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Rethinking Fandom: How to Beat the Sports-Industrial Complex at Its Own Game

Ryan Murtha

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The Myth of the Amateur: A History of College Athletic Scholarships

Jim Watkins

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Isabel “Lefty” Alvarez: The Improbable Life of a Cuban American Baseball Star

Alex Nuñez

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Rafael Halperin’s Contribution to Israel’s Emerging Body Culture

Udi Carmi

The concept of “muscular Judaism” coined by Max Nordau has been interpreted in different ways. For Nordau, the image of a Jew standing fit was a rebuttal to anti-Semites and the answer to Jews’ unmet aspirations for a national home. In practical terms, “muscular Judaism” translated into excellence in sport. As athletes, the Jews could make their mark and move from the fringes of society into the mainstream. This concept evolved over the years, reflecting changing times, shifts in global thinking and national needs. After the establishment of the state, Israeli society underwent a process of Americanization that was accompanied by a new understanding of muscular Judaism and body image. This article discusses three physical fitness trends that redefined the concept of muscular Judaism: gym training, bodybuilding, and catch wrestling. These were rooted in the American aesthetic ideal, a far cry from the ideology and collective socialist worldview prevalent in Israel.

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“Dead but Standing Erect”: Why Southern Conference Members Left to Form the Southeastern Conference

Jim Watkins

Thirteen institutions left the Southern Conference to form the Southeastern Conference during 1932. Why did these schools leave the Southern Conference? Previous historical research portrays the large size of the Southern Conference and the desire to pass academic reforms as reasons for the Southeastern Conference’s formation. This article argues that the university presidents and other administrators at Southeastern Conference institutions formed it to enhance the legitimacy of their member institutions. Throughout the Great Depression, the conference’s administrators pursued increased legitimacy by attempting to reform academic eligibility rules, allowing football games to be broadcast over the radio, awarding athletic scholarships, allowing member institutions to compete in emerging postseason football bowl games, and hiring a commissioner. This instance of conference realignment is historically significant because some of the policies implemented by the Southeastern Conference contributed to its rise as one of the top revenue-generating conferences in college athletics.

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A New Form of Modern Sport: The Beginnings of Lakeland Rock Climbing 1880–1914

Mike Huggins

The English Lake District played a key role in British rock climbing and is arguably the place where rock climbing first separated from mountaineering in the 1880s. This article sets its origins in the wider context of Alpinism. It then explains the attractions of the Lake District to early climbers and the ways and locations in which early rock climbing emerged as key participants exploited the landscape to create the innovative rock climbing challenges that were key to their enjoyment. It provides rich detail on how the sport extended body limits, developed new climbing techniques, and used better equipment. Leading climbers there began to record and measure the standard of climbs—another innovation. Although mountaineering clubs elsewhere were exclusively male, relegating leading women mountaineers to a marginal role, in the Lakes, women rock climbers made a notable contribution. The article concludes by evaluating the wider significance of the Lake District for British climbing.

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Volume 52 (2021): Issue 2 (Nov 2021): Special Issue: Transnational Sport History

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La construction d’un yachting canadien au XIXe siècle ; Transferts culturels de part et d’autre de l’Atlantique

Denis Jallat

Le nautisme français déchiré entre normes britanniques et références états-uniennes incite à s’interroger pour savoir si d’autres nations régatières connaissent des processus identiques. L’étude du yachting au Canada semble de ce point de vue intéressante. Nous essaierons de comprendre comment les pratiques nautiques se sont construites au Canada. Quels rapports les navigateurs Canadiens-français entretiennent-ils avec leurs homologues anglophones ? Quelles sont leurs modèles pour édicter des règles de course ou construire des voiliers : les normes britanniques, françaises ou celles des États-Unis proches ? Un système propre au Canada s’est-il développé ? Nous chercherons surtout à montrer les enjeux sous-jacents à l’activité vélique. L’hypothèse que l’on peut formuler est celle d’une pratique qui a su combiner les questions politiques, territoriales, ethniques du Canada et forger son identité sur des bases plurielles combinant les codes défendus par les francophones, les normes portées par les anglophones et des innovations venues des États-Unis.

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The Early Synecdochical Anchors of College Football: Fields and Facilities 1869–1903

Patrick Tutka and Chad Seifried

The present study examines the early wooden facilities and grounds of American college football within National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I Football Bowl Subdivision and Ivy League schools from 1869 through 1903. Within, we identify what set of events and opportunities led to the development of the earliest football playing spaces. Furthermore, we recognize and explain what patterns of construction and renovation influenced the creation of permanent stadia. Critical environmental conditions that impacted the spread of knowledge about football and its playing grounds are recognized in addition to specific rules, which influenced the evolution of fields and facilities. Finally, we recognize the importance of facility enclosure and interests in producing revenues, and feature discussion on the movement of games from off- to on-campus while offering a collective picture of what these places looked like as potential synedochial social anchors for their institutions.