Sports: The All-American Addiction

By John R. Gerdy | Go to book overview

8
SPORT AND
UPWARD
MOBILITY

An invasion of armies can be resisted, but not an idea whose time has come.

—Victor Hugo

During the 1997 season, Major League baseball celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking its color barrier. In virtually every account of this event, sport was credited as one of the most progressive and discrimination-free enterprises in our society. Advocates have long claimed that sport is a unique entity in this regard because in athletics, your worth is determined by one factor; performance on the fields of play. Sport has been hailed as our country's only enterprise where everyone—black, white, red, or green—can compete on equal footing. “Sports represents pure meritocracy, where people earn what they get under conditions of perfect equality. There are no slaves and masters in baseball, no peasants and lords or gentlemen and commoners, just .200 and .300 hitters” (Gorn and Goldstein 1993, 111).

As we were told repeatedly during the coverage of this milestone baseball and civil rights event, Robinson's achievement lead to doors of opportunity being opened in many other organizations and industries. While the significance of this accomplishment should never

-171-

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Sports: The All-American Addiction
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents *
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction xi
  • Sports 1
  • 1 - The Essence of the Game 3
  • 2 - Buying In 9
  • 3 - The All-American Addiction 21
  • 4 - Sport and a Civil Society 40
  • 5 - Dumb Jocks in the Global Economy 65
  • 6 - The Athlete as Couch Potato 114
  • 7 - Give Me Your Money! 144
  • 8 - Sport and Upward Mobility 171
  • 9 - “get Over It!” 191
  • 10 - Mind Over Body in the Information Age 208
  • 11 - What If? 235
  • References 253
  • Index 259
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