All throughout the semester we have learned about different themes that that have affect the Americas and their sports. Sports have always impacted the world in great ways so it is important to understand why they do or how they affect us. I did my project on Cuban baseball and the exhibition games that occurred in 1999 and 2016. I talked about the Cuban and American relations before the exhibition games and after. I talked about how the sport of baseball was able to bring more people together and how this one sport helped bring Cuba and the US closer together. I got a lot of information from the book The Pride of Havana: A History of Cuban Baseball written by González Echevarría, Roberto The reading talks about the history of baseball in Cuba and shares some backstory on the sport in Cuba. Reading this chapter of the book was very good research for my project because it helped me understand how important baseball was to Cuba and to Cubans. I found this interesting because normally when people think of Cuba they think of Fidel Castro or the Cuban Missile crisis.

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My project ‘Sports Impact on Cleveland’ researches the history, and economic importance of Cleveland’s professional sports programs to the city of Cleveland. Which mainly ties with the overall goal/theme of the course, how sports have shaped identities across the Americas. Cleveland, Ohio was once an industrial powerhouse at the turn of the twentieth century, although looking at the city today it tells almost an entirely different story. Since the 1960s and 1970s Cleveland has had a steady decline economically, through this time of decline their professional sports teams have helped the city economically, and socially. Whether these teams were doing good or not, they brought its citizens together in celebration or devastation. Cleveland celebrated an NBA championship, and a winless NFL season almost simultaneously, which shows how Clevelanders love their teams. In my video I talked about the importance of the three professional teams playing year round has on bolstering the downtown economy of Cleveland, because of how close together the stadiums are to each other has given opportunity to restaurants and eateries to flourish.

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The West Indies topic that I chose linked up with the topics that we talked about this semester. I think the topic that most matched up with the topic I decided to talk about is in regard to race and racial identity. The West Indies Cricket team always had the burden of being the team that carried Black Pride along with Caribbean Pride as a part of their heritage and history. The Caribbean is a collection of small islands that for their modern history have almost always been controlled by a foreign power and mostly by England. Utilizing the game of Cricket, created by the British, was a way for their colonies to “get even” with them, by defeating them on the pitch and without war. The West Indies teams took great pride in this because often, the British liked to portray a superiority complex when it came to the game of Cricket. Being defeated by a colony empowered those in the colony, while striking a blow against England’s seeming superiority of their empire.

I think one article that comes to mind when I think of the British superiority complex in Cricket was the article about an American weightlifter that had toured around the world. Though not from England, the article made America look pompous and arrogant to the rest of the world as opposed to dominant and powerful. The same example could be explained with Cricket.

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 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

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I absolutely love learning about politics and how it is used by governments. In this class, I have greatly enjoyed learning about how sports can and were used for the progress of a political view. For example “While the World Watched,” the Argentine government used the 1978 World Cup to display Argentine achievements. While simultaneously they used the same World Cup to cover up acts of state terror. Politics are so interwoven into sports, I knew that for my digital project I had to look at politics. Hence the reason why I decided to look at how Fidel Castro had an impact on the growth of baseball in Cuba. 

When the class talked with Katie Taylor (scholar on women’s football), she hinted at how sports depend on the inclusion of the media. Depending on the media, sports will grow exponentially or struggle to survive. The same could be said about the way politics interact with sports. The support or their lack of could make or break a sport. For example, I think of college football and how the national champions are invited to the White House. However, when I look at the WNBA, I do not see the same endearment from the government in the media as bluntly clear. Turning this to baseball in Cuba, I wondered how much of an impact the Fidel Castro regime had on the growth of baseball. 

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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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For years, Brazilian football has been the hallmark of professional football across the globe. The world’s most renowned talented footballers have Brazilian descent. However, there is a story behind the success of the sport in Brazil. This work explores the relationship between the themes of sports, sovereignty, class and racial struggles, and the Italo-Brazilian footballers.

As espoused in the text, we see pieces of evidence of racial and class struggles. The football clubs were being formed based on the foreign communes and for locals to be incorporated, they had to satisfy some level of affluence. It was, therefore, unusual to find the people of color, and women actively participating in soccer. Germania (for the Germans), Portuguesa de Desportos, and Sports Club Syrio are some of the elite sports clubs formed in Sao Paulo. The elitist vision of an exclusivist sporting practice shows how the less affluent communities were disadvantaged.

Since the footballing instructions were also in English, there was a language barrier that further drove a wedge between the elite (and middle-class communities) and the poor communities. Financial barriers, brought about by poverty. As a result, talented soccer players from poor backgrounds were denied the chance to play first-class football and access to their facilities. Italian community was among the affected party. As much as Europhilia was deep-rooted, Northern European players were swiftly accommodated over the Southerners like Italians.

With the tough conditions and other harsh ordeals suffered by the Italians, they devoted themselves to working their ways up to the top through soccer. Unlike their fellow European counterparts, Italians had to first endure the low-income jobs, insecurity, besides other arduous conditions when they immigrated to Brazil. They formed the Palestra Italia Club that struggled for 7 years (between 1910 and 1917) before finding its way into the Sao Paulo League. Despite the tough tides, they established a significant economic presence in Sao Paulo owning the largest quantities of agricultural assets. 

By 1930, the Italian influence was more than just a club business. They helped establish prominent names in the Brazilian national team squad. Fabrini, Grimaldi, Rico, Fabio, Barbuy, and Luciano are among the players who made Palestra Italia more than just a name. The use of Portuguese for footballing instructions created room for the inclusion of the disadvantaged players, albeit grudgingly, and fostered national unity in Brazil. The Italians also made sure that it was not just an ‘Italian Affair’ but an Italo-Brazilian unity.

With the rise of professionalism, most Brazilian-born Italians emigrated to Italy and other European nations. Their accommodation was not swift as they took most positions that the native Italians assumed were rightfully theirs. Migrants and their children are considered as consumers, politically affiliated, or even soldiers in their fatherland. On the flip side, it appeared to the Brazilians as if the Italians had an anterior motive when nurturing players in Brazil. The dilemma arises as we cannot categorize where the loyalties of these Italo-Brazilian players lie.