Sports in the Aftermath of Tragedy: From Kennedy to Katrina

Overview

In an era characterized by news that caters to extreme ends of the political spectrum, sporting events are one of the last refuges to which people of divergent viewpoints can turn. In the days and weeks following a national tragedy, columnists frequently write about how the tragedy has affected the sports world, and how, in turn, particular sporting events have affected the American people as they cope with adversity, loss, and grief; in the process, these columnists often ...
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Sports in the Aftermath of Tragedy: From Kennedy to Katrina

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Overview

In an era characterized by news that caters to extreme ends of the political spectrum, sporting events are one of the last refuges to which people of divergent viewpoints can turn. In the days and weeks following a national tragedy, columnists frequently write about how the tragedy has affected the sports world, and how, in turn, particular sporting events have affected the American people as they cope with adversity, loss, and grief; in the process, these columnists often reveal their own definitions of tragedy and being American.

In Sports in the Aftermath of Tragedy: From Kennedy to Katrina, Michael Gavin explores how columnists have written about sports’ role in the national recovery from specific tragedies. Beginning with John F. Kennedy’s assassination and including subsequent national tragedies such as 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina, this book studies the people considered “American” in these columnists’ work. Other tragedies examined are the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Bobby Kennedy, the bombing of the 1996 Olympics, and the 2011 Japanese tsunami that impacted both the Japanese and American women’s soccer teams when the two competed against each other in the final round of the World Cup.

A unique and perceptive look through the eyes of the sports world at how a nation responds to tragedy, Sports in the Aftermath of Tragedy will be of interest to sports fans, scholars, and historians.

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Editorial Reviews

American Reference Books Annual (ARBA)
This volume is an interesting look at two seemingly unrelated topics—sports and American historical tragedies—and the ways in which they coincide and how the world of sports responds to national tragedies. The author has observed that after a national tragedy many sports columnists write articles or commentaries on the role that sports plays in national recovery. The author provides chapters on how American athletes, sports teams, and sports fans have reacted to such historic tragedies as John F. Kennedy's assassination, Hurricane Katrina, the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., the bombing of the 1996 Olympics, and the 2011 Japanese tsunami in which the American and Japanese women's soccer teams competed soon after in the final round of the World Cup. The American public has strong ties to its sports teams and this book provides a unique perspective on how the American public copes with adversity and loss through sports in the aftermath of tragedy.
American Reference Books Annual
This volume is an interesting look at two seemingly unrelated topics—sports and American historical tragedies—and the ways in which they coincide and how the world of sports responds to national tragedies. The author has observed that after a national tragedy many sports columnists write articles or commentaries on the role that sports plays in national recovery. The author provides chapters on how American athletes, sports teams, and sports fans have reacted to such historic tragedies as John F. Kennedy's assassination, Hurricane Katrina, the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., the bombing of the 1996 Olympics, and the 2011 Japanese tsunami in which the American and Japanese women's soccer teams competed soon after in the final round of the World Cup. The American public has strong ties to its sports teams and this book provides a unique perspective on how the American public copes with adversity and loss through sports in the aftermath of tragedy.
CHOICE
This book critiques how mainstream sports columnists responded to various tragedies during the last half century, with an emphasis on the recent past. Gavin (Prince George's Community College) examines how these writers applied the "rhetoric of tragedy" to political assassinations (e.g., John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., and Robert F. Kennedy), acts of terrorism (e.g., the Oklahoma City and Centennial Olympic Park bombings and the 9/11 attacks), and natural disasters (e.g., Hurricane Katrina and the 2011 tsunami), among other events. Many sports columnists, Gavin writes, used these events to champion traditional values and thus buttressed the political status quo and remythologized the nation as virtuous. Others, however, used these moments to challenge white male privilege and conventional notions of national identity. Following the work of Marita Sturken and Lauren Berlant, Gavin argues that media coverage of sport after a tragedy provides opportunities to consider and contest cultural memories and meaning. He is correct.. All readership levels.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780810887008
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 12/8/2012
  • Pages: 164
  • Sales rank: 1,447,835
  • Product dimensions: 6.18 (w) x 9.28 (h) x 0.72 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Gavin is senior academic administrator at Prince George's Community College.
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Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Introduction: Narrating Tragedy
Chapter 1: War Games
Chapter 3: Bombs Bursting, but Not Here
Chapter 4: Counter Wars: Cracking the Mythology
Chapter 5: Patrons of the Saints
Chapter 6: What’s Sex Got to do With It?
Conclusion: Running Full Court: Ice Cube to Gin Blossoms,
Appendix
Bibliography

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