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The Life of Leroy "Satchel" Paige
The Incredible Story of UConn Basketball's Comeback from Defeat to Dominance
In September 2012, legendary University of Connecticut men’s basketball coach Jim Calhoun—who had won three national championships, the last in 2011—abruptly retired. His handpicked replacement was Kevin Ollie, a former UConn player and longtime NBA journeyman who had returned two years earlier to be Calhoun’s assistant. Ollie was widely praised as a “basketball savant” and respected by virtually everyone who knew him. But he had no head coaching experience—at any level—before taking the UConn job. He was also inheriting a mess. Due to past academic problems, UConn was barred from postseason play in 2013, and largely because of this, several top players left the program, either for the NBA draft or for other schools. On top of that were the uncertainties of a greatly changed conference, as well as difficulties on the recruiting trail. Despite it all, a dedicated core of players stayed and won twenty hard-fought games, even with no tournament chances to hope for.
The following season, expectations for the team were modest, and the odds of a championship were slim to none. But with the tournament ban lifted, a talented group of players, led by Shabazz Napier, emerged and went on to upset Michigan State to advance to the Final Four, causing millions of college hoops fans across the country to rip up their carefully constructed brackets. When they beat preseason no. 1 Kentucky, with its “Fab 5” NBA-bound starters and celebrity coach John Calipari, to win the 2014 title, theirs became one of the great comeback stories in all of sports, a rags-to-riches triumph for a storied program and its new head coach.
Sport, Race, and Evolving Reputations
With contributions by Prosper Godonoo, Urla Hill, C. Richard King, David J. Leonard, Jack Lule, Murry Nelson, David C. Ogden, Robert W. Reising, and Joel Nathan Rosen Reconstructing Fame: Sport, Race, and Evolving Reputations includes essays on Jackie Robinson, Roberto Clemente, Curt Flood, Paul Robeson, Jim Thorpe, Bill Russell, Tommie Smith, and John Carlos. The essayists in this volume write about twentieth-century athletes whose careers were affected by racism and whose post-career reputations have improved as society's understanding of race changed. Contributors attempt to clarify the stories of these sports stars and their places as twentieth-century icons by analyzing the various myths that surround them. When media, fans, sports leagues, and the athletes themselves commemorate sports legends, shifts in popular perceptions often serve to obscure an athlete's role in history. Such revisions can lack coherence and trivialize the efforts of some legendary competitors and those associated with them. Adding racial tensions to this process further complicates the task of preserving the valuable achievements of key players.
Unsung Monster of the Midway
The House of David
With a new introduction by the author Many Americans associate the House of David with its bearded barnstorming baseball teams of the 1920s and ’30s. Others may recall the sex scandal associated with the group, a scandal that gave newspapers during the first years after World War I some added spice. Still, others may know it as a religious communal society founded in 1903, which has a few adherents today.What is this strange group and how can these diverse images be reconciled? In the first in-depth study of the House of David, originally published in 1981, Robert S. Fogarty places the sect in the Anglo-Israelite millennial tradition that goes back to seventeenthcentury England, which produced prophets like the mystic Joanna Southcott and from which arose sects in England, Australia, and the United States. Their reading of the Book of Revelation promised the saving of a “righteous remnant” of humanity who would gather in one place to await the millennium. Evangelist Benjamin Purnell became the seventh prophet in the line of this tradition and, with his bigamous wife, Mary, established a community for its followers in Benton Harbor, Michigan.
The House of David was a celibate communal society controlled by the Purnells, and it attracted members who exchanged their worldly goods for the security of salvation. At its height, the community had more than 700 members and prospered by running farms, a canning company, and an amusement park and hosting popular touring bands and the traveling baseball teams.
But there were defectors, and from them emerged rumors of oppressive conditions, sexual misconduct on the part of the prophet himself, hastily arranged group marriages, and financial wrongdoing that led to a series of civil suits. The allegations drove Purnell into hiding, and the State of Michigan launched an elaborate trial against the colony.
The Righteous Remnant is more than the story of the rise and fall of a religious community. By examining its religious roots, the staunch testimony of its members in the face of demonstrated charges, and the social relations within the colony itself, we can begin to understand the attraction that such “social contracts” can exert. The House of David is now a remnant itself, but other religious groups continue to grow and bind members to them in the same ways.
Nearly half of all American high school students participate on sports teams. With a total of 7.6 million participants, this makes the high school sports program in America the largest organized sports program in the world. Robert Pruter’s work traces the history of high school sports in America from the student-led athletic clubs of the 1880’s through to the government takeover of athletic associations in the 1930s. In doing so, he provides an exploration of the ways in which the ideals Americans hoped to instill in future generations-hard work, fair play, team building-were challenged by questions of gender, race, and religion. Pruter explains the struggle to control high school sports, first by schools and local government and eventually on the national level. “Interscholastic sports have become so important that they have become a touchstone of conflict over … virtually every social division (in) our society,” Pruter writes. “The values and ethics in our society as a whole are reflected in our schools, and most publicly on the athletic fields and courts.”
Today's National Basketball Association commands millions of spectators worldwide, and its many franchises are worth hundreds of millions of dollars. But the league wasn't always so successful or glamorous: in the 1940s and 1950s, the NBA and its predecessor, the Basketball Association of America, were scrambling to attract fans. Teams frequently played in dingy gymnasiums, players traveled as best they could, and their paychecks could bounce higher than a basketball. How did the NBA evolve from an obscure organization facing financial losses to a successful fledgling sports enterprise by 1960? _x000B__x000B_Drawing on information from numerous archives, newspaper and periodical articles, and Congressional hearings, The Rise of the National Basketball Association chronicles the league's growing pains from 1946 to 1961. David George Surdam describes how a handful of ambitious ice hockey arena owners created the league as a way to increase the use of their facilities, growing the organization by fits and starts. Rigorously analyzing financial data and league records, Surdam points to the innovations that helped the NBA thrive: regular experiments with rules changes to make the game more attractive to fans, and the emergence of televised sports coverage as a way of capturing a larger audience. Notably, the NBA integrated in 1950, opening the game to players who would dominate the game by the end of the decade: Bill Russell, Elgin Baylor, Wilt Chamberlain, and Oscar Robertson. Long a game that players loved to play, basketball became a professional sport well supported by community leaders, business vendors, and an ever-growing number of fans._x000B_
A Social and Cultural History
This study is the first book-length academic treatment of rugby football in Ireland. Covering the period from the game’s origins in Ireland in the 1870s through to the onset of professional rugby in the twenty-first century, this book seeks to examine Munster rugby within the context of broader social, cultural and political trends in Irish society. As well as providing a thorough chronological survey of the game’s development, key themes such as violence, masculinity, class and politics are subject to more detailed treatment.
The Economic Rise of the NFL during the 1950s
The National Football League has long reigned as America’s favorite professional sports league. In its early days, however, it was anything but a dominant sports industry, barely surviving World War II. Its rise began after the war, and the 1950s was a pivotal decade for the league. Run to Glory and Profits tells the economic story of how in one decade the NFL transformed from having a modest following in the Northeast to surpassing baseball as this country’s most popular sport.
To break from the margins of the sports landscape, pro football brought innovation, action, skill, and episodic suspense on “any given Sunday.” These factors in turn drove attendance and rising revenues. Team owners were quick to embrace television as a new medium to put the league in front of a national audience. Based on primary documents, David George Surdam provides an economic analysis in telling the business story behind the NFL’s rise to popularity. Did the league’s vaunted competitive balance in the decade result from its more generous revenue sharing and its reverse-order draft? How did the league combat rival leagues, such as the All-America Football Conference and the American Football League? Although strife between owners and players developed quickly, pro-football fans stayed loyal because the product itself remained so good.
How American Sports Challenged the Black Freedom Struggle
In 1968, noted sociologist Harry Edwards established the Olympic Project for Human Rights, calling for a boycott of that year's games in Mexico City as a demonstration against racial discrimination in the United States and around the world. Though the boycott never materialized, Edwards's ideas struck a chord with athletes and incited African American Olympians Tommie Smith and John Carlos to protest by raising their black-gloved fists on the podium after receiving their medals. Sidelined draws upon a wide range of historical materials and more than forty oral histories with athletes and administrators to explore how the black athletic revolt used professional and college sports to promote the struggle for civil rights in the late 1960s. Author Simon Henderson argues that, contrary to popular perception, sports reinforced the status quo since they relegated black citizens to stereotypical roles in society. By examining activists' successes and failures in promoting racial equality on one of the most public stages in the world, Henderson sheds new light on an often-overlooked subject and gives voice to those who fought for civil rights both on the field and off.