The research about the paying college athletes debate was very interesting to me. The initial issue was finding the real history behind the debate. To my surprise the issue of paying college athletes began very early in the 1900’s. The Ivy League football games from 1900 to 1905 reported over 20 deaths. Players life’s being put in danger caused the beginning of a central governing above college athletes. Teddy Roosevelt had a son at Harvard who played in a brutal game against Yale in which he broke his nose. At the end of the season many programs dropped football though Roosevelt stepping in to help reform the game is the beginning of a higher power overlooking the game of armature athletes. Although these brutal injuries began the debate on paying some of these athletes in compensation. For the Athletes the NCAA has fought hard to make sure athletes are not paid in any way. In the 1950’s there began debates over whether students can be able to use scholarship money for room and board. And the term “Student Athlete” was coined to help the NCAA fight against paying workers compensation for injured players. Though injured players being the major source for the “pay players” debate reached its peak after the biggest case yet in 1974. Kent Waldrep was a running back for TCU and was playing against Alabama at Legion Field. Kent took a brutal hit and was carried off the field being that he had become paralyzed from the waist down. TCU failed to cover Kent’s medical bills after he left the University. Waldrep took the university to court many times and failed to gain substantial benefits. Kent tried to claim he was an employee of the school in order to gain compensation in 2000 Texas Supreme court ruled Waldrep was not an employee.

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Brenda Elsey and Joshua Nadel’s Futbolera: A History of Women and Sports in Latin America

Futbolera: A History of Women and Sports in Latin America has the tough task of defining and elaborating on the extreme difficulties of being a woman athlete in South America. Though this is not just true of South America and is more of an issue all over the world, which is really the point of the book. The beginning of the book talks about the history and struggles of women across the sport. Much of these struggles deal with the pre-19th-century view on women. Towards the beginning of “Futbolera: A History of Women and Sports in Latin America” is all about how hard it was to be a woman during a time when women were seen as not only inferior on the field but inferior off the field. After the beginning of the text, the author begins to go into a deeper subject of race and sex. The struggle of women who saw it harder during this period than even today’s class of female athletes. This subject of race and women starts out with the idea of classicism which is of course talking about the upper, middle, and lower class. How the authors pivot to this is by giving the example of the upper-class women who played tennis and swim. They have to have their word too, of course, they are of the utmost importance but women are still fighting too. Although biological destiny doesn’t play the role it did in the 1950’s women are still having the trouble of being treated as equals to men. The history of women’s sports all across the world can mostly be summed up as overcoming the power of men, usually white men. Though the Authors of the text do a very good job of not just describing the movements toward equal justice but also why it is important. The Authors are able to do this by providing a historical perspective and a cultural perspective. The example given about the rise of sports and physical education in Latin America in the 1800s and men deeming tennis track and swim for women is a prime example. This is used as a base to show the first signs of real discrimination and this is a successful tactic by the authors. Stopping the development of women’s muscles is another case in the text that really stood out to me. When the men of this time period were promoting dance and other such activities to keep women from growing stronger is a great example of extreme sexism. Football is of course the main topic of the text and the role it plays is of many different underlying themes. The class system and sexism are both topics that come out of the exclusion of women in Football. When we reach the 1900s and the Sport of Football is seen as brash and potentially too violent for women then the text unfolds into a more modern feel. Women being seen as lesser athletes and humans is a subject of debate with many different subjects in the world. Though here the authors are able to focus on the issue and hand while letting the readers see the parallel with other issues around the world. Towards the end of “Futbolera: A history of Sport in Latin America” the parallels of the modern issue with women and sports are seen very clearly. The issues of women’s pay and the coverage of women’s sports play a major role in today’s fight for equality. Which is a sad negative that this fight continues 200 years later. Though major progress has been made, women play and compete globally and draw major crowds for big-time games. Youth teams in Latin America are available and the sport gains popularity every day within large and small communities. The authors tap into this sign of hope by outlining the progress made. Though you can take this with a grain of salt because they also focus on what needs to be done even with the progress. Overall the text is well done and provides a historical and social outline of the goals and accomplishments of women athletes across Latin America.

This week the reading was about the “Fighting Cholitas” in chapter two of Sports Culture in Latin American History. Personally I do not consider myself an expert on the subject of wrestling, I had a couple of buddies from high school who were pretty good but it all looked like intense cuddling to me. Though this story tells a very interesting and cinematic type story. The underdog in sports is a theme used many times in film and also takes place as a real world sports phenomenon. Usually in the real world the underdog does not prevail, although this sometimes happens it is fairly rare. In Bolivia Soccer is the most popular sport and dominates the culture. Though in this story we find a group of women who are interested in the sport of wrestling. These women who find this interest are not just trying to express a love of wrestling but also represent pride of an ingenious group that in this era had been abused. During the wrestling events the women would come out wearing the garb of the ingenious people. This all was a sign of respect and a call to justice for these people. This also was a way to promote women’s strength, a theme that is often overlooked even today. This promotion of women’s strength along with indigenous pride gave way to a new Bolivia that fights hard for identity of its people, and straying away from the European elitist way.

Readings:

“A Black School is Not Supposed to Win” and “Cuban Babe (Ruth)”

This week’s readings were on race as it pertains to the success stories of athletic teams that dealt with white supremacy. Both of these stories had many underlying issues of the times when it took place, though some of these key issues still remain today. The first article is about the 1971 Howard University men’s soccer team. Howard is a historic black college that usually wouldn’t be the first pick if you were betting on a team to win a NCAA championship in soccer. Though the team had success before the 1971 season the championship trophy was usually in the hands of a mostly white team. The team’s success gained some notice though and even grew some wild suspicions from the NCAA. This suspicion usually comes in the history of the College sports when a team that usually doesn’t win, or produce top quality talent comes out of nowhere to win the big games. At times the NCAA has been right and found a serious allegation against these teams though in the case of Howard they were completely wrong. After the 71 title Howard was stripped of the championship and the reason was obviously due to the race of the players. The author uses this case in retrospective to show the denial of a great team due to white power keeping down the Howard team. 

The second article looks into cuban women and Baseball. The sport of Baseball is America’s game and being America’s game involves the same issues America holds. Cuban immigrants that looked the part were able to play in the white man’s game but for other women it was tough to find a game. Although some women saw extreme success we may never know some of the talent we missed due to the exceptions held to women that didn’t fit the American standard for the game. Though brave efforts and the ability to stand up for what is right has paved the way for our generation to be able to participate with any group.

In the week 8 reading we find out alot about the different populations of race in South America. Brazil and Argentina are home to many Italian and Jewish men and women. The 1934 Italian national team won the World Cup and their celebration across the globe shows the movement of these people across the world. Though this celebration did not come without some harsh truths. Jewish immigrants saw very tough times in South America, the big issue for these men and women was finding a national identity. When reading deeper into the section you find out about the  Club Atletico Atlanta team. The team was founded in the early 1900’s and Jews began to emigrate to Villa Crespo in the 1920’s. Similar to the Jewish fans in South America the Atlanta club dealt with anti semitic comments from opposing teams and fans. By the 1950’s they became known as the “Jewish” team which was seen more as a dis to the club. Though this team would become a sign of pride for Jews in South America being seen as the Jewish team was exciting for them. The clubs lack of success in the 50’s and 60’s prevented them from making any real noise but the fan group grew larger through time. This Atlanta club is a great way of giving Argentine Jews a way to find a cultural pride away from home. Dealing with opposing fans and anti-semitic tropes has only brought the fanbase closer together. This team reminds me of the Texas Western fanbase in the United States. Texas Western was an all black team in 1966 who took on the Kentucky Wildcats who were an all white team. During the time of Jim Crow this game had any implications along with it and Texas Western had to not only beat Kentucky but also be a sign of hope for African Americans across the country. The Jewish community in South America was not only taking on South American clubs but also the fight for national identity.

Reading:

“From la bomba to beisbol: sport and the Americanisation of Puerto Rico, 1898–1950 Roberta J. Park”

In 1898 when American troops arrived in Puerto Rico the idea of sport was mostly about hunting or fishing. Survival type sports were a key aspect of life in Puerto Rico. The dancing culture is also a mainstream entertainment in the culture. Though the game of Baseball would find its way to the island in 1896 where the first game was played by the sons of a Spanish Army Officer. Through American influence, the game grew fast with University teams playing in 1902 between other teams in Puerto Rico. In the 1920s teams were bought from Cuba, The Dominican Republic, Mexico, and Venezuela. The Cincinnati Reds even came to train in the Winter of 1936. As we see the growth of the game of Baseball on the island we now have to look at how it changed the culture. In 1913 a change was made to add physical education to the program of studies at schools. American sports were being played and taught in these schools with the growth of basketball, baseball, volleyball, and tennis. The culture began to shift into a more modern form of sports. The games popular here became popular there. A good example of this growth and popularity is when the United States entered World War Two a Caribbean Defense Command was set up in Puerto Rico. During all the craziness of the war, there were still Baseball fields on base and Basketball courts on base. This was due to these sports being so well established in Puerto Rican culture already. The sports found a way to grow so rapidly the island would later in the more modern era produce some of the greatest Baseball talents of all time. The expansion of sports in the culture for Puerto Rico helped modernize its people. They began to compete on a global scale and have continued to do so today.

When Nike took the risk on Colin Kaepernick they made an effort to start a more political sports company. Michael Baumann highlights this in his article “Nike’s Big Gamble on Colin Kaepernick.” In the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft the San Francisco 49ers took a dual threat Quarterback out of Nevada named Colin Kaepernick. He and starter Alex Smith had a back and forth Quarterback race that took the 49ers to a Super Bowl. Though he performed under average on the field Kaepernick made a stand by sitting in 2016. At the time America had a Black President in office and still had troubles with the underlying issue of American racism. Riots broke out under the tension of another police shooting of an unarmed Black citizen. Kaepernick sat during a preseason National Anthem against the Packers but had little notice to the protest. It wasn’t until he talked to a former US Military member about the best way to use his platform respectfully when his view broke loose. Kneeling for Colin during the National Anthem was his way of protesting Police Brutality of African Americans in the US. Though for many groups this was seen as disrespectful of the American military. After this many others joined his efforts but the backlash was too much and Colin wouldn’t be able to secure another NFL job after that season. With all this controversy still two years later Nike introduced Kaepernick as the face of its 30th anniversary “Just do it” campaign. Per usual this would take some backlash as he was still seen as a controversial figure. The campaign stated the line “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” Kaepernick was the perfect person to put behind this ad being that he did exactly this. He believed in dismantling the White supremacist culture even if him speaking out about this would cost him a job. Today Colin Kaepernick has partnered with Disney Plus, and the creator of the 1619 project Nichole Hannah Jones. They are a team with the idea to create content that reflects the views of the Black Lives Matter movement. For this type of support to come within four years is a real positive in such a tough and dark story. Though for Colin we don’t know if he plans to take the field again maybe he has found his calling in the world of activism. 

When reading the “When what it was, was Soccer” article you find yourself in a different era of App State athletics. The article starts out with a simple interview turning into an education on 1970’s App State soccer. Today and for the most part App State has been known as a football school. Three AA national titles, the biggest upset in college football history and Sun Belt titles to go along with the list. For all intensive purposes the Mountaineers of Boone are a football school. Though when reading this article you find it wasn’t always like that. Today we have Ted Mackorell for the soccer fields at App, but in the “Golden Era” of Mountain soccer Kidd Brewer Stadium would be filled to the max for soccer games. The Mountaineers were nationally ranked as high as number 7 in the country. They beat the UNC Tar Heels on the way to a near undefeated season. The hard working mountaineers were known for being in great shape. The boys were able to outlast most opponents and win big time games. The football team at App State was still able to consume the schools attention through the years and really did so in the mid 2000’s. When the team moved games to Ted Mackorell, students were less willing to attend games. Parking became tougher for players and coaches. The team support system began to fall apart due to the success and popularity of Football on campus. Today in Fall of 2020 our App State soccer team has been totally wiped out due to the challenges of the Covid-19 virus. For these boys soccer is more than just a game, it was their life. The hard work that they put in to get to this point was rigorous and got them here to the Mountains of Boone NC. Now as a pandemic hits the United States hard their soccer program has been cut and their future in disarray. Did App State miss out on a gold mine when the soccer program lost its feet? Maybe it did, maybe the lack of land ability to build a proper soccer complex on campus has destroyed any chance of a future for soccer in Boone. After this virus begins to slow, the attendance and funding rises for the Mountaineers maybe App State soccer can return to Boone.

My name is Riley Vanstaalduinen I am from Bath North Carolina. I am a Junior at Appalachian State and my major is Public Relations. My favorites sports are Football, Basketball and Golf. Though sports in general play a huge role in my life, not just as something to watch but an emotional tie to teams. I transferred from the University of Alabama to App State due to Finacial situations. The new atmosphere has been mostly positive. I look foreword to learning more about other cultures and sports among them.