Proceedings of the 31st Annual Conference of the Sport Literature Association, June 25–28 2014

The 31st Annual Conference of the Sport Literature Association

College of the Rockies, Cranbrook, British Columbia, June 25-28, 2014
Proceedings edited by Cory Willard.
Published by kind permission of SLA, through Dr. Joyce Duncan.

sport-literatureWednesday, June 25

Welcoming remarks: Darrell Bethune, Dean of University Studies


Chair: Richard Crepeau

Tim Morris (University of Texas at Arlington) 
Sport in The Walking Dead

The epic comic-book series The Walking Dead, by writer Robert Kirkman (mostly drawn by Charlie Adlard; the first trade volume drawn by Tony Moore), uses sport pervasively: sometimes perversely, sometimes as a metonym for innocence lost or the potential for innocence to be regained. The comics are set in an American South where society has disintegrated, in the wake of a plague that turns anyone who dies into a zombie (and makes the zombies lethargic but insatiable killers). Organized sport ceases to exist along with organized economy and organized government. But vestiges of sport survive: abandoned gyms and arenas, repurposed equipment (e.g. the villain Negan’s beloved baseball-bat weapon, wrapped in barbed wire). Villains in the series create mockeries of sport, like the gladiatorial combats involving zombies produced by the odious Governor. Meanwhile, the preferred sport of hero Rick Grimes and his community is target shooting, an activity that moves seamlessly between recreation and survival skill. But whenever Rick and his group reach a place of refuge, innocent sport reasserts itself. Touch football, pickup basketball, and simpler forms of play are coded as elements of the life-force that sustains our heroes. More natural than cultural, a primal form of sport seems to well up insistently when cultural forms of sport are stripped away by apocalypse. Sport is a small but powerful part of how The Walking Dead sorts 21st-century America into basics, frills, and diseases, in an implicit argument about how essential human nature manifests itself.

Kyle Belanger (Springfield College)
The Twitterature of Sochi: Social Media as textual analysis of the 22nd Olympic Winter Games

As the world’s most visible (and comprehensive) athletic spectacle, the Olympic Games provide a finite scope through which international and domestic impressions are created through a multitude of media (print, video, audio and online). These impressions run the gamut from athletic to social and even stretch into the realms of geo-political and ethical. Add in the unique Sochi civil issues, and the 2014 18-day winter narrative is even more compelling.

Equally as omnipresent as the Olympics, Twitter’s microblogging software has commandeered the social conventions of communication in the 21st century. Founded in 2006, Twitter has simultaneously magnified the importance of rapid-fire information dissemination while placing a premium on snarky sharp commentary. In addition, the democratization of the storyteller’s role granted by Twitter has enabled the masses to serve as co-narrators—a post previously occupied by an exclusive group of journalists, attendees and athletes.

As a result, the intersection of these two institutions provides a unique and revealing glimpse into the vibrancy of both, and, in turn, a commentary on the rhetoric of worldwide sport in 2014. This paper uses a handful of trending hashtags (#Sochi, #Olympics, #Olympics2014, etc.), as well as appropriate related Twitter accounts (@Sochi2014, @Olympics, etc.) to read the story of the Sochi Olympic Games in a way that could only be possible during this Twitter adolescence. This paper will also explore the possibility of Twitter being used for future global sporting events in a similar manner.

Misao Dean (University of Victoria)
John Green Plays FIFA 14

American author John Green is a writer of young adult fiction whose most recent book, The Fault in our Stars, is currently a popular teen movie. But much of his popularity comes from his bond with the “Nerdfighters,” an on-line community of thousands of YouTube viewers who follow his video blog “vlogbrothers” as well as Green’s numerous collaborations with his brother Hank, a self-described “science nerd.” Green’s latest on-line project is his series of “Let’s play” YouTube videos that feature a fictional soccer team, the Wimbledon Wimbly-Womblys. The series is not only educating thousands of YouTube viewers about international soccer, but also supporting the real life AFC Wimbledon. For those unfamiliar with “Let’s play,” this is a genre of YouTube video that combines video captures of gameplay with audio commentary. Green’s recorded voiceover not only creates an elaborate narrative backstory for his fictional team players, but also features him discussing popular culture, literature, social issues, and giving advice to his fans. John Green’s opening video to his AFC Wimbly-Wombly series has over 117,000 views as of now; and as all of the revenue for the series is directed to sponsorship of the actual Wimbledon soccer team, his venture has drawn attention from the real-life FIFA community. This paper will introduce the Wimbly-Womblys and discuss the various aspects of this unique cultural project.


Chair: Mark Noe

Duncan Jamieson (Ashland University)
The Vibrant Bicycle

In 1937 Martin Buber’s I and Thou first appeared in English, seventy-three years before Jane Bennett’s Vibrant Matter; both books discuss the world as a binary construct. Buber, a Jewish theologian, argues that humans can interact with an other through either experience or encounter. In the former, the individual observes the other, gathering and analyzing data to create a theory.   In this scenario, the individual, the “I,” turns the other into an object, creating Buber’s I-It relationship. In an encounter, humans create a personal connection to an other in which both are changed, affected. Here the other is not used, making this an I-Thou relationship. Bennett, a political philosopher, defines the binary as dull matter versus vibrant life. In addition to a long list of philosophers who consider this binary, she contends as children we lived in a vital world populated with animated, rather than passive, objects. Consider Bill Watterson’s cartoon, “Calvin and Hobbes,” in which Calvin sees his stuffed tiger, Hobbes, and his bicycle as animated beings, whereas adults see them as passive objects. Compare this with an automobile trip in which the objective is to move from Point A to Point B, separated from the intervening space in a climate controlled steel cage, as opposed to a bicycle journey where the intervening miles are as vital as the destination. As a device to carry us with no connection to the environment through which we travel, the automobile represents dull matter, or an I-It relationship, while the bicycle, which forces its rider to experience the sights and smells, equals vibrant life, or an I-Thou relationship. There are myriad examples of this in the literature of bicycle journeying, from the early days when Frank Lenz vowed, if necessary, to carry his Victor as it carried him, a vow similar to the one Fred Birchmore made fifty years later. In those early days, H. Darwin McIlrath’s relationship with his bicycle was personal enough that he named it “Old Rodney,” in the same sense that Bernard Newman and later Dervla Murphy named each of their bicycles.

This paper examines the long distance bicycle journeyer in light of both Buber and Bennett. Specifically, how and why is the bicycle journeyer’s relationship to the wheel an I-Thou rather than an I-It relationship, and how is the bicycle vibrant, rather than dull matter?

Cory Willard (Red Deer College)
Spirituality and Ecology in Fly Fishing’s Literary Tradition

In his book, Haunted by Waters: Fly Fishing in North American Literature, Mark Browning proposes the argument that “[w]hile everyone would agree that writing is a creative act, some might find it odd to consider fishing in the same manner. Properly approached, however, fishing is capable of leading not just to the catching of fish, but to an act of creation, yielding a moment of transcendent quality, insight, self-knowledge, or other benefit” (204). I feel that this idea of “creation” is where the ecological underpinnings of fly fishing and fly fishing literature combine to enter the realm of environmental rhetoric as an active participant in a dialogue of cultural change and awareness.

Additionally, if we acknowledge the fly fisher’s environmental observances and seemingly animistic spiritual pursuits, it can be suggested that reading, writing, and participating in fly fishing can foster and enhance an ecological understanding and a physical or spiritual investment in the environment which breeds upon the individual a sense of stewardship and responsibility—even if only to perpetuate their ritualistic practices. The participant in fly fishing culture not only becomes more environmentally aware, but becomes a real stakeholder in the health and preservation of aquatic ecosystems. This essay shall argue that within fly fishing literature there is a tradition of exploring fly fishing as having an important spiritual and meditative role that carries a significant ecological and environmental message of mutual interdependence.

Paula Makris (Wheeling Jesuit University)
Faith, Salvation, and the Red Sox: Finding the Path in Stephen King’s The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon

In The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, Stephen King continues an American literary tradition of drawing a narrative parallel between the faith necessary for the followers of religion and the faith necessary for players and fans of sports. In his development of this narrative, King draws upon a recurring thematic topic in his work: the threat posed to a vulnerable child by malevolent forces. King’s young protagonist, Trisha McFarland, is simultaneously the iconic folktale figure of the child lost in the woods and a modern Boston Red Sox fan who is just superstitious enough to believe that if closing pitcher Tom Gordon can get the save in a game against the Yankees, Trisha will be able to save herself from the terrors of the wood. King undergirds this modern fairytale with a Christian allegory of conversion and salvation replete with the motif of the lost path, as well as blatantly providing the narrative with the structure of a baseball game, titling the chapters as innings and the preface and epilogue as pregame and postgame. Ultimately, King merges the allegorical meanings of the novel by setting a crucial episode—in which Trisha finally understands both how Tom Gordon is able to get the save and how she will be able to save herself—in an overgrown meadow, conjuring up both the literary concept of the pastoral as an idealized image of domestic nature in contrast with the wild wood and the Christian image of the savior as both shepherd and sheep. Trisha’s liminal experience in the forest allows her to emerge not only as a child who has left the world of innocence behind, but also—and more significantly—as a believer who had to lose the path in the woods in order to find her path in life.


Chair: Jeremy Larance

Matt Tettleton (Texas Christian University), Winner of the 2014 Lyle Olsen Graduate Student Essay Contest
Lunch Pails and Thugs: The Richard Sherman Saga, Sport Literature, and the Racial Discourse of American Sports

In the wake of the 2014 NFC Championship Game, the victorious Seattle Seahawk defensive back Richard Sherman ignited a debate by delivering a controversial postgame interview. Sherman’s attitude in the interview can be generously characterized as abundant in swagger, but many others saw his outspokenness as insulting. The most polarizing description of this interview invoked the word “thug,” and Sherman felt that the word was racially coded and incendiary. The reactions to Sherman and the debate about the racial characteristics of the word “thug” crystallize a longstanding practice of perpetuating racial narratives in the language of sports. In my essay, I use the Richard Sherman debate to investigate the extent to which racial narratives dating back to the dawn of American sports are still persistent in our games today. I examine the careers of contemporary athletes who are described by broadcasters, commentators, coaches, other players, and fans using racially coded language. I use two nonfiction books (William C. Rhoden’s Forty Million Dollar Slaves and H.G. Bissinger’s Friday Night Lights) to illustrate the historical tradition of these narratives and their adaptability to changing circumstances. I then present a Dallas-based Sports talk show (KTCK’s Bob and Dan Show—whose co-host Bob Sturm graciously granted me an interview for this study) as a powerful example of sport literature’s deconstructive power to challenge longstanding racial narratives.


Chair: Tim Morris

Richard McGehee (University of Texas)
Without a Winner: Julio Cortázar’s Todos los Fuegos el Fuego

Julio Cortázar began his writing career in Argentina, moving to Paris in 1951. In Paris, he produced most of his novels and stories which placed him in the group of the most highly regarded Latin American authors, including Jorge Luis Borges, Mario Vargas Llosa, Gabriel García Márquez, and Carlos Fuentes. Todos los Fuegos el Fuego was first published in 1966 in Cortázar’s story collection with the same title. Two plots develop independently but, at the same time, with interrelationships. One involves two gladiators, Marco and a giant black retiarius, battling in a provincial arena of ancient Rome. In the stands are the Roman proconsul, his wife, Irene, and his host, Licas, a wealthy local wine grower, and his wife. The proconsul knows Irene is attracted to Marco, and he has brought the gladiator to this arena for the express purpose of having her see him killed. The other plot takes place in two apartments in modern Paris. Roland Renoir is leaving his previous girlfriend, Jeanne, for a new lover, Sonia. Roland and Jeanne talk about the break-up by telephone as a distant voice on the line occasionally breaks in to interrupt their conversation reciting odd sequences of numbers. The two plots alternate between paragraphs and even without transition within paragraphs. In an unusual result for a gladiatorial fight, the two men kill each other. Jeanne dies by her own hand, and all the others are consumed by fire, as both the arena and Roland’s apartment burn.


Remarks: Tim Morris, Bob Hamblin, and Don Johnson


 Thursday, June 26


Chair: Duncan Jamieson

Joel Sronce (University of North Carolina)
Changing nothing but your life

Don DeLillo says of baseball, “The game doesn’t change the way you vote or comb your hair or raise your children. It changes nothing but your life.” My work began as a series of reflections—using college basketball’s presence in my life and my community as a foil to my own childhood experiences: the changing of my life. However, while still based on my youth, the paper has expanded to address other topics: basketball’s presence in sports writing; memory and sports-memory in today’s more accessible and objective consciousness; and, most importantly, to address weather in relation to sport, and the ability for the two to bind us to place, people and memory.

It is not a piece meant to ignore the current demons of college athletics in the United States, nor a call to action to unseat them, nor a reckless celebration that does no justice to either side of that issue. It is more personal than that, originally written for a local audience that can relate directly to the allusions of place and people. However, I am excited at its potential to give a more geographically diverse audience a sense of place, and the chance to relate to the role of sports in their reflections of youth and change. Out of my individual story, I bring into discussion the measures destined for sports and our memory of them.

Dennis Gildea (Springfield College)
They Can Play Basketball, but They Don’t Like Catholics

The Treasure Chest of Fun & Fact was a comic book published from 1946 to 1972. Sold by subscription to parochial school students throughout the United States, the book “was a response to the undesirable comic books of that time with the intent to use the comics format to teach tenets of both the Catholic faith and American patriotism.” Published bi-weekly, the Treasure Chest emphasized “themes of faith, family, and patriotism” especially as those themes were “related to sports, school, and saints” (Introduction to the archived collection housed at the Catholic University of America). A teenaged sports hero whose adventures spanned the decades in the publication was Chuck White. This essay is a close textual analysis of a Chuck White serialized story featured in the book from 17 January 1951 through June of that year. The story deals with Chuck’s spending a semester as an exchange student at a rural public high school. Normally, White attends a Catholic high school in a city, and he discovers upon arrival at his rural high school that his teammate-antagonist on the basketball court is “dead set against Catholics” and the majority of the people in the area are “suspicious of Catholics.” This essay examines the conflicts addressed in the episode, including a clash or urban and rural values and anti-Catholicism during the McCarthy era. Chuck, who expects to dazzle his rural teammates with his city playground basketball skills, discovers, “They can play basketball, but they don’t like Catholics,” an antagonism he eventually overcomes.

Bruce Pratt (University of Maine)
The Ba: The Great Antecedent

While ruminating on two of last year’s presentations, Bloody Sunday, Julian D’Arcy’s examination of the roots of American Football Fiction, and Steve Hanley’s look at the Palio Races of Sienna, I was struck by how elements of the Siena races and early Harvard football games resembled one of the oldest, if not the oldest, continuously contested sporting events in the world—The Ba.

The Ba is a game that has no hard and fast rules, and has evolved over the centuries. It was originally contested between Uppies and Doonies, the former mostly farmers and the latter generally fisherman, your team was decided by where you were born in Orkney (where the game is played on Christmas Day and Hogmanay—or New Year’s Day).

Lore place’s the Ba’s origins in a bloody folktale, but its absolute origins are difficult to identify. It is, however, rooted in clannish combat. Nowadays almost every Orkney man is born in the local hospital and teams are drawn along long established family lines. To an outsider, the game looks like mass chaos; much like the “football” described in the Harvard stories, but involves strength, strategy and cunning. The Ba is contested between Uppies and Doonies in the way that Harvard’s game pitted freshman and juniors against sophomores and seniors, and in the manner in which the clans of Siena race for their prize.

I will make the case that The Ba may be legitimately considered to be the original and perhaps primary organized antecedent to football, both Gaelic and American.


Chair: Julian D’Arcy

Gudrun Björk Guðsteinsdottir (University of Iceland)
An Exclusive Race

In this paper I will briefly introduce a short story about a young Icelander‘s participation in a marathon in Halifax and examine how the race serves as a metaphor for racial hierarchy which the author exposes and challenges. The story is in three parts, written in Icelandic by Johann Magnus Bjarnason (1866-1945) and published in 1910 in a collection called Spring Nights in Mooseland Hills [Vornaetur a Elgsheidum]. The author was ten when his family emigrated from Iceland to join a rather short-lived settlement that had been sectioned off for Icelandic immigrants in the Mooseland Hills in Nova Scotia. This was where Bjarnason spent his formative years until the settlement was deserted, his family being the last to move west after six years of trying to farm land that turned out not to be arable. Nova Scotia is central in Bjarnason’s early fiction, much of which deals with issues of national and social membership that he would obliquely interrogate through metaphor and allegory. In Bjarnason’s short story, an old Jew becomes the personal coach of the rather unpromising, careful and dour young Icelander, providing him with the opportunity of a lifetime. The story is curious. Bjarnason uses racial stereotyping in a most heavy-handed manner, but digs at its roots at the same time. Moreover, there are striking puns in the story once it is recounted in English that are not at all present in the Icelandic text.

Fred Mason (University of New Brunswick)
Always Moving Forward: Writing [and] Ultrarunning

This paper presents an auto-ethnographic look at the author’s deepening involvement with ultrarunning (training for and racing distances beyond 50 km). Based on narratives written around journal entries during training and racing, the author’s ongoing identity shift from “runner” to “ultrarunner,” is explored. Becoming an ultra-runner caused a clear shift from “one who runs and occasionally competes” to “ultra-runner,” with a corresponding shift in assumptions about the use of the body, pain and exhaustion. Layered on top of this is my work as an academic who is researching ultrarunning, with hosts of complications and levels of thinking that go with that. My own story has quite literally become an insertion point into the subculture of ultrarunners, and a means of connecting to other runners. The process of writing myself into the frame has been a key part in moving forward as both a researcher and a runner.


Chair: Joyce Duncan

Bob Hamblin (Southeast Missouri State University)
Brooklyn Boy in Mississippi

This creative nonfiction essay describes my boyhood love affair with the Brooklyn Dodgers. The only white person in my community, my school, and quite possibly the entire state of segregated Mississippi who cheered for one of the few major league teams that had African-American players on their rosters, I was reminded of this racial divide quite often on the school playground, frequently being scoffed at, and on more than one occasion being called a “nigger lover” by bullying classmates. The only other Dodgers’ fan I knew was John, the black handyman who worked for Prather Auto Company, the Ford and Standard Oil dealer in Baldwyn, where my father also worked. Looking back, I see John and me as comrades in arms, a white child and a middle-aged, deferential Negro, underdogs and confederates conducting guerrilla warfare against a prejudiced and unjust majority. I don’t recall ever being told his last name, but I shall never forget how his face brightened and his voice became more animated when we talked of Jackie, Campy, Newk, Pee Wee, and Gil. My loyalty to the Dodgers would ultimately prove as evanescent as my childhood, and their days in Brooklyn; but in cheering for them, I learned important lessons about racial equality and tolerance. I now realize that these sports heroes of my youth—black and white—were my first civil rights heroes. 

Tom Wells (Schreiner University)
Baseball’s Favorite Anarchist: Jeremiah Eversole and His Season with the Arkansas Reds

In Donald Hays’ The Dixie Association, one minor league baseball season serves as the medium for depicting a turning point in American culture and history. Using his political anger at the Deep South and its institutions in the 1980s, Hays creates the Arkansas Reds, a minor league baseball team that thumbs its collective noses at all that is southern. Managed by Lefty Marks, the Reds symbolize “America,” as Marks concocts a group of misfits, outcasts, and a few regular Joes. The Arkansas Reds personifies America’s melting pot: Blacks, Cherokees, a Muslim, Cubans, rednecks, a Jew, a San Blás Indian, a woman, and representing the ex-con faction of America, Hog Durham – the narrator. Although Hog symbolizes the anti-hero, protagonist, Jeremiah Eversole, the bastard San Blás Indian child of an Anglo mother, emerges as the most intriguing character in the novel. Eversole is the overpowering ace of the Reds and dominates the league, at times within the rules, but often outside them. In the season opener, a teammate sums up Eversole’s pitching repertoire. “All he knows is the shave and a shower.” The spitter may have been outlawed in baseball, but not in Eversole’s version of the game. As a person Eversole lives life as a loner. He expects nothing and gives nothing, except his pitching gift every fourth day. However, even with this simplistic way of existing in sport and society, Eversole is a complex character worth studying analyzing.

Jeremy Larance (West Liberty University)
Shticks with Big Sticks: Baseball and Barnstorming Golems in the Graphic Novels of James Sturm

James Sturm’s 2001 award-winning graphic novel, The Golem’s Mighty Swing, tells the story of the Stars of David Baseball Club, a fictionalized team inspired by a real baseball club called The House of David that barnstormed across the United States throughout the first half of the twentieth century. In this presentation, I will examine how Sturm uses the art of comics to weave a powerful narrative with themes related to Jewish mythology and assimilation into American culture.


Chair: Kyle Belanger

Paul Martin (MacEwan University)
“Place(s) where time and space have a different rhythm”: Hockey, Freedom, and Confinement in Richard Wagamese’s Indian Horse

While only part of Richard Wagamese’s Indian Horse is set within the walls of the St. Jerome’s Indian Residential School, the novel’s protagonist, Saul Indian Horse, is forever affected by all that happens to him there. Learning the game of hockey on the outdoor rink from a priest who teaches the boys to play, Saul finds freedom and, it seems, an escape from the harsh confines of the school built specifically to eradicate the students’ traditional cultures, languages, and ways of life. Saul’s apparent gift as “a seer,” inherited from his great grandfather, allows him to see the ice differently: “I could see not just the physical properties of the game and the action but the intent. If a player could control a measure of space, he could control the game. [. . .] I could see how a skater might move, where he might go to gain the advantage of space” (58). His remarkable talent allows Saul to leave the Residential School and eventually play for the Toronto Marlies, but the freedom that he finds with hockey is crushed by the racism he encounters in mainstream Canadian society and sport. This presentation will focus on the role space plays in the novel, in which two “sacred” places of mainstream Canadian culture, the church and the arena, irrevocably harm a young man and poison his love for the game.

Julian D’Arcy (University of Iceland)
Western Icelandic Saga: National Identity and Canadian Hockey in Cara Hedley’s Twenty Miles

Cara Hedley’s novel Twenty Miles (2007) has mostly been interpreted as a study of gender roles in sport and/or a bildungsroman as its young heroine Isabel Norris (Iz) tries to come to terms with her new life as a rookie on the Winnipeg University women’s hockey team, the Scarlets. Coming from a relatively secluded background as an only child brought up by her grandparents, Iz finds integrating with an all-female team fraught with new challenges of female bonding, having a boyfriend, and the sexual orientation of others after her previous experience of only playing with boys or on mixed gender teams. Moreover, as the daughter of a well-known hockey player (who died before she was born), Iz is also plagued by doubts as to her real enthusiasm and desires concerning hockey: is she merely fulfilling the dreams and ambitions of her grandparents, or is she skating competitively for her own satisfaction?

This paper argues, however, that the novel has even more dimensions than those mentioned above, for it can also be read as a young woman’s gradual acceptance of her identity, not only in gender and hockey terms, but also in regard to her ethnic heritage as a Western Icelander within a Canadian context. With a discreet, echoic use of Norse mythology and oblique references to the content of saga narratives, Hedley subtly substantiates Iz’s ethnic origins and gives a new perspective to her heroine’s yearning for personal fulfilment and identity as the offspring of a ‘Norse’ hockey legend, while also seeking recognition and acceptance in a multi-ethnic Canada.

Jamie Dopp (University of Victoria)
(Mis)Deeds of Gods and Heroes: The Summit Series and Religion

No abstract available.

Friday, June 27


Chair: Angie Abdou

  • Randall Maggs (Memorial University)
    reading from Night Work: The Sawchuk Poems
  • Jamie Dopp (University of Victoria)
    The Face Before the Mask: Thoughts on Randall Maggs’ Night Work: The Sawchuk Poems


Chair: Don Johnson

  • Angie Abdou (College of the Rockies)
    reading from Between, novel forthcoming from Arsenal Pulp Press (August 2014)
  • Mark Baumgartner (East Tennessee State University)
    reading from “Some Miles Back”
  • Joyce Duncan (East Tennessee State University)
    reading from Money Talks, Reprise 


JON TURK, 2012 National Geographic, Adventurer of the Year

Saturday, June 28


Chair: Fred Mason

Courtney Stanton (Temple University)
On the Cusp of a Paradigm Shift: Olympic Culture and Dis/Abled Identity

Abstract not available

Craig Riordan (Humboldt State University)
The Bottle That You Drink: Sports, Alcohol, and Societal Reflections

The intimate relationship between spectator sports and alcoholic beverages is as old as antiquity. You may remember the movie Quo Vadis when Emperor Nero (played by (Peter Ustinov) and Roman aristocrats sipped wine from golden goblets while enjoying gladiatorial contests and Christians being fed to lions. It seems likely that consuming alcohol has always been part of spectator sports and that relationship has never been closer than it is today. As the growth and economic influence of the sports and alcohol industries steadily increase, and as advertising and sponsorship rules and laws change, this relationship will continue to evolve and influence society.

What does the relationship between these two industries this say about us as fans, athletes, capitalists and society in general? This paper will examine the on-going relationship between professional sports and the alcohol industry and how these industries influence each other and how together, they influence society on a local, national, and international level.

I’ve always thought it interesting, living in an area with two National Football League franchises only twenty miles apart, that fans of one team are known for sipping fine Chardonnay while fans of the other team have gained a special notoriety for their talent in shot-gunning Bud Lite. Perhaps we may examine this together.


Chair: Dennis Gildea

Philip C. Wedge (University of Kansas)
“Bad Shots” or “amiable Young Men”: Sport in the Minor Works of Jane Austen

Both Jane Austen’s juvenilia and her existing early novel fragments, “Lady Susan” and “The Watsons,” feature sport, in particular field sports, in their narratives, and even her unfinished final novel, “Sanditon,” concerns in part the healthful “exercises” of walking and “sea-bathing.” Just as in her major novels, Austen’s minor works often feature men who define their characters in part by the way they pursue sporting endeavors such as hunting, shooting, and playing card games. Characters such as Lord Osborne and Tom Musgrave, potential suitors in “The Watsons,” serve as pre-cursers to the hunting enthusiasts of novels such as Sense and Sensibility and Northanger Abbey, while Thomas Parker’s enthusiasm for the health benefits of exercise echoes, in a satirical manner, the genuine interest Edmund Bertram shows in improving Fanny Price’s health through horseback riding in Mansfield Park. Through such comparisons, I intend to trace the intricate patterns of sporting life which connect the minor works of Jane Austen to her major ones.

Richard McGehee (University of Texas)
Magical Soccer: Marcelo Cohen’s Fantasía Española

Marcelo Cohen lives in Buenos Aires, where he writes novels, stories, essays, and reviews, translates literature from several languages (including directing a project to translate the complete works of Shakespeare), and co-directs the Argentinean literary journal Otra Parte. He’s planning to publish his collected short stories, which will include “Fantasía Española.” The story opens in the home of Atalanio Galissou, a star player of Toviel, the local soccer club. Galissou consults a small directory and then dials the number of Señor Palomera, a minor town official. The rest of the story involves their telephone conversation. Galissou tries to explain his recent failure to score a penalty kick that would have won the championship of the regional league for Toviel. His description of what happened takes on fantastic attributes, including the opposing goalkeeper converted into a fearsome lion and the actions of an ancient sorcerer who appeared on the scene. At first, Palomera seems not to recognize who Galissou is, but later he reveals that he’s quite familiar with the circumstances of the fateful final game. As Galissou’s account of the failed kick develops, Palomera expresses some understanding and encourages Galissou in the telling of his story, but eventually he turns on Galissou with harsh criticism. Galissou weathers the storm of Palomera’s remarks, hangs up, and, considering whether he should proceed, lifts the receiver and dials another number.

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