Many sports magazines promise to offer a real, gritty, authentic look at games and recreational endeavors that go deep into what the athletic experience has to offer. Victory Journal truly delivers on that promise.
In the latest episode of the Sports Biblio Podcast, I explore this sports-and-art magazine that debuted in 2010. When I first noticed it at my local Barnes & Noble, I could tell right away that it stood out from the standard coffee table fare. Once you look through the lushly photographed pages, it’s clear that this isn’t usual magazine eye candy. Continue reading
When it comes to the so-called “intersection” of sports and politics, essayist and author Pamela Haag knows where she stands along this increasingly blurry divide.
Americans, she wrote in 2012, should pay more attention to sports than to presidential politics. Sports, she claims, better reflect the values we used to believe we could find in campaigns.
If she watched enought highlights on ESPN “SportsCenter” or listened to enough critics of the college football bowl system, she might amend her remarks: Continue reading
During his long and distinguished career, realist artist Edward Hopper expertly chronicled the dark, isolated psyche of 20th century American life.
“Ground Swell,” by Edward Hopper, 1939 (National Gallery of Art)
Even the paintings that demonstrate his mastery of color and light—especially those stemming from his summer visits to the New England shore—reflect spare and lean vistas and landscapes, and the uncertainties and anxieties of everyday people.
The few sports-related activities Hopper depicted in his mature works also contain these themes, although in some cases they are drawn more subtly. Continue reading
One of the best vacations I ever took was quite a few years ago, in Colorado, where I had done things I rarely ever did and in some cases haven’t done since. More than recreation beckoned, and it was glorious.
The peaceful waters of Sope Creek, close to where Sherman’s army crossed the Chattahoochee River into Atlanta. (Wendy Parker)
A friend had a time share in Breckenridge, and for a week I filled my days with kayaking and canoeing, some hiking and taking the ski lift to enjoy the magnificent view.
There were summer youth symphony concerts, fine little shops and restaurants in the heart of town and a restful vista from the deck of the house where I stayed, complete with barbecue grill and hot tub. Continue reading
My stepfather had passed through Valdosta, Ga., on his way back to Atlanta when the news came over his car radio that Dale Earnhardt had died.
An avid NASCAR fan, my stepfather had seen the 2001 Daytona 500 in person, watching the legendary driver’s car collide along the back straightaway with Ken Schrader’s car in the final lap, with both vehicles sliding onto the infield in a smoking heap.
Schrader got out of his car under his own power, but Earnhardt did not. Even today, it’s still hard to fathom the impact the tragedy has had on NASCAR, and its legions of fans. Continue reading
Contemporary sports superstars are hardly alone in having been caught in the grasp of social media mobs who scrutinize, judge and presume guilty with the ridiculous ease and light-speed that digital technology and gadgets provide.
The regrettable saga stemming from the Ray Rice case engulfed the top rung of NFL leadership, the ownership of the Baltimore Ravens and a powerful sport seemingly operating with oblivion in a moral vacuum that is turning off many fans.
Whether enough people will turn away for good is doubtful, but the lasting impact of the league’s inaction over Rice’s brutal, videotaped episode of beating his now-wife Janay Rice has been devastating, and not just as far as the former Ravens running back is concerned. Continue reading
The psychology of sports fans is coming in for more scientific scrutiny in the age of quantification and social media.
Academics, clinical psychologists and other related professionals are conducting studies, poring over blog posts, Facebook updates and database spreadsheets and employing other contemporary tools to measure how, and why, sports fans obsess over their teams the way they do.
A pre-Internet fan memoir is included in this research vault, and it is often cited as a masterwork of the psychology of sports fans, even though some publishers doubted it would sell. Continue reading