The History of Sport Under Capitalism (Part One) - Sport in the ascendant phase of capitalism (1750-1914)

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jk1921
The History of Sport Under Capitalism (Part One) - Sport in the ascendant phase of capitalism (1750-1914)
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The discussion that follows was prompted by the article: The History of Sport Under Capitalism (Part One) - Sport in the ascendant phase of capitalism (1750-1914). The discussion was initiated by jk1921.
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jk1921
Interesting piece. Aronowitz

Interesting piece. Aronowitz has a section in False Promises that talks about American Football as an excellent reflection of capitalist values and industrial hierarchy. On sports as social control: if you go on any internet sports forum you will see people devote enormous emotional and intellectual resources to their favorite sports team. American football boards usually have their own resident salary cap analysts and draft experts. My thought is if these people devoted that much energy to figuring out the social world around them--we'd be in communism already.

On another note, does anyone understand Australian rules football?

 

 

mhou
For what it's worth, the IWW

For what it's worth, the IWW has written a few articles about the relationship between athletes, their unions, and the state and/or owners:

NCAA article:

http://www.iww.org/en/content/industrial-worker-issue-1749-october-2012

"NFL and the War on Labor":

http://www.iww.org/en/content/industrial-worker-issue-1737-julyaugust-2011

I think there were a couple on the history of the NFL/AFL Player's Associations (before the AFL and NFL merged). They created a minor backlash against the idea that high paid professional athletes and their labor concerns should be treated like any other group of workers (and so shouldn't be written about in the IWW press).

jk1921
CBC Radio One did a report a

CBC Radio One did a report a few weeks back about NHL pensioners documenting the miserable state many former professional hockey players live in today. One elderly pensioner was surviving on a $64 a month pension (or some such paltry sum). It was a very eye opening story showing that until recently professional athletes were very much "working class."

Similarly, all the concerns over player safety in the NFL and NHL testify to the very real issue that many former players of these sports suffer for years in retirement with chronic medical conditions resulting from their playing days. Many of these guys aren't multi-millionaires; their playing days were relatively short and once they proved unable to play at the same level--they were unceremonioulsy dumped into unemployment by their teams, many of them with few other marketable skills. Its no wonder that there is a rash of former NFL players getting busted for drug distribution.....

 

mhou
I think that's the

I think that's the perspective that a lot of people lack; the number of years a person is a professional athlete is limited; I remember reading the average career is only 2-5 years long in the NFL- which, like you said, leaves individual players often in terrible medical shape with no skill set (I think it was Arizona's old quarterback that they brought out of retirement to play; and he was working in one of the unionized grocery store chains stocking shelves).

Fred
I don't like this article

I don't like this article 'cos it reminds me of school and physical "education". Something which I, along with some others, always loathed, feared and detested. The class always provided ample opportunities for humiliations of various kinds; from no underpants at all, to less than sparklingly clean specimens; to a not-very-well fed body displayed in front of the better provided for; to the fearsome machines in the gym, up which and over we were forced to "vault"; to poorly trained gym teachers - in the days I'm talking about low down in the teacherly pecking order - not always sympathetic to those suffering under the imposed "discipline" experienced as terror. I suppose discipline is what it was all about; the bourgeoisie's passion to maintain aggressive control, even in a "sporty" situation. But really, in schools a lot of it is just down to mass manoeuvres and the demonstration of who's boss. In a later existence, I used to hear PE teachers sometimes defend it all on the grounds that "well at least it guarantees they all get at least one decent shower a week" and that could be the best thing about it....for the working class. For tbe children of the rich it may all be different. And I admit my prejudice.

jk1921
Gym

Fred wrote:
I don't like this article 'cos it reminds me of school and physical "education". Something which I, along with some others, always loathed, feared and detested. The class always provided ample opportunities for humiliations of various kinds; from no underpants at all, to less than sparklingly clean specimens; to a not-very-well fed body displayed in front of the better provided for; to the fearsome machines in the gym, up which and over we were forced to "vault"; to poorly trained gym teachers - in the days I'm talking about low down in the teacherly pecking order - not always sympathetic to those suffering under the imposed "discipline" experienced as terror. I suppose discipline is what it was all about; the bourgeoisie's passion to maintain aggressive control, even in a "sporty" situation. But really, in schools a lot of it is just down to mass manoeuvres and the demonstration of who's boss. In a later existence, I used to hear PE teachers sometimes defend it all on the grounds that "well at least it guarantees they all get at least one decent shower a week" and that could be the best thing about it....for the working class. For tbe children of the rich it may all be different. And I admit my prejudice.

I remember gym class as the one period in which the students could demonstrate rebellion against authority by refusing to dress for gym.

mhou
Yes- I remember that as

Yes- I remember that as well. I can understand having physical education in elementary schools; childhood health is a serious problem and getting plenty of time for play is important for development. It doesn't seem like it's been very long where a lot of kids don't play outside anymore. I mean we had video games/computers when I was a kid (granted not as dominant in society or as advanced as they are now), but it didn't monopolize our free time like it seems to these days.

I'd be interested in the second installment to the article, 1914-present. I heard on cable news last night that NASCAR is in some ways subsidized by the Federal government, kinda surprised me.