The article Italian Immigrants, Brazilian Football, and the Dilemma of National Identity by Gregg P. Bocketti discuss the different national and ethnic identities held by immigrants or children of immigrants in relation to the sport of football. This particular article opens with the 1934 world cup where Italy brought home the trophy this alone is quite interesting, but what is truly fascinating is the amount of Argentinian Italians that played for Italy. These five or so players were not originally from Italy being born and raised in the cities and countrysides of Argentina, this ultimately raises the question of what really defines your national identity, and in addition, how does this relate to sports? Though ethnicity is something one cannot change, one’s national identity can change, most Americans are the descendants of immigrants, so this is pretty familiar to us but the idea of reverting back to one’s country of origin to play a sport, or to identify more with that country is simply unheard of for me at least. Though this idea started to make sense to me once I contextualized it into terms I could understand, the example I took was from my own life. In North Carolina, many people have come from different states and regions of the United States, and though North Carolina’s football team is the Panthers, many “immigrants” will take on the team of their parents’ home states even if they were born a raised here in North Carolina. The same thing applies to these Italian players from Argentina though they were born and raised in a different country they identify with the Italian football team. The parallel between today and these Italians from South America is interesting to me is one of those people who moved from another state to down here in North Carolina though I was fifteen years old when we moved.  It almost is seen as a tradition to support the team of your ancestors even if you feel at home in your home country or state. You begin to identify more with the state that your team plays in more than the state you live in. In the end, I found this article to be enlightening and the parallels drawn made me relate more to the author of this peace.  

Within the United States, Americans tend to think Baseball is as American as apple pie but does one nation truly own this sport? Two articles explore these ideas The Pride of Havana A History of Cuban Baseball by Roberto Gonzlez Echevrria and Baseball, The Lost Cause, and the New South in Richmond , Virginia by Robert H. Gudmestad. Echerria states that kf one were to ask individuals who live throughout the Caribbean Islands, they would tell you the opposite, making the arguments that history shows that the game of Baseball is ingrained within Cuban, Hattian, and Puerto Rican culture. The citizens of these nations would even state that the sport goes back to before colonial times, with the Tainos people playing a game consider similar to todays baseball. Even within the United States Baseball means something different to different regions, an example being the baseball leagues of the late 1800s following the Civil War in Virginia. The Virginian baseball league of this time used the sport in order to keep alive the Lost Cause Myth of the Civil War, which in short states that the war was not about slavery, but about northern oppression of southern culture. This theme of racial tension is even found in Caribbean baseball and Cuban Africans and White Cubans found themselves rivaling each other, especially after the Spanish American War. Some would even immigrate to United States and enter into the nergo league of the MLB respectively. It is overwhelmingly clear that baseball has had a surreal effect on those in both countries.  

            Overall, I find the idea of Baseball making into all aspects of society interesting, Cuban Baseball means so much to the citizens of that nation, it’s more than just a pastime. Cuban’s see baseball as a sport that represents freedom from oppressors, since many of the heroes of early baseball fought for independence from Spain, and it also means to be oppressed, as seen by the Afro-Cubans who played during the late 1800s early 1900s. It is simply fascinating how baseball can wiggle its way through a nation’s history connecting so many major events without directly causing said events or making them worse or better. It is even sadder to see how Baseball can keep a racist narrative alive in society through the individuals who play the sport as seen in the Virginian Baseball Clubs. In the end, these two articles were Enlightening

            Political activism and sports share a rich history within the United States, figures such as Muhammad Ali have become household names in the classroom for both their involvement in politics and their athletic achievements. Ali has become something of a staple for those who wish to make a change through sports believing him to be an almost virtually beloved figure, but during his time he was far from that. Many figures of racial justice in the sports world received harsh backlash for their activism, and the article presented today explores those Themes. Where Cassius Clay Ends, Muhammad Ali Begins’: Sportspeople, Political Activism, and Methodology, by Stephen Townsend, Gary Osmand, and Murray G Phillips, Nike’s Big Gamble on Colin Kaepernick, by Micheal Bauman, and lastly Did the NBA strike change sports forever?, by Mike Bebernes, all discuss the ramification many athletes receive when they choose to dive into political activism, and the many similarities between our current age and the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s. In Townsend’s article he attempts to draw a connection between Muhammad Ali, and Colin Kaepernick while also documenting the journey Ali took in order to receive true respect concerning his name change, and more importantly receiving the respect he deserved as a human being. Ali journey follows many ups and downs, this is reflected in the reference of his former name by several publications. As time moves on Ali becomes more socially acceptable and his name is cemented as the great Muhammad Ali, the acceptance of his name also cements the righteousness of his beliefs and movement. Kaepernick on the other hand may have more of a struggle on his hand than Ali did. Generally speaking, Ali became had been ousted from Boxing and was able to make a triumphant return against Joe Frazier, at this point it seems unlikely the Kaepernick will receive the same return, as he is almost 33 years old nearing the end of his prime as a football player. In addition, in the ringer article by Bauman, they go over the multi-million-dollar deal with Nike Kaepernick, which can be seen as an almost sullying if his movement for more money. Ali faced the threat of imprisonment and lost most of his financial earning, while Kaepernick received a deal from one of the wealthiest athletic companies in the world. This is not to speak about Kaepernick’s messages or beliefs, for I believe that he genuinely believes in what he is fight for, I just pointing out how Kaepernick may stay controversial for longer than Ali during his Exodus from boxing. What can be seen from Kaepernick’s protest is the inspiration to other athletes he has been, as seen by the recent NBA strike, where he is directly referenced by Bebernes, Kaepernick may stay controversial, but the movement spawned by his example will be seen as righteous, and I believe ultimately will change the United States for the better.

 

The articles What it Was, Was Soccer, by Jesse Wood and Ken Ketchie , Former App state Coaches, Players Come to Terms With the Cutting of Their Programs, by Ethan Joyce, and A World Without Sports, by Lars Dzikus discuss the idea of how people adapt to the loss of sports in their lives. Joyce and Dzikus pieces discuss how COVID-19 has devastated the realm of sports. Joyce focuses mainly on the micro-level discussing how budgetary cuts have forced Appalachian State University to shut down several programs, while Dzikus discusses how major league sports have been postponed, and how the nation has handled similar situations in the past. Lastly Jesse Wood and Ken Ketchie discuss a different kind of loss, the loss of an important part of sports history. The 1970’s Appalachian State Men’s Soccer team was a powerhouse in the southern conference and nationally ranked within the top ten several times, yet surprisingly only those on the team and the coaches seem to remember how this came about. The common theme of loss connects all three articles and how certain segments of the population begin to feel ousted or unappreciated.

Woods, Ketchie, and Joyce’s articles highlight the idea that many players and coaches feel as though certain individual sports are deemed unimportant, or unneeded. This is mainly due to the fact that they do not bring the monetary gains that other sports do such as football. Appalachian State Men’s Soccer is a perfect example of this, even though they have a stunning history of being an incredible team, the team still finds themselves shelved in order to make way for more popular sports. This can, in many ways be related to Dzikus article where he discusses the loss of sport during times of great societal change and strife. Dzikus hits on the idea that sports to many American feels almost like religious experience, where people can feel like they are a part of a group. When sports are canceled many of us feel lost or less physically engaged in our lives, this same feeling is being felt by those who feel as though the history of their programs are being forgotten because they are not deemed as important. The soccer players who played in the 1970’s all the way to modern day may feel as though a part of their culture and a part of Appalachian’s history is gone due to coronavirus and the decision to let the program fade away because football is more economically favorable. This loss of history is saddening and makes one wonder why something is not done to rectify it.

Ultimately, the study of sports history is the study of the culture of many people’s personal lives. Sports history is an extremely important aspect of public history as well, the reason sports should be studied is that people are affected by these events more deeply on a day to day basis than events such as laws passing, tax policies, and even in some cases wars. These aspects of our history should not be forgotten even if they are not as profitable as other sports, and we should do everything in our power to make sure these programs stay afloat.

Hey guys, my name is Patrick Rafferty I’m a junior here and I’m majoring in History. I grew up on Long Island, New York, but moved to the greater Charlotte area when I was about 15 years old. I would say growing up I had a love-hate relationship with sports, this was mainly due to the fact that I was extremely bad at the sports I participated in. Ultimately though, I would learn to enjoy sports for their cultural importance and I’m now a huge fan of football and baseball (I root mostly for the Buffalo Bills and Yankees). In the end, I look forward to learning about sports in a more global viewpoint and to understand how that affected society.