In these articles, “On Searching for the Latin American Sportswomen and Finding an Argentine Sports Historian” and “When I Fell in Love with Sports History“, talks about how two historians, Patricia Anderson and Louis Moore fell in love with the world of sports. Both having to start on college research papers like we all have to do and would eventually help shape their lives. The one common theme that kept coming up from the two articles is that sports is for everyone, no matter what race, gender, nationality, etc. No matter what team or country a person cheers for, we have come together time and time again to learn about and celebrate the sports we love, even if we have never played a sport. Sports itself has been misrepresented in many history departments around the world and it has caused both Moore, Anderson, and many others to find their own tools to bring sports to the historical forefront. As something that has unified us for generations, why hasn’t it been researched like many other disciplines of history? Both Moore and Anderson argue that sports deserves its own spot in history as it has become the scene of so many great and dark moments in the history of the world. Both sides universally agree that being a sports historian is great as it can lead down many avenue’s, whether it be economical and even political. Both do have different approaches to this though. Anderson talks about how approaching it from the views of gender and other social norms, sports can be trust into the light and help connect it to the bigger picture. Moore on the other hand, thinks we should take a hands on approach to sports history and mentor those around us in order to put sports history on the map. Both approaches can lead to the use of social media. Moore even points out his use of twitter to spread some of his findings, so that others may see his work. There is no doubt that social media plays a huge part of our lives, the way we see history, the way we can reach others with history, and the sports world. By combining them all, we as historians can help bring in the sports world and its impact on history to the lime light, that both Anderson and Moore talk about.
In both readings, When I Fell in Love with Sports History and On Searching for the Latin American Sportswoman and Finding an Argentine Sports Historian, the authors write about how history has impacted them and how sports history is an important factor in that impact. Both writers mention how one mentor led them into a things called “sports history.” For Louis Moore, it was Professor Pitti; and for Patricia Anderson, it was an. article written by Dr. Joseph Arbena. Both Moore and Anderson highlight what sports mean to them and how sports impact their lives, and they do so with different approaches. Moore focusses more on the mentorship aspect of learning sports history while Anderson focusses on the gender differences and the lack of interest on women and sports.
In When I Fell in Love with Sports History, Moore expounds on how the teaching and learning of sports history is what keeps the subject alive. Sports, as popular as the subject is, has a very deep and vibrant history, however, people tend to only focus on the here and now and do not realize the historical aspects of the topic. Basically, if there were no instructors teaching about the history of sports, then no one would learn about it and the history of sports is not common knowledge. This also relates to Anderson’s article on how she found interest in sports history as it was an article written by Dr. Arbena that caught her eye and sparked interest into sports history.
In On Searching for the Latin American Sportswoman and Finding an Argentine Sports Historian, Anderson’s story builds on Moore’s concept of needing an instructor and historians educated in the subject to pass along the knowledge of sports history. She discusses the research she did to learn about the history, pointing back to Moore’s discussion on how the information is delivered and that is through books, social media, and digital content.
Both authors knock on the fact that the most common sports history known is the current status of sports teams, such as how many times have the Patriots been to the Super Bowl, or the United States won the World Cup in soccer, or the biggest topic of 2020, the Olympic Games Cancelled due to Covid-19; but no one really knows the history of sports. Both Moore and Anderson found a passion for the subject and want to be sure the knowledge is made available and passed along from generation to generation through research, books, articles, social media, and digital sources.
The threat of history being rewritten is very real. As Patricia Anderson points out in “On Searching for the Latin American Sportswomen and Finding an Argentine Sports Historian”, the memory of the sportswomen in Argentina is not what it should be. In our twenty-first-century world, people forget how important the past is because the focus is on the future. In America, sports are the rave of almost everyone. However, what is the history of the sports we love? For many, it does not matter because only the current season and future seasons matter. When we neglect to know the past, we miss important people and events that have shaped our world. Louis Moore in “When I Fell in Love with Sports History”, talks about how it was not until his senior year of college that he was made aware of a sports historian and their role. The world loves to honor presidents, kings, and others who change the world for the better, but the world is slow to remember and honor those who have made sports what it is.
Both Moore and Anderson reveal how the study of sports is often overlooked by many and it hurts those who have gone before us. Many people will find the study of sports history to be odd as it does not fit in with the typical view of what history should be. This thinking is why both authors agree that there are many myths about what history has to be, these myths prevent people from doing something they might love. One myth is that one must play sports to study them. This is not true as Anderson points out how she never play any sports but has totally fallen in love with studying the history of sports. One suggestion to combat these myths is to have mentors and professors who will invest in students who want to pursue the study of sports history. To have people believe in themselves and in others who want to study the history of sports. Anderson explains how being a sports historian is a wide-open field. There are many different subjects and time periods that one could study the social, economic, and political impacts of sports. There is also always the possibility to find a new person who radically changed sports for the better that was forgotten to the sands of time. Moore also points out how being a sports historian is great as he can decide how and when he wishes to write. He also mentions how there are days that are tough and he simply has to grind through. However, he soundly confirms that being a sports historian is worth it as he gets to learn how sports have created the world he lives in.
As the world continues to spin, the true history of sports is beginning to surface. Social media and other online platforms are quickly becoming easy ways to learn history; as Moore points out. This allows for sports historians to be able to share their findings and honor a hero of sports worldwide in a matter of minutes. The field of sports history is still wide open as there are countless people waiting to be remembered for how they impacted the world through sports.
As a historian, I love a good story. As a future educator, I love discussions of how to better introduce topics and ideas to students. Both authors, Louis Moore and Josh Howard, have great narratives about coming to their own realizations on what it looks like to have a career in sports history and how to reach the greater communities with the knowledge they’ve gained. In these realizations, Moore and Howard both highlight the constructive impact sports history can have on students and communities’ overall understanding of history, both nationally and locally.
In Clifton Forge and Back Again, Howard presses the idea that sports history has direct ties to local history in many communities. Many topics which are often taught in a classroom setting can be used to pull learners closer to the subject at hand by getting them interested with local history or subjects that interest them. Howard uses multiple examples, including the State of Utah’s Soccer team, the minor league baseball team the Mobile May Bears, and the Pittsburgh Pirates. In each of these examples Howard notes the shortcomings of sports leadership that fail to use their own local history to draw fans and build knowledge of the community they come from. Similarly, in Louis Moore’s article, When I Fell in Love with Sports History, Moore recognizes the value of teaching students about topics, such as race, using sport history. This part of the article specifically reminded me of our Tuesday class discussion.
Another note of connection between the two articles was their push and praise for digital history. Louis Moore discusses the ability of sports history to spread knowledge of the black experience in America, specifically mentioning his use of Twitter as an “extended classroom.” Moore notes the impact of his story map to document black athlete discrimination, which has received much praise and over 166,000 twitter impressions. Likewise, Josh Howard touches on the use of sports history blogs to spread information to the public; an avenue he felt most allowed his own personal experience in the history realm to thrive. The discussion of digital history in both cases serve as a reminder of how important the internet or digitized information can be to universal learning of all ages.
Both Louis Moore and Josh Howard clearly understand the importance of sports history and the need to educate more people on its significance. They argue that public domains are the key to unlocking the growth and impact sports history can have on people. Platforms such as social media sensations like Twitter, popular tourist attractions such as Cooperstown and nationally recognized sports franchises are these domains. If we can utilize these resources, we could launch an entire new generation of sports historians. Moore says it himself in his article “When I Fell in Love with Sports History”, by talking about his personal experience with Twitter. Through his years he has discovered that people enjoy learning about history on the app and even want more. Howard further back these claims with his experience in minor league baseball. He tells about how the Mobile Bay Bears sit on a rich baseball history which they embrace with plaques commemorating local legends, memorabilia from classic baseball stadiums and their crown jewel the Hank Aaron childhood home. These relics are all available for fans to witness when they come into the stadium potentially sparking a flame for further knowledge of sports history.
On the other hand, both Moore and Howard also understand that while major public domains like this can prove to be beyond helpful, they are not the final step. Change truly starts in places that you least expect, such as your local little league or even a college classroom. If a coach does not take the time to teach kids the heritage and what it means to play a sport how can you expect kids to want to learn more. Or if a college professor refuses to take a student under their wing and mentor them how can you expect that student to establish a passion for their study. Neither Moore nor Howard’s dedication to sports history was ignited thanks to a major domain like Twitter. Moore owes his passion for sports history to Professor Joseph Pitti just like Howard owes his dedication to the Clifton Forge fields and the old timers that told their stories. Everyone cannot be sports historians, but a small push in the right direction could change the way the field looks in not only size but diversity.
When history is made more public and brought to a wide audience, people are more likely to learn and be informed on the history of places and things that may not be well known. Both Louis Moore, author of “When I Fell in Love with Sports History” and Josh Howard, author of “Clifton Forge and Back Again” clearly can see the importance of sports history from a local and public point of view. Moore focuses a lot on the importance of utilizing social media in today’s society. Moore states, “I have been on Twitter for a few years now, and I have found that most people enjoy learning about history through this app, and in fact, they want more history. As a professor who is alarmed by the continuous decline in history majors, seeing the enthusiasm from strangers surrounding a post is informative. It lets me know that as scholars, we need to take a more active approach in social media and tell engaging and as well as important stories.” This explains how as Moore began to become more involved in social media, he understands that there is a very broad and diverse group of individuals who are on social media apps such as Twitter looking for information and stories about topics such as sports history.
Howard focuses a lot on making the history of sports more available and accessible to the public. Thus making more people familiar with it. Howard claims, “It seems clear that Mobile and Salt Lake City could harness public history for better tourism and education in a mutually beneficial way.” This evidence supports the idea that when history is made public and easily available, numerous benefits can be made to more than just one party. Industries can increase tourism and profit while consumers can become interested and more educated in these topics.
It is interesting how Moore takes an approach at becoming more active and relevant through social media while Howard claims that publicizing the history and information will create benefits to involved parties. Both of these authors make very strong points, but ultimately to achieve the same goal. Using social media and publicizing information will allow a broader audience to be able to take advantage of learning this information. They can access it much easier and in turn be well informed of history and its impacts on society.