Author Archives: Wendy Parker

The perfect paradox: Political ideology and sports

TweetNick Paumgarten has a terrific post at The New Yorker about the stylishness of golden age Soviet hockey in spite of the rigid Communist political system that spawned it. Anatoli Tarasov was appointed by Stalin after World War II to develop a powerhouse national program from scratch, and he tapped into some of the best [...]

Savoring the things that matter the most

TweetAfter cranking out so many sports-and-culture posts on this blog and elsewhere in recent weeks, I’m going through some serious anxiety about whether to continue staking a claim in these debates.
Well then, anxiety is a strong word, and I hesitate to say I’ve reached the point of some kind of depression. But I’m as melancholy [...]

In defense of the culture of football, con’t

TweetNot much of a peep from my Tweeps yesterday when I put out the link to this fine and eloquent rebuttal to critics of American football from Jonathan Chait at New York Mag.
Now I don’t feel so alone for having written this a couple weeks back.
Perhaps it was the headline — “In Defense of Male [...]

Why sports isn’t about ‘respecting’ you

TweetLast week I wrote for The Cauldron, a new sports vertical on the Medium platform, about Hope Solo, gender and domestic violence and the excuse-making that has surrounded the discussion of a female athlete being charged with physical aggression. Here’s what I wrote about the counterreaction that is as disappointing as it was predictable:
“The real [...]

A sports site for ‘nerdy jocks and jockish nerds’

TweetGlad to see The Allrounder, a new site devoted to examining deeper issues in sports, finally go live last week.
The creator is Bruce Berglund, the host of the excellent New Books in Sports podcast and a history professor at Calvin College in Michigan.
The contributors are mostly academics, journalists and authors from the United States and [...]

Sports Gods and antiheroes we think we know

Tweet“Try as we will to weigh him down with meaning, the athlete remains one step ahead of us.”
– Stephen Amidon, “Something Like the Gods”
* * * * * * * *
Has the contemporary sports star finally been caught in the grasp of social media mobs who scrutinize, judge and presume guilty with the ridiculous [...]

If the news from the gridiron has you down

TweetThe Ray Rice story and the continuing angst by many Americans about the National Football League and the game of football is snowballing into a truly disturbing heap, and this probably will not stop anytime soon.
It’s too soon to know if these events reflect some kind of tipping point in our reverence for football — [...]

It’s hard to call it labor when it doesn’t feel like work

TweetLabor Day in the United States is being observed today, and I thought I’d use the occasion to select some blog posts that I truly enjoyed putting together.
What I discovered wasn’t surprising: The posts that were the most fun to write and ponder were those that best exemplified the intersection of sports and creativity that [...]

In defense of the culture of football

TweetIt’s getting harder, if not impossible, to defend the culture of football, and the raw expression of masculinity that comes with it.
Concussions, brain trauma and other crippling injuries suffered on the gridiron are blamed for the suicides of players, some famous, some not.
The names of football players, some famous, some not, are attached to too [...]

Sports History Files: The original sins of college football

TweetThe violence, crippling injuries, academic short cuts and other dysfunctional components of the present-day world of college football are hardly new.
Nor do they date back only a half-century or so, when the NCAA finally modernized in the early 1950s, cracked down on rule-breakers and reigned in athletic departments that wanted to cut their own television [...]