For my digital project I dove into the world of cornhole and more specifically the success of the ACL over the ACO. This divide of power most similarly brought my attention back to our week 13 reading about US and Latin American sports. In the article “Raceball by Rob Ruck” (Chapter 6 – ¡Viva México!) we see how the MLB had a virtual monopoly on players and little to no competition especially after the failure of the Mexican league. While not completely on the same level we see this monopoly forming in the sport of cornhole. The ACL has a stronghold on the sport primarily because it is main competitor the ACO cannot keep up. Thus, they have been able to hoard the top talent and improve revenue generating power for future success. As of now the ACL is the only major cornhole league garnering national attention from the likes of ESPN.
The second connection to our readings was made with the week three readings discussing sports in the age of Covid-19. In Andrew McGregor’s piece “Covid-19 Presents an Ideal Time to Rethink College Sports”
we are brought to the idea that maybe the pandemic is giving us a chance to change. While McGregor’s argument stems mostly around education funding athletics the central message of change still resonates with cornhole. With the pandemic forcing other sports to cancel events new avenues were opened for exposure. ESPN coverage opportunities presented itself resulting in the popularity of cornhole taking off that much more. The once backyard drinking game had made it to the big leagues as a professional sport. This could ultimately act as a blueprint for other sporting leagues wishing to make the jump to the national spotlight. More so this could prompt change in the way companies like ESPN conduct their business. Small sports like cornhole will do anything to get the exposure a network like ESPN can provide. This can result in more friendly contracts for ESPN that ultimately result in profitable payouts due to the fame gained. In short Covid-19 has given us a chance to change the way we do business altogether.
Overall, my research expands upon are class discussions and reading by giving branched off arguments from the main idea. While it does not relate directly to what the subject of the article is, it has similarities that support the same overarching idea. For example, my project does nothing to argue for education changing athletic funding during the pandemic, but it does show change that was in direct correlation with Covid-19. This helps us to look back at our discussions and see how we can further explore these ideas beyond the assigned text.
Above all else my project focuses on how roles have been changed across the Americas. Before the rise of the ACL or even ACO for that matter cornhole was strictly a leisure activity you would only see at cookouts or a beach. Now it is seen as a professional sport on national television giving out hundreds of thousands of dollars in prize money every year. People participate in the game across the country and the globe in local, regional, and national tournaments thanks to the rise of the ACL. Not only has the roles and identities of people been changed but the identity of the entire sport is different now than it was just a few years prior. On top of this the game is limited to no one, kids as young as five, Men, women, and seniors can all enjoy the game breaking any gender stereotypes one may assume.