Final Exam

The West Indies topic that I chose linked up with the topics that we talked about this semester. I think the topic that most matched up with the topic I decided to talk about is in regard to race and racial identity. The West Indies Cricket team always had the burden of being the team that carried Black Pride along with Caribbean Pride as a part of their heritage and history. The Caribbean is a collection of small islands that for their modern history have almost always been controlled by a foreign power and mostly by England. Utilizing the game of Cricket, created by the British, was a way for their colonies to “get even” with them, by defeating them on the pitch and without war. The West Indies teams took great pride in this because often, the British liked to portray a superiority complex when it came to the game of Cricket. Being defeated by a colony empowered those in the colony, while striking a blow against England’s seeming superiority of their empire.

I think one article that comes to mind when I think of the British superiority complex in Cricket was the article about an American weightlifter that had toured around the world. Though not from England, the article made America look pompous and arrogant to the rest of the world as opposed to dominant and powerful. The same example could be explained with Cricket.

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This article talks about how San Diego has adopted Club Tijuana as their own team, and how in past people would be very hesitant to jump the border to go to Tijuana, because it had a questionable reputation, but thanks to San Diego not having an MLS club, and Club Tijuana they now very actively cross the border to support Xolos, a Liga MX team. The success of the team is very impressive, the only started the team back in 2007 and within 4 years they were able to make it to the top flight. And within their third year they were able to win the title. A truly remarkable success story, the only other story I can think of is the story of RB Leipzig in Germany and Red Bull Salzburg in Austria. Back to the article, it mentions that about 20% of the people that go to the Estadio Caliente are Americans. A fan mentioned that they prefer going to Xolos games instead of going to Dodgers and Raiders games because, 1: they felt more safer, and 2: the game wasn’t nearly as “boring”, meaning that there is much more of a fan culture at the Club Tijuana games then the Raiders and Dodgers games. And this article also mentions that even though San Diego and Tijuana are vastly different cities, Tijuana has reached out to a San Diego fanbase that is desperate for a good stable franchise. Going as far as making a English website and english twitter account for fans, and they are also setting up academy teams all across Southern California. This article mentions since Tijuana is so cutoff from the rest of Mexico and doesn’t appeal to really any fans other then local ones in Baja, that they have to basically rely on their American fans.

In conclusion, I think that San Diego rely on Tijuana because, it is a stable club that is competitive and won’t move locations, meanwhile Tijuana relies on San Diego and other Americans because, other than local support Tijuana doesn’t really have any fans. Basically, they both need each other.

Futbolera Review

The book, Futbolera,  written by Brenda Elsey and Joshua Nadel, takes a deep dive into the world of women’s football/soccer and women’s sports in general throughout Latin America during the late 19th Century, the 20th Century and beyond. The information detailed by the book is intriguing and unique, as it demonstrates a multifaceted look into how different Latin American countries and regions handled women’s soccer and sports, comparing the various countries and regions, demonstrating similarities and differences between all.  Utilizing historical documents, print media, as well as written observations by persons during the times covered, Futbolera gives an objective look at the evolution of the sports of women throughout the Latin American region, displaying the highs, the lows, and the thoughts of those who witnessed.  Though, one commonplace observation noted with women’s soccer, no matter what the country was, there appeared to be represented a pushback from one group in the country to oppose the growth of women’s soccer/sports in their country. Typically, for most countries that group consisted of conservative males that did not want to empower women for different reasons.

 The first chapter of Futbolera focused on Argentina and Chile’s development of women’s soccer/football as well as female exercise activity. Argentina actually was one of the countries in the region that pushed for women’s physical education as early as the 1800’s. Though this received pushback from people that thought that women should be “soft and delicate;” in their appearance.  Incidentally, The Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) was a major force in women’s sports in Latin America through the group’s encouragement of participation of women in the early 1900’s.  And even though the group received backlash for their stance, they continued to promote it.  Instead of football though, the YMCA focused on sports like Swimming and Basketball while ignoring football.

               As for the country Chile on the other hand, though there were some similarities with Argentina’s evolution, the differences involved the  hyper masculinity  that was seemingly much more abrasive in Chile then it was in Argentina.  And as a result women’s football and women’s sports in Chile lagged behind the men’s significantly.

               The authors of the book focused on telling the distinct differences between Chile and Argentina’s stance to women’s football. Argentina, thanks to the influence of European culture and ideals was a bit more open to women’s sport and in more specifically women’s football than Chile. Though, even in Argentina, they pushed more for other sports than for women’s football.  The same is the case in Chile thanks to a strong hint of masculinity depicted in the writings and observations of the times.  The book chronicles those events, reviewing  the challenges that female footballers faced from masculine ideals, put forth by leaders of their respected countries.  Actions such as sabotage by male officials, legal prohibition, opposition from their families that fought against the idea of football for women were noted.

Other focus on the book highlights Brazil who based on the authors’ insights, probably had the most pushback of any country mentioned in the book.  Brazil outright banned women’s football in 1941, which effectively should have closed the door on women’s sports.  Yet even despite the eventual ban, Brazilian women’s football had quite a bit of popularity when it was allowed, that would eventually cause the ban to be lifted with women’s football even celebrated by the country in many ways today.  The largest hurdle for women playing sports in Brazil were due to conservatives in the country who pushed very harshly against it, with the masculinity of identity ruling supreme to what was a patriarchal society.  Brazil struggled with this until the 80’s.  The chapter documents the various aspects of women with sports through documents, articles and a celebration of female “fans” of football over actual play in many publications.   Through perseverance however, the ban would be lifted and today, women’s football in Brazil is even celebrated a source of pride for the country.

In Mexico and Central America, the governments controlled women’s sports way more than in South America.   While much of Argentina and Chile’s focus on women’s sports was mainly individualist and bureaucratic, Mexico modeled itself with more open ideals with the changing times of the 20th Century.  The Mexican government pushed for female education in sports and physical education. Though there still were efforts to discourage female sports in Mexico, there were successes as depicted in historical articles of the time.  Costa Rica as a country was initially slow on their growth of women and sports, but when they began to allow women participate, they allowed women to participate in sports more then arguably any other Latin American country presented in the book.  Costa Rica is a country that recognized women athletes for their skill over their beauty, unlike some others. Though the government often had forces that discouraged women’s sports, a stable platform was established.  And as  for El Salvador, it was noted in the book was similar to Costa Rica’s with noted ideals based often time on Europe’s.

An interesting aspect of the book, depicted the success, and failure of the Mexican Women’s League  that exploded in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s and had a competitive league that was seemingly popular through the active grassroots connections of its participants and supporters, noted in the establishment of regional based teams and well documented news stories.  The Mexico chapter showed that success was achieved. though only a short-lived success due to problems with money and general push back.

In conclusion,  Futbolera written by Brenda Elsey and Joshua Nadel, objectively document women’s sports, and more specifically women’s football/soccer through history to show how despite of problems, growth has been achieved significantly to the present day, having pushed through many of the elements that was thrown against it due to attitudes, preconceived standards, and even government regulation.  Through it all, women’s football is surviving and thriving somewhat, although there still remains many challenges to include less coverage, hyper masculine pushback or lack of investment opportunity.

Appalachian State

Evan Anders

Now, I found this chapter quite interesting. I myself watch professional wrestling (WWE, AEW, etc.) and the story of Cholitas in Bolivia was quite an compelling story. The Cholitas use wrestling as a way to promote Indigenous pride in a country in Bolivia that until recently have been mistreated and misrepresented. The Cholitas come out wearing traditional indigenous garb and even wrestle in this clothing as a way to promote strong indigenous and even more specifically Indigenous women strength. It is noted that Evo Morales gaining power in Bolivia was a turning point in the history of Bolivia and now Bolivia is fighting more for indigenous and identity, while in the past Bolivia was ran from a European elite. And Cholitas is one way of showing Indigenous identity and power. I also found it quite interesting that the Cholitas style of fighting is a mixture of No-Holds Barred and Lucha Libre borrowed from Mexico.

Okay, so this week I read about Atlanta the Argentine club and it’s Jewish identity. I find it interesting because, I did not know this but apparently in most of South America there are Anti-Semitic views. This chapter talks about how Argentine Jews challenged their stereotypes and engaged quite frequently in Sports in Argentina. This article goes on to tell about anti-Semitism that is common in both Europe and South American football. And they also used examples of vile chants by racist rival fans such as a Hitler chant and a Saddam Hussein chant which they said that chant was most popular when Saddam was still alive. It also goes on to mention how Chacarita has many Jewish fans that actually joins in the anti-Semitic chants against Atlanta.

Early Baseball

In “The Pride of Havana: A History of Cuban Baseball” Roberto Echevarria talks about the impact of baseball in Cuba. He mentions how similar the rise of baseball was in Cuba compared to the rise of Baseball in the United states of America. It always seems no matter where baseball lands, baseball has the whole “National pastime” gimmick and this certainly was no different in Cuba. In Cuba that was a sport similar to baseball there so them adapting to baseball isn’t that much of a stretch though, this sport is more closer linked to tennis than to Baseball. Also, he mentioned that Baseball was able to connect all Cubans together no matter what social/political unrest was happening in Cuba.

Week 6 Early Soccer

I found the article about the Bethlehem Steel a fascinating one, A pastor for a Presbyterian church in a city just outside of Philadelphia and really had no connection to the sport at all began to dig up stuff about Bethlehem’s storied past. And he didn’t really intend to dig up all this about Bethlehem he was just looking at his Great Uncle who apparently was one of the first inductees, into the National Soccer Hall of Fame. According to Morrison he found out they were originally called Bethlehem Football Club changed their name to Bethlehem Steel after one of the biggest Steel and shipbuilders took over the club. And this company did many big projects such as build the Empire State Building, Chrysler Building, Golden Gate Bridge and the Hoover Dam. And since this company employed many immigrants, the team employed a lot of immigrants as well, mainly Anglo-Saxons, recruited from the UK by the club to play here. Morrison’s uncles came from Scotland. Bethlehem Steel was one of the first American clubs to sign major foreigner players way before the likes of the New Cosmos signed Pele or the Galaxy signed David Beckham. Morrison dug up that Bethlehem is by far the most dominant club in American history. They won 5 US Open cups, and they also won 10 championships in the years between 1912-1927. And 11 players from this club are in the Hall of Fame, but the league collapsed thanks to the “Soccer war” and the dreaded financial problems.

And the article goes on to tell how him becoming interested into his family made him basically a de facto Soccer Historian and when Lionel Messi broke the goal record of an Bethlehem Steel Star player by the name of Archie Stark and how European journalist flocked over to ask Morrison about how he felt about it. It is an amazing story that shows how much sports can intertwine into society and personally affect people you wouldn’t expect to care about the sport.

This talked about the YMCA’s role in Puerto Rico, Imperial America’s rule over Puerto Rico and also what role Sports played in Puerto Rico’s “Americanization.”

Luther H. Gulik who was a prominent member of the international leadership of YMCA. YMCA stands for Young Men’s Christian Association. Gulik pushed for having the triangle as the YMCA’s symbol. He saw the Triangle as a symbol intertwined with Christianity which would help spread the worldwide missionary movement. And Gulik sought out places like Puerto Rico, Cuba and the Philippines as places that he wanted to convert to his ideals of Christianity. One of the other reasons he used YMCA is that his interpretation was to have physical strength. And after defeating the Spanish they wanted to wipe away colonial Spanish ideals that they saw as barbaric and backwards and Americanize these places. His main focus though was Puerto Rico, and he used sports as a main way to help Americanize the Puerto Ricans and also the Puerto Ricans who had to suffer under a brutal Spanish colonial rule were more than welcome to welcoming the American’s Imperial rule and Puerto Ricans already knew of sport and enjoyed it so that is another reason they welcomed it.

Covid-19 has changed our world in more than one way, and sports is no different. Covid-19 has made us have to think of new ways to do our sports. And now comes the issue of College Sports during the pandemic. College Football and Basketball is such a money maker for many universities, so they of course want to play but, why risk and exploit athletes health for something that may change their life or even take their life when they can’t even get paid for it? It certainly brings up quite a problem and it also brings up the problems that are now quite obvious in Collegiate sports. How or will the NCAA address this? Only time will tell, but I think the pandemic has exposed more than ever how exploitative and corrupt collegiate sports can be.