“Why should a particular game, played with a round ball by twenty-year-olds in short pants often hundreds of miles away, mean so much to me, since I seem to have so little to gain or lose by its outcome?” Fred Hobson thus begins Off the Rim, his narrative of college basketball and society, of growing up and not growing up. He seeks the answer to this question by delving into the particulars of his own experience.
Growing up in a small town in the hills of North Carolina where basketball was king, he became a rabid UNC basketball fan (like many others) at the tender age of thirteen during the Tar Heels’ “magical” 32–0 national championship season in 1956–1957. He starred as a high school basketball player and lived a dream by “walking on” the highly successful 1961–1962 Carolina freshman team. That was also the year Dean Smith was elevated to head coach of the Heels. Hobson observed firsthand Coach Smith’s difficult early days before he became the winningest coach in college basketball.
Forced to find a substitute for his beloved sport after not making the varsity his sophomore year, Hobson turned to the romance of books, both reading and writing them. Changing his major to English, he discovered the joys of William Faulkner and Richard Wright, Robert Penn Warren, Flannery O'Connor, and H. L. Mencken, and made a career teaching American literature.
This is a book about basketball that is more than a book about basketball. It is, in the beginning, a depiction of a part of the South that departs from the usual idea of Dixie, a look into the culture, religion, and politics of the Carolina hills. It is a portrait of the people who made up the South, including the author’s parents, who both were and were not conventional southerners. Finally, in some respects, it is the story of a boyhood that never ends, relived each year during basketball season in the frantic, tortured life of a fan.
Although Hobson’s story is largely about the Tar Heels—and about other things related to growing up in the South of the 1950s—what he says about basketball, childhood, and adulthood also holds true for those who find themselves in emotional bondage to Hoosiers or Bulldogs or Ducks, to Wolverines, Gophers, Badgers, and various other species of Upper Midwestern low-lying ground fauna, to Blue Devils or Blue Demons, to Tigers, Wildcats, Cougars, and all other breeds of cat.
The Olympic Games are a phenomenon of unparalleled global proportions. This book examines the rich and complex involvement of Latin America and the Caribbean peoples with the Olympic Movement, serving as an effective medium to explore the making of this region. The nine essays here investigate the influence, struggles, and contributions of Latin American and Caribbean societies to the Olympic Movement. By delving into nationalist political movements, post-revolutionary diplomacy, decolonization struggles, gender and disability discourses, and more, they define how the nations of this region have shaped and been shaped by the Olympic Movement.
Already the world has seen the political, economic, and cultural significance of hosting the 2008 Olympics in Beijing—in policies instituted and altered, positions softened, projects undertaken. But will the Olympics make a lasting difference? This book approaches questions about the nature and future of China through the lens of sports—particularly as sports finds its utmost international expression in the Olympics.
Bert Bell, a native of Philadelphia, has been called the most powerful executive figure in the history of professional football. He was responsible for helping to transform the game from a circus sideshow into what has become the most popular spectator sport in America. In On Any Given Sunday, the first biography of this important sports figure, historian Robert Lyons recounts the remarkable story of how de Benneville “Bert” Bell rejected the gentility of a high society lifestyle in favor of the tougher gridiron, and rose to become the founder of the Philadelphia Eagles and Commissioner of the National Football League.
Bell, who arguably saved the league from bankruptcy by conceiving the idea for the annual player draft, later made the historic decision to introduce “sudden death” overtime—a move that propelled professional football into the national consciousness. He coined the phrase “on any given sunday” and negotiated the league’s first national TV contract. Lyons also describes in fascinating detail Bell’s relationships with leading figures ranging from such Philadelphia icons as Walter Annenberg and John B. Kelly to national celebrities and U.S. Presidents. He also provides insight into Bell’s colorful personal life—including his hell-raising early years and his secret marriage to Frances Upton, a golden name in show business.
On Any Given Sunday is being published on the 50th anniversary of Bell’s death.
The original essays in this comprehensive collection examine the lives and sports of famous and not-so-famous African American male and female athletes from the nineteenth century to today. Here are twenty insightful biographies that furnish perspectives on the changing status of these athletes and how these changes mirrored the transformation of sports, American society, and civil rights legislation. Some of the athletes discussed include Marshall Taylor (bicycling), William Henry Lewis (football), Jack Johnson, Satchel Paige, Jesse Owens, Joe Lewis, Alice Coachman (track and field), Althea Gibson (tennis), Wilma Rudolph, Bill Russell, Jim Brown, Arthur Ashe, Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, and Venus and Serena Williams.
Outside Shooter: A Memoir
Philip Raisor University of Missouri Press, 2003 Library of Congress GV884.R325A3 2003 | Dewey Decimal 796.323092
Philip Raisor was on the losing side in two of the most storied basketball games ever played. He started at guard for the Muncie Central Bearcats, who fell in the 1954 Indiana state final to tiny Milan, the David-over-Goliath event that inspired the movie Hoosiers. On a basketball scholarship to the University of Kansas, he watched his Wilt Chamberlain–led Jayhawks lose the 1957 NCAA championship in triple overtime to North Carolina. In Outside Shooter, Raisor recounts the hard knocks and hard-won triumphs of a basketball odyssey across 1950s America, from Indiana to Kansas to Louisiana, and from adolescence to adulthood.
This was an era in which a racially divided society was taking halting steps toward integration, and few places held more tension than the sports arena. Raisor saw firsthand the toll of racism in the inner rage and sorrow of Muncie’s star player, John Casterlow, whose life followed a trajectory from playing the legendary Oscar Robertson to a draw—almost—to death in the streets of Detroit at age twenty-three. Later, at Louisiana State University after having transferred from Kansas, Raisor, spurred by the memory of Casterlow, would join in hazardous early attempts to integrate the LSU campus. From Indiana to Louisiana, he sees the ordeal of racism reveal character—including his own—at depths beyond the illumination even of competitive sport.
Devoted though Raisor was to basketball, Outside Shooter captures the period of his life in which he gradually stopped defining himself in terms of the game. As the rise and fall of his fortunes on the basketball court become overshadowed by the shifting patterns of his larger life—the competing measures of acceptance and expectation from his family and companions; the courage and challenge offered by a young woman equally bent on accomplishment; his struggles with failure and doubt juxtaposed with his awakening intellect and conscience—he discovers the sense of purpose that will carry him beyond his playing days and into adulthood as a budding writer.
Owning a Piece of the Minors
Jerry Klinkowitz. Foreword by Mike Veeck Southern Illinois University Press, 1999 Library of Congress GV865.K56A3 1999 | Dewey Decimal 338.761796357092
Owning a Piece of the Minors is by and about a man who lived his dream and acquired a baseball team. When Jerry Klinkowitz joined the group that ran the Waterloo, Iowa, Diamonds in the 1970s, ownership of a minor league baseball franchise conferred little mystique. Neglected for a half century, minor league baseball was at best obscure. Yet in the purchase of fantasy, what difference if your desire is out of style?
Klinkowitz continued his work with the Diamonds through the 1980s and much of the 1990s. In Owning a Piece of the Minors, he maps out his personal journey through baseball and probes his fluctuating fortunes and those of his team as he evolves from a fan to a team executive and, most important, to a writer writing about baseball. This baseball story begins with a nine-year-old Klinkowitz who is elated when Milwaukee lures the Braves from Boston; this story of a love affair with baseball might have died—and in fact suffered a ten-year hiatus—when the apostate Braves fled to Atlanta in 1965.
Klinkowitz rediscovered the joy of being at the baseball park when, as a middle-aged professor, he took his own children to the Waterloo Diamonds games. Gradually his involvement with the Diamonds grew deeper until he owned the team. His immersion into team activities was complete, from shagging batting practice and working the beer bar to struggling with the Cleveland Indians and then the San Diego Padres as minor league affiliates to accommodate baseball's resurgence.
Klinkowitz writes of loss—first the Braves and later the Diamonds; of writing baseball fiction; of attending the 1982 World Series back in Milwaukee; of the great old ballparks around the country, including Wrigley, Fenway, and old Comiskey Park; of fictional and factual accounts of how the Diamonds franchise was lost; of friendships among season ticket holders in "Box 28"; and of Mildred Boyenga, the club president and Baseball Woman of the Year. A first-rate stylist, Klinkowitz shows the problems and perks and, most rewarding, the priceless relationships made possible in the world of baseball.