“We are on the map and we’re staying on the map, not just in sports, but in everything”. This quote from American-Jewish basketball player Tal Brody is not only one of the most well-known quotes in Israel’s sports history, but also one of the most famous in Israeli culture overall.

Click here to read the full article...

Kevin Durant faced criticism for his lack of “loyalty” when he decided to leave the Oklahoma City Thunder and join the Golden State Warriors prior to the 2016-17 NBA season. (Photo from NBA.com)

All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned, and man is at last compelled to face with sober senses his real conditions of life, and his relations with his kind.
– Karl Marx, The Manifesto of the Communist Party

Last year, Reggie Miller criticized Kevin Durant’s decision to join the Golden State Warriors in order to win a championship. While many others made similar critiques, I find that Miller reveals a broader issue in professional sports. Miller expresses this point through the article’s title, “Kevin Durant Traded a Sacred Legacy for Cheap Jewelry.” Framing his critique through the sacred (legacy) and the profane (cheap jewelry) reveals what I see as two inter-twined, mutually-dependent yet contradictory elements that structure professional sports.

Click here to read the full article...

Image from Barbies and Robots.

For many women, bodybuilding (i.e., sculpting one’s body through rigorous diet and training to develop muscle size) is an empowering activity. Heavy weightlifting increases muscular strength and size, and enhances one’s physical capacity. For women, bodybuilding can be empowering because a muscular female body defies our traditional understanding of a feminine body as a one that is small, weak, fragile, and limited. A female bodybuilder – someone who has, through years of strength training, gained a considerable amount of visible muscularity – challenges these stereotypes of femininity, forcing us to critically examine and reconsider our taken-for-granted knowledge of the female physique and its capabilities. Bodybuilding allows women to push against and break free from these societal boundaries, providing a space for empowerment.

Click here to read the full article...

Mount Gariwang, formerly a protected conservation area, is being developed into a skiing venue for the 2018 Winter Olympics. Photo by Liv Yoon.

PyeongChang is a small county in the northeastern province of Gangwon in South Korea (hereafter, ‘Korea’), with an aging population of approximately 43,000 (in which 1 in 4 people are 65 years or older). This mountainous region, known for its quaint charm and small-scale agriculture-based economy, will host the 2018 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games, and as a result, joins a long list of host cities that have witnessed turmoil due to sport mega-events. An issue surrounding the PyeongChang Games that has gained some attention – but certainly not enough – is the destruction of Mount Gariwang, a former Class 1 Protected Area for Forest Genetic Resource Conservation, now transformed into the official alpine skiing venue. Because this area had long been protected from any kind of development, public or private, a ‘Special Act’ that “may revoke the designation of all, or a part of a conservation zone” was legislated to pave way for the development.

Click here to read the full article...

Two basketball teams go head-to-head in an esports competition, with spectators cheering them on. (Photo: Dan Steinberg/Invision for NBA 2K/AP Images)

In late 2016, a sports championship event was held in Chicago, drawing 43 million viewers during the series finals. That was 12 million more people than watched the 2016 NBA Finals.

It wasn’t soccer, or football, or even the World Series of Poker. Instead, it was the “League of Legends” World Finals, an esports competition.

Click here to read the full article...

*Cross posted on The Rabbit Hole*

It was recently (quietly) reported that the United Nations Office on Sport and Development and Peace (UNOSDP) closed on April 30, 2017 as a cost-saving measure, a fact that is interestingly not noted on the actual UNOSDP website. The UNOSDP was created to capitalize on all the ways that sport can be used as a vehicle to achieve development goals. Wilfred Lemke was appointed as the Special Adviser to the UN on Sport for Development and Peace in 2008 succeeding Adolf Ogi.  The job of the Special Adviser is three fold:

  • lead and coordinate sport projects that contribute to poverty reduction, HIV/AIDS prevention, universal education, sustainable development, and inclusion of persons living with disabilities etc.
  • encourage dialogue, collaboration, and partnerships between the UNOSDP and member states
  • represent the Secretary General and the UN at global sporting events/meetings such as the Olympics, Paralympics, and World Cup.

The closing of the UNOSDP means that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) now has a direct line to the Secretary General.  Given that the IOC is not a nation state, one wonders why the IOC is so invested in having the ear of the Secretary General. I asked my friend and colleague Dr. Nicolien van Luijk (@nicolien_vl) to offer her thoughts on the matter. Click here to read the full article...

Women-focused organizations, such as Sports Women of Tampa, can serve an important role in supporting women who aspire to have careers in the male-dominated realm of sport.

In his book, Diversity and Inclusion in Sport Organizations, Cunningham highlights that the sport industry has historically been a male oriented space where men have continuously held positions of power, subjugating women’s ability to participate and take positions of authority. Despite this historical power imbalance, research also shows that better business decisions are made when a diverse group of both men and women are a part of the process. Further, having more women represented in leadership roles can ultimately help an organization progress and evolve in a successful direction.

Click here to read the full article...

Muhammad Ali’s stand against the Vietnam War transcended not only the ring, which he dominated as the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, but also the realms of faith and politics. —Krishnadev Calamur, The Atlantic. (AFP | Getty Images)

April 28, 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the day that boxing champion Muhammad Ali (1942-2016), citing religious reasons, was stripped of his heavyweight title for refusing to be inducted into the United States Army. That memorable event is somehow all the more amazing when considered as part of an evolution whereby “The Greatest” went from being reviled as a “draft-dodger” to being respected as a spokesperson against Islamophobia and a political activist for persons living with Parkinson’s disease.

Click here to read the full article...

Press conference for Oilers YCP Night. Left to Right: Andrew Ference (former Edmonton Oiler and YCP Ambassador), Matt Hendricks (current Edmonton Oiler and YCP Ambassador), Kevin Lowe (Vice-Chairman of Oilers Entertainment Group), Cheryl Macdonald (U of A YCP postdoc in building inclusive sporting communities and Co-Chair of YCP western Canadian board), Kris Wells (Faculty Director of the U of A Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services and co-creator of Pride Tape).

The You Can Play Project (YCP) is an organization that promotes the inclusion of LGBTQ+ athletes in sport. It seeks to mitigate the possible negative aspects of locker room culture such as anti-gay attitudes and language. It was founded in 2012 by Patrick Burke, Glenn Whitman, and Brian Kitts following the death of Patrick’s brother, Brendan, who was an openly gay ice hockey player. The Burke family is well known in the hockey community since Patrick works in Player Safety for the National Hockey League (NHL) and his father, Brian, is currently the President of Hockey Operations for the Calgary Flames. The Burkes wanted to honour Brendan by advocating on his behalf for equality among athletes regardless of their gender or sexual identity. While most visible in hockey, YCP works with a range of sports and athletic organizations from high school to college and university to the amateur and professional ranks.

Click here to read the full article...

The University of North Carolina men’s basketball team celebrates after winning the 2017 National Championship. Photo From Nathan Klima/The Daily Tar Heel

Fireworks boomed from the Dean Dome two weeks ago, sparking a high-spirited time at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH). Tar Heel fans had gathered around the home court and all along Franklin Street to watch the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship game. The celebrations following the Tar Heels’ victory have been a stark contrast from last year’s disappointing buzzer-beating loss.

Click here to read the full article...