Sports Biblio

The Imagination Of Sports In Books, History And Culture

Search results: "sports culture" (page 1 of 15)

Sports media’s anxieties about the culture of football

An unsurprising development has taken place following extensive media coverage in this decade about concerns in American professional football related to concussions, violence against women and the National Football League’s brazen management style. The umbrella phrase used far too casually is “culture of football.”

Concussion PBThe NFL, at least the product on the field, is more popular than ever. Television ratings continue to rise, the drama (if not always the quality) of the games is endlessly compelling and some NFL personalities are some of the most visible celebrities in our entertainment-besotted society.

NFL fans can’t get enough, even after continuous lectures by journalists about how “evil” is it to watch football. Instead of indulging in a guilty pleasure, there must be be moral imperative to change our ways. Continue reading

Rewind: Sports Biblio’s 2015 posts on sports, culture and art

Sports and American ArtIn this continuation of some of my favorite posts from 2015, I am focusing on what I’ve written that blends sports and the arts, as well as culture.

By culture I mean the generic, lowercase “c” use of the word, and to address its more frequently used reference in media and by some sports scholars in critiques of sports and race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, etc.

Among my aims with Sports Biblio is to examine the sweet spot between sports and the arts, so my idea of culture extends along those lines: Visual art (painting, sculpture, video, film), music, literature and so on.

Continue reading

Women writers on sports, masculinity and culture

“Boxing is for men, and it is about men and it is men. A celebration of the lost religion of masculinity all the more trenchant for being lost.”

Since novelist Joyce Carol Oates wrote those words nearly three decades ago, in her classic meditation “On Boxing,” many women have stepped into the ring to compete, and not just in obscurity.

Women’s boxing is now on the Olympic program, and the most famous figure in Mixed Martial Arts is Ronda Rousey, who enjoys popularity with male and female fans.

A female boxer who put on the gloves for more complicated reasons once told me it was a response not only to creeping middle age, but to resolve some primeval psychological battles raging inside. Continue reading

Culture, politics and sports journalism

The postmodern brand of sports media professional influenced by the social upheavals of the 1960s may have been best personified by Howard Cosell.

When he wasn’t chuckling at Don Meredith’s singing near the end of NFL Monday Night Football games, Cosell was thriving on the cultural cutting edge of sports and society — what some call  “intersectionality” today.

I Never Played the GameFrom his high-profile friendship with Muhammad Ali to his sharply-worded, verbose commentaries, Cosell — who died in 1995 — embodied the rage of the age.

In his classic book “The Joy of Sports,” philosopher and theologian Michael Novak credits Cosell with finding “a new constituency for sports” of white-collar professionals, executives and intellectuals, and feeding them a heavy diet of sociology and cultural criticism.

But Novak also noticed a stark, troubling dichotomy in Cosell’s conversations about sports:

“One misses in him the pleasures of connoisseurship. Above all, one finds in his commentary too much flair for the personal grudges, anxieties, career turning points, etc., of the individual players and coaches.”

These are now the staples of too much of what’s called sports journalism today, but is really something very dubious. Continue reading

The Roots of a Gymnastics Scandal: Sports Biblio Digest 1.21.18

The gymnastics scandal that has engulfed some of America’s most recent Olympic champions, a legendary coach’s training facility and the sport’s governing body in the United States has been hiding in plain sight for years.

Little Girls in Pretty Boxes, Joan Ryan, gymnastics scandalIt’s been more than 20 years since journalist and author Joan Ryan published an expose of the cloistered, often punishing cultures of American gymnastics and figure skating, where very young girls were coaxed, prodded and often abused by mostly male coaches to reach the pinnacle of Olympic success.

In 1995, Ryan’s book “Pretty Girls in Little Boxes” did kick up a storm of controversy, and rankled the establishments of those sports. But troubling developments inside the elite gymnastics world were still to come. Continue reading

Remembering Keith Jackson and Dick Enberg: Sports Biblio Digest 1.14.18

On either side of the recent Rose Bowl, two voices synonymous with the classic New Year’s Day college football game went silent. Keith Jackson and Dick Enberg called so much more than what Jackson had famously dubbed “The Granddaddy of Them All,” but that’s the event that first came to my mind when I first heard about their deaths.

Dick Enberg, Oh My!Enberg, who called basketball, pro football, baseball, Wimbledon and much more, was 82 on Dec. 21 when he died from a heart attack.

He had retired from announcing San Diego Padres games in 2016, and just a few weeks before his death, served on a panel discussion about the 1968 UCLA-Houston college basketball game at the Astrodome, which was his breakthrough on the national scene. Continue reading

Winter 2018 Sports Books Preview: Sports Biblio Digest 1.7.18

Just a short drumroll for this: Sports Biblio’s Winter 2018 Sports Books Preview, a selection of new releases from January through March of this year.

A Season in the Sun, Mickey MantleI’ll have more frequent updates on sports books, new and otherwise, on the blog, which I’m revamping for more frequent posting very shortly, including a midweek post on new and noteworthy titles, paperback and e-book releases and more.

I’ll also have weekly posts on sports journalism and media, sports history, sports art and culture (including photography, films, music and collectibles), as well as a weekend review. This post, which will run on Saturdays, will include book reviews and essays on the broader topics examined on Sports Biblio. Continue reading

Sports Biblio’s year in sports reading, 2017

Enjoy some of the best newspaper, magazine and online reads (as well as some podcasts and a few videos) collected by Sports Biblio for the year 2017 and that we included in our newsletter, the Sports Biblio Digest (you can subscribe here if you haven’t already, and browse through the archives).

Pull Up A Chair, Vin ScullyThese 100 or so pieces are rounded up by topic and more or less appear in chronological order. They’re only a small sampling of what I would have liked to have included here.

Thanks to many of you who have passed along links along the way, and who continue to read and subscribe and make Sports Biblio better. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year! Continue reading

Notable Sports Books of 2017: Sports Biblio Digest 12.17.17

The task of whittling down a rather long list to compile Sports Biblio’s Notable Sports Books of 2017 was more involved than I expected it to be.

The Pride of the Yankees, Richard Sandomir, Notable Sports Books of 2017Why I’m surprised by this I don’t know, for this has been the case since I started this blog in 2015. But to put some thought and consideration into book projects that are years in the making requires more than just a few minutes, or even a few hours.

To settle on 15 books, and to come up with a couple of sentences to describe them, was even more challenging.

Continue reading

The Sports Photography of Walter Iooss Jr.: Sports Biblio Digest 12.10.17

There aren’t many more tributes that can be applied to the stunning sports photography career of Sports Illustrated legend Walter Iooss Jr. beyond the fact that his work continues to be examined and displayed, even away from the splashy elite gallery world, with plenty of appropriate acclaim.

Classic Baseball, Walter Iooss Jr.A small exhibit of his baseball photography continues through Jan. 7 at the Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University in Atlanta, and as critic Jon Ciliberto of ArtsATL writes, there are still many new ways of seeing Iooss’ subjects through fresh, breathtaking new lenses.

The Emory exhibit, entitled “And Something Magical Happened,” is brilliant for its simple framing of everyday baseball games, whether it’s Lou Brock on the run or stickball boys in the streets of Havana.  Continue reading

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