Week 3 Blog

Two of the articles this week, What is was, was soccer and Former App State coaches, players come to terms with cutting their programs really focus on the history of the App States sports that were cut do to the COVID-19 pandemic. The article by Wood speaks directly of App State Men’s Soccer history and discusses the success that the program experienced under coach Vaughn Christian. Christian was able to change the culture around soccer in Boone. In Joyce’s article,  while soccer is discussed,  he writes about the impact that each cut sport (Men’s Tennis, Men’s Soccer, and  Men’s indoor track and field) had on the App State community. Joyce discusses the history of each program including App States Men’s Tennis’ multiple Hall of Fame members. In addition to the history of the sports at App State Joyce writes about the feelings of the coaches as their teams are being cut by the school. Joyce also speculates that the reason for this is the COVID-19 pandemic in the attempt to save the athletic department a lot of funding, $1 million this year according to Joyce. Dzikus article is more about the absence of sports across the United States. In his article, Dzikus accurately describes sports as a “modern religion” in America.  In addition to the important of sports in the United States, he also discusses the various times in American history that sports were put on hold. The small list include events like the civil war, the 1918 influenza pandemic, WWI and WWII, and most recently 9/11. The article highlights how important sports have become to society in the country as well as highlights how long this has been the case. The two earlier articles by Joyce and Wood were getting at the same point, only on a more local level to the Boone and App State community. The App State community as well as the rest of the country enjoyed a long and consistent history of sports, until they where altered by the pandemic this year.

In the article “What it was, was Soccer” by Jesse Wood, it can be seen how sports change the lives of not only players, but a community. All it took was one coach, named Vaughn Christian, to initiate this change. After Christian became coach of the Appalachian State soccer team, wins were not uncommon, championship titles were a regular, and the meaning of soccer in the community took a huge turn. People began to become ecstatic about the sport, it literally changed the culture and life of those in the surrounding community. Sports, especially soccer, created a huge impact on the lives of many. However, as the team did not perform as well as they once did, the history of these amazing triumphs are often forgotten, which is a tragedy. Many people such as more modern coaches are trying to preserve this history.

The article “A World Without Sports” by Lars Dzikus states, “Sports went on to act as a way to bring Americans together, helping them persevere and, ultimately, heal.” This explains the importance of sports in the world now. Unfortunately, many sports in the world are put on hold currently as the COVID-19 pandemic plays out. This ties into the article “Former App State Coaches, Players Come to Terms with the Cutting of Their Programs” by Ethan Joyce. Joyce gathers quotes and information from former and current players as well as coaches. He gathers the thoughts and feelings very well on how they feel as athletic programs are closed due to COVID-19 to save money. He also refers to the Appalachian State University soccer team in the 70’s referenced above, when thousands of people would come together to watch the games. The impacts of COVID-19 are more than just sickness and death. The numerous ramifications include economic downfall, budget cuts in funding for programs, and in some cases, the end of certain programs. These issues are literally shaking the sports world and writing history as we live.

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.

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.

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.

Howdy! My name is Chase Clatanoff, and this is my first year at App State. I am currently majoring in history and social studies education and have come to Boone from near the small town of Forest City, NC, about an hour from Charlotte. My interest in sports comes from my grandfather, who was a coach of multiple sports for the high school he taught at, most notably (my favorite) basketball. I’m a Charlotte Hornets fan, and while I’m still getting over us losing Kemba Walker, I’m really glad that we just got the third pick in the NBA Draft! In terms of this course, I hope that it broadens my viewpoints on sports in general and shows just how important sports are to culture worldwide, especially outside of basketball.

I also really enjoy fishing.

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.