In his book entitled What’s My Name Fool? Sports and Resistance in the United States, author Dave Zirin presents a thought provoking and inviting glimpse look at the polluted industry of sports as well as the brilliant personalities who played significant roles in its history. The author utilizes the achievements of the black athletes and that of the Olympic Project for Human Rights (OPHR) in order to connect the problem of racial discrimination. All the black athletes are playing an important role in establishing their social status.
Even though many people would rather not admit it, professional sports in the American scene are certainly more than just a piece of entertainment. Professional sports in the country are considered to be an institution. It also forms a fundamental element in the country’s popular culture. For a majority of men, sports, whether in the form of a plain discussion, as a spectator, or actually playing the game constitutes an integral part of socialization.
For a guy who would not want to be dismissed as an odd or nerd, must have an interest in sports to the very least. This fascination in sports usually transforms later on into somewhat bordering a passion. Sports were in essence absurd. The audience is kept sidetracked, passive, and amused whereas issues of great importance are devoted little consideration. Even though there is a certain amount of truth to the following claims, what the author presents in his unique and captivating book is much more multifaceted than where the observation may lead to.
Pulling from a source of significant milestones in the history of sports, for instance, the plight of the African American athletes during the Olympics held in 1968, summed up by the painful breaking of the color line at the Major League Baseball by Jackie Robinson, the stripping off the belt of Muhammad Ali for refusal to train for the United States armed forces, and John Carlos and Tommie Smith’s currently infamous “Black Power Salute” at the medal platform, the author details a political impact of professional sports that was usually being dismissed, overlooked, or utterly kept secret (Zirin, 2005; Green, 2008; Nader, 2005).
The most important insight derives from the author’s outline and discussion of the significant milestones in sports history prior to the year 1990 (Zirin, 2005). His drawing out from the history of revolutionary undertakings in the struggle for communal and economic justice provides even for the most avid sports fanatic a novel insight. Zirin’s introduce to his readers the inspiring story of Lester Rodney as a sportswriter. This chapter gives a standpoint on the history of sports which is not often emphasized (Zirin, 2005).
The boldness of stealing home to serve as a symbol of a potential for societal transformation in the following chapter likewise brings in fascinating insights concerning the one who destroyed the color barrier in Major League Baseball back in the year 1947. Although a great deal of literature has been afforded to Robinson, the author stresses about the relationship that existed between him and other leaders and athletes, in particular, Malcolm X, Joe Loius, Paul Robenson, and Martin Luther King, Jr.
A reflective insight is presented about Robinson as a brave figure rather than as a activist in the latter years of his existence. The author illustrates the manner in which sports usually mirror the times besides being an agent of its change. It begins with a fascinating recount of the political history of American sports by stressing certain important milestones prior to presenting a compilation of his latest personal articles and interviews with the personalities who played a primary role to shape the American sports scene (Zirin, 2005).
The personalities include Lester Rodney, Lee Evans, John Carlos, and George Foreman (Zirin, 2005). The author is a bold progressive and his book is visibly penned down from that stance. The parallelism between the subjects of politics and sports is conferred in the framework of the battle of the underprivileged for a more impartial society. It also speaks of the concessions triumphed over against the odds, as well as the struggles combating the evils of racial discrimination and sexism.
The book presents a novel standpoint on different personalities who made an impact during their lifetime. For example, do a lot of people recognize that Rodney’s writings were instrumental in accenting the racially prejudiced nature of professional football and drove to integrate? Do a lot of people recognize how rebellious and conceited Jackie Robinson was and what how instrumental he is in the struggle for civil liberties before his death, or that among of his utmost disappointments was letting others use him to serve their purpose, and his bearing witness in opposition to Paul Robeson?
Do they even grasp that boxers were yet to have union and be granted medical care? How about other than attributing the infamous black gloved power salutation at the Olympics held way back in 1968 that John Carlos even went barefoot to voice disapproval for the black destitution in the United States? Even so, George Foreman’s act of waving an undersized American flag after winning the gold medal at a boxing match be compared with Carlos and Smith though that he was simply politically unmindful to what was happening during that particular moment in history ().
The author is evidently mocking those who conceal sports in nationalistic language to fulfill their personal interest but eventually throw stones at certain athletes whose beliefs and behaviors find faults in societal and economic inequalities. In a manner of speaking, the ones who sincerely work and trust according to the standards of democracy and echoes the most sacred of all values which is otherwise known as the right to dispute. Zirin’s book is sure to spark an interest in sports enthusiasts, history buff concerned with the American sports scene, or even aggressive journalists.
It is also a good research material for sociology, culture, and history. The stories recounted are not plain feel good sports narratives. The accounts speak of invariable moral courage possessed by the athletes. They describe about the great tolls they confronted in their personal and professional lives. The stories remind the audience of how they made a difference in the sports scene for themselves as well as for their co-athletes and supporters who rely on their strength of character.
Even for those whose interest in sports may have waned can still agree that the book does an excellent job in discussing a topic that is hardly ever mulled over but nonetheless is quite interesting talk about. Zirin’s work offers an interesting read for the American sports scene enthusiasts, but particularly those who have been or still are managing the shame of having an unfaltering interest in sports, though there are certainly more things of greater significance to divert their attention to. As the country progresses, it was clear that people are willing pay what it might cost them to witness sports played at its finest.
The 20’s and 50’s, decades having comparable economic conditions witnessed this concept grow (Black, 2007; Sailes, 1998). These years were decades of urbanization and development (Black, 2007; Sailes, 1998). It was around these times when media technology delivered sports via the radio waves and later on to the television screens right the comfort of the audiences’ homes. Most significantly, these were the years following violent world wars that left the world seeking for help, diversion, and a form of relaxation.
Besides developing into a lucrative form entertainment for the masses, professional sports in the United States turned out to be a successful tool for the financial and political leaders to endorse their standards and principles. This is the reason why American sports mirror a markedly American venture, originating from the hopes for excellence, triumph and oppression. The American sports are unique in its own right taking pride in calling their athletes as champions of their respective leagues. References Black, S.
(2007). Talking Back Sports. Canadian Dimension, 41, 47. Green, J. (2008). Muhammad Ali: Champion of the World. Book Links, 17, 8-9. Nader, R. CommonDreams. org. (2005). What’s My Name, Fool? Sports and Resistance in the United States. Retrieved September 30, 2008, from http://www. commondreams. org/views05/0806-24. htm. Sailes, G. A. (1998). African American in Sport. New Jersey: Transaction Publishers. Zirin, D. (2005). What’s My Name Fool? Sports and Resistance in the United States. Chicago: Haymarket Books.
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