My research project looked at the expansion of hockey from the United States northeast and Canadian southern border to the southern portion of the United States. My argument was that hockey franchises in the south had very little slack when it came to winning on the ice and filling the seats with fans.  While looking at the expansion of the sport south, I realized something interesting. There were multiple hokey leagues in the United States north and Canada south that spanned across countries. These leagues would slowly dissolve, and another would rise again, with teams from both countries. When the NHL rose to become the most premier hockey league in the world in 1942, two of the six teams playing were located in Canada. As the league began to expand, the United states was granted multiple teams. These teams would be located from Californian to Kansas City and down to Florida. However, on multiple occasions, the franchises established in the southeast United States were being bought out and moved to Canada. The thought behind this was that there was a location out there that could “support” a hockey fanbase. Never mind the fact that Atlanta, a city where two hockey teams have come and gone without attempting to establish a connection with the city, has a metro population of over 6 million people who love sports.

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When attempting to pick my topic for the Digital project, I knew that I wanted to explore something relevant to the South. Specifically, I wanted to research a sport that hit close to home in North Carolina. I grew up enjoying college football so that was an option. However, Given the class’s focus on identity through sports, I wanted to go with something a little more niche. That is how I came to focus on NASCAR. NASCAR is a sport I had only recently become familiar with so I knew the research would be fresh and exciting. I also had the stereotype in my head that only southern rednecks enjoy NASCAR because the cars are loud and fast. This was only partly true.

NASCAR has a very rich history that predates World War Two. It was started after the prohibition era in the United States when alcohol. During the prohibition, illegal liquor was made called moonshine. This moonshine would then have to get transported by drivers without being caught by the federal police. The solution was to enhance the engines of regular stock cars in order to stay incognito but also be able to outrun the police if necessary. Eventually, these drivers would race these cars which is where NASCAR comes from. This rebellious background was the basis for a lot of my argument regarding the sport and race.

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While doing my research and the creation of my project, it made me think about how it ties into sports history and the readings we have done over the course of the semester. In a sense, the way hockey came about and grew into a sport for national pride for Canada, it also accepted all people and genders in a male dominated sport. It made me compare it to Fútbolera. I couldn’t help but think about how Elsey and Nadel brought the female aspect of soccer and how it is a sense lost to history as not many see how dominate the women of these soccer clubs in Latin America were. It is similar to the Canadian women’s hockey teams. People barely know about the dominance of women’s hockey throughout the 90’s as Canada would go on a tear winning gold several times. Just like in our panel discussion, we got to realize that the history is rich and full of dominate women, its just lost to the annals of history. But, it also allows us to see how women were able to grow the sport and show that women can be just as good, if not better at times than the men playing. This led me to finding an article on JSTOR called, “It’s Part of the Game”: Physicality and the Production of Gender in Women’s Hockey

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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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When beginning my research, I was oblivious to the importance that Tony Hawk once had and still has now, even after retiring from his professional skateboarding career. Tony Hawk began his life just as any other young boy would have in California. He did not recognize his passion until his brother gave him a skateboard when he was about nine years old. He began to learn new tricks and his talent was recognized by everyone who was able to witness it. His talent was far greater than many who were years older than him. At the young age of fourteen he began to win competitions and even went professional. When he was only sixteen, he was regarded as the best skateboarder in the whole world by many. He began to invent new tricks and land tricks that others before him could not. At the 1999 XGames he was the first skater to ever land the 900. This moment is considered by many to be one of the greatest and most important events in sports history. He shattered records with his video games and won kids choice awards when put up against other athletes such as Kobe Bryant and Tiger Woods. His influence is all but little. Even today, he has raised over 600 million dollars with The Skateboard Project to build quality skateparks in predominantly low income areas around the United States and even other countries in order to provide a safe place for children to strengthen their talents and enjoy themselves. Tony Hawk has an influence that reached outside of the skateboarding world. His name is recognized around the world, whether it be for his charity work, achievements, video games, or skateboarding career.

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