encourages those with disabilities to speak up for their rights.
U-S-A , U-S-A is a familiar refrain heard in every Olympics, but truly it could be Wis-con-sin! Since pioneering hurdler Alvin Kraenzlein got his start here in the 1890s, the Badger State has nurtured, trained, or schooled more than 400 Olympic athletes in a vast array of sports. Wisconsin’s varied landscape and climate accommodate serious athletes whether they compete on ice, on snow, in the water, or on terra firma. We tend to bring a Midwestern work ethic to our endeavors, and our Olympians have often been hailed in the press and in public as being among the most humble and down-to-earth people around. Our state boasts a thriving youth sports culture where many homegrown athletes get their start; others are drawn here by our world-class universities, athletic facilities, and coaching talent. No matter how an athlete comes to Wisconsin, the state becomes part of his or her Olympic story. In Going for Wisconsin Gold, author Jessie Garcia provides insights into the lives of athletes who grew up or spent time in Wisconsin on their journey to the Olympic Games. She shares some of our competitors most captivating tales—from those that have become legend, like Dan Jansen’s heartbreaking falls and subsequent magical gold, to unlikely brushes with glory (do you know which Green Bay Packer was almost an Olympic high jumper?). Featuring the athletes’ personal stories, many of them told here in detail for the first time, plus pictures from their private collections, Going for Wisconsin Gold provides a new and deeper understanding of the sacrifices, joy, pain, heartbreak, and complete dedication it takes to reach the world’s grandest sporting competition.
Latrell Sprewell. Allen Iverson. John McEnroe. Even Mohammed Ali and Mike Schmidt and Michael Jordan. These are characters of our national imagination, athletes who stand as symbols of our complex relationship with professional sport. In this erudite and captivating book, bestselling author Larry Platt takes us on a tour through American sports. Offering profiles of the athletes we love (and love to hate), Platt shows that sport, more than any other nationwide pastime, is the way we come to understand—and alter—race relations, gender, and, most profoundly, how we communicate with each other in ways that are often given too little credit in the minds of intellectuals. Thought-provoking and richly written, New Jack Jocks offers a textured picture of how athletes live their lives and how we live out and define American culture by the way we come to understand their lives in and out of the halls of play.
Face it: Philadelphia athletes are often as tough as their fans are passionate. How else to explain the rabid appeal of the bone-crunching Broad Street Bullies? Chuck Bednarik was one of the looniest tunes in Philadelphia sports history, but fuggedabout him. In The Philly Fan's Code, New York Times sportswriter Mike Tanier provides fun and opinionated essays that evaluate the 50 greatest, toughest, and most eccentric legends of Philly sports since Concrete Charlie hung up his cleats.
Using his own "rubric" to calculate the impact of each athlete, Tanier ranks well-adjusted players like Mark Howe alongside both unpredictable athletes like Brad Lidge—who followed an almost perfect season with a 162-game catastrophe—and quirky ones, such as Wilt Chamberlain, who may be better known for bragging about his sexual conquests than for scoring 100 points in a game. And let's not forget our visitor from Planet Lovetron… Then there are the real wild cards-players like Terrell Owens, who does sit-ups in his driveway and whose impact—for better or worse— outlasted the few actual games he played for the Eagles. As for Tanier's choice for the No. 1 toughest, craziest, most legendary player, well, you'll have to read the book to see if you agree. Whether you do or don't, The Philly Fan's Code will provide hours of debates and memories of who our toughest sports heroes were—or weren't.
Philadelphia sports—anchored by the Eagles, Flyers, Phillies, and 76ers—have a long, and sometimes tortured, history. Philly fans have booed more than their share and have earned a reputation as some of the most hostile in the country. They’ve been known, so the tales go, to jeer Santa Claus and cheer at the injury of an opposing player.
Strangely though, much of America’s perception of Philadelphia sports has been shaped by a fictional figure: Rocky. The series of Hollywood films named after their title character has told and retold the Cinderella story of an underdog boxer rising up against long odds. One could plausibly make the argument that Rocky is Philadelphia’s most famous athlete.
Beyond the major sports franchises and Rocky, lesser-known athletic competition in Philadelphia offers much to the interested observer. The city’s boxing culture, influence on Negro Leagues baseball, role in establishing interscholastic sport, and leadership in the rise of cricket all deserve and receive close investigation in this new collection. Philly Sports combines primary research and personal experiences—playing in the Palestra, scouting out the tombstones of the city’s best athletes, enjoying the fervor of a Philadelphia night with a local team in pursuit of a championship title. The essence of Philadelphia sport, and to a certain extent the city itself, is distilled here.
The sixteen original essays in this collection cover influential and famous rivalries from a variety of sports, including track and field, golf, boxing, basketball, tennis, ice skating, baseball, football, soccer, and more. The essays are diverse, but together they illustrate what is common to any rivalry: equally matched opponents that often have decidedly different backgrounds, styles, and personalities. These differences may center on race and culture, political and societal ideologies, personality, geography, or religion—a mix intensified by fans and the media. From highly publicized and emotionally charged individual competitions to bitterly fought team contests, Rivals illuminates what one-of-a-kind opponents and the passion they inspire tell us about ourselves and our society.
Sometimes the crack of the bat or the roar of the crowd fails to capture the meaning of sports as athletes themselves understand it. Books about sports have ignored this dimension of the subject, particularly the athletes’ own autobiographical accounts. In Sporting Lives, the first book to examine the two popular realms of sports and autobiography, James Pipkin looks at recurring patterns found in athletes’ accounts of their lives and sporting experiences, examining language, metaphor, rhetorical strategies, and other elements to analyze sports from the inside out.
Sporting Lives takes a fresh look at memoirs from baseball, football, basketball, golf, and other sports to explore how American athletes see themselves: not only how those images mesh with popular perceptions of them as heroes or celebrities but also how their accounts differ from those of sports journalists and other outsiders. Drawing on the life stories of such well-known figures as Wilt Chamberlain, Babe Ruth, and Martina Navratilova—both as-told-to and self-authored works—Pipkin follows players from the “echoing green” of eternal youth to the sometimes cultlike and isolated status of fame, interpreting recurring patterns both in the living of their lives and in the telling of them. He even considers Dennis Rodman’s four autobiographies to show how the contradictions of his self-portrayals reflect the Janus-faced quality of sports in the era of celebrity culture.
As Pipkin shows, the life of the athlete involves more than mere athleticism; it is also a world of nostalgia and sentiment, missed opportunities and lost youth. He sheds light on athletes’ common obsession with youth and body image—including gender and racial considerations—and explores their descriptions of being “in a zone,” that transcendent state when everything seems to click. And he considers the time that all athletes dread, when their bodies begin to betray them . . . and the cheering stops.
While the lives of athletes may often suggest the magic of Peter Pan, Pipkin’s engaging study reveals that they are in many ways more like the Lost Boys. Sporting Lives shows that the meaning of sports is intertwined with the telling. It is both an eminently readable book for fans and a critically sophisticated analysis that will engage scholars of literature, sports or media studies, and American popular culture.
The Sports Immortals is the first study to systematically apply the classic theories of psychology and anthropology to sport to present a model of the ways in which we create mythical figures out of actual individuals. Peter Williams begins with the theories of thinkers like Jung, Frazer, and Otto Rank and then shows their application, first to sport itself, then, more specifically, to American sport, and particularly to baseball. The result is a clear illustration of the way in which we insist on making archetypes out of our heroes, and how this process is the same today as it was in ancient Athens and before.
The Vietnam era's tensions—between tradition and new possibilities, black and white, young and old, male and female—were played out on the field of professional and organized sports. SportsWars shows that the century-old position of sports as the standard-bearer for American values, and as a central way of building character, made it a prime target in this time of general disenchantment. Critics began to challenge not only individual abuses but sport's very ideals, and for the first time these critics included athletes themselves. Zang locates a variety of larger cultural debates within professional sports and organized sports more generally: changing valuations of hard work and the physical, winning versus character, and challenges to authority. He also considers the relationships between sports and other domains of popular culture, including the counterculture, rock and roll, and Hollywood.
Appearance- and performance-enhancing drugs—specifically, anabolic steroids (APEDs)—provide a tempting competitive advantage for amateur baseball players. But this shortcut can exact a fatal cost on talented athletes. In his urgent book Suicide Squeeze, William Kashatus chronicles the experiences of Taylor Hooton and Rob Garibaldi, two promising high school baseball players who abused APEDs in the hopes of attracting professional scouts and Division I recruiters. However, as a result of their steroid abuse, they ended up taking their own lives.
In Suicide Squeeze—named for the high-risk play in baseball to steal home—Kashatus identifies the symptoms and dangers of steroid use among teens. Using archival research and interviews with the Hooton and Garibaldi families, he explores the lives and deaths of these two troubled young men, the impact of their suicides on MLB, and the ongoing fight against adolescent APED use by their parents.
A passionate appeal to prevent additional senseless deaths by athletes, Suicide Squeeze is an important contribution to debates on youth and sports and on public policy.
Incidents of doping in sports are common in news headlines, despite regulatory efforts. How did doping become a crisis? What does a doping violation actually entail? Who gets punished for breaking the rules of fair play? In Testing for Athlete Citizenship, Kathryn E. Henne, a former competitive athlete and an expert in the law and science of anti-doping regulations, examines the development of rules aimed at controlling performance enhancement in international sports.
As international and celebrated figures, athletes are powerful symbols, yet few spectators realize that a global regulatory network is in place in an attempt to ensure ideals of fair play. The athletes caught and punished for doping are not always the ones using performance-enhancing drugs to cheat. In the case of female athletes, violations of fair play can stem from their inherent biological traits. Combining historical and ethnographic approaches, Testing for Athlete Citizenship offers a compelling account of the origins and expansion of anti-doping regulation and gender-verification rules.
Drawing on research conducted in Australasia, Europe, and North America, Henne provides a detailed account of how race, gender, class, and postcolonial formations of power shape these ideas and regulatory practices. Testing for Athlete Citizenship makes a convincing case to rethink the power of regulation in sports and how it separates athletes as a distinct class of citizens subject to a unique set of rules because of their physical attributes and abilities.
In That’s Gotta Hurt, the orthopaedist David Geier shows how sports medicine has had a greater impact on the sports we watch and play than any technique or concept in coaching or training. Injuries among professional and college athletes have forced orthopaedic surgeons and other healthcare providers to develop new surgeries, treatments, rehabilitation techniques, and prevention strategies. In response to these injuries, sports themselves have radically changed their rules, mandated new equipment, and adopted new procedures to protect their players. Parents now openly question the safety of these sports for their children and look for ways to prevent the injuries they see among the pros. The influence that sports medicine has had in effecting those changes and improving both the performance and the health of the athletes has been remarkable. Through the stories of a dozen athletes whose injuries and recovery advanced the field (including Joan Benoit, Michael Jordan, Brandi Chastain, and Tommy John), Dr. Geier explains how sports medicine makes sports safer for the pros, amateurs, student-athletes, and weekend warriors alike. That’s Gotta Hurt is a fascinating and important book for all athletes, coaches, and sports fans.