Randy Roberts and James Olson in their book, Winning is the Only Thing: Sports in America since 1945, explored the world of sports since the end of world war II. Their book covers the many aspects of sports, from the athletes and management to the fans and the media. The authors first make clear differences in the way people viewed sports before the war and how they did after the war. The book talks a lot about the astounding transformation of sports in America during the post war era. The objective of sports before world war II matched up to the original idea of such games. Athletes, for the most part, “played “to do just that- every sports as their hobbies (Roberts, Olson xi) games were intended to be fun for the players; and just as a board game of “candy land,” sports were activities in which the game was on the court, field, diamond, or whatever the ” game board” was.
The minds of people were filled with war and the everyday challenges of life (xi).
Thus, people found sports to be a way of escape from all that they faced fans as well as athletes. However, in a matter of a few years the entertainment of sports changed dramatically. After World War II, it could be said that Americans put their identity, worth, and security in sports. They felt the need to stand up to the world to show them who their country was and what it stood for. “Americans came to take sports very seriously, and they watched and played for the highest economic, politic, and personal stakes” (xii).
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other countries began to represent themselves through sports as well; and, in a sense, the war continued though the means of these “games.” Especially in the Olympics, whole countries fought to win and be seen as the superior. Sports was a way of, not only representing pride in the athletes, but also a way of showing the world who its government, communities, families, and all that America stood for. Roberts and Olson describe athletes during this era as national soldiers of sport (19) as in the defeat of war, when America lost in the name of sports, it was in no way gone unnoticed by the majority of the country. For America, losing many of the medals during the 1960 Olympic games was a reason to make excuses for such an unfortunate happening of the country (22. ) In addition, sports that followed 1945 had a huge impact on the black community. After much exclusion, opposition, and racial oppression, African-Americans were slowly but surely integrated into American sports.
The country was in search of becoming bigger and better in the eyes of the world; and eventually, sport authorities began to understand the talent that many blacks could offer their teams. This was a significant part of the civil rights movement, as sports too many black- Americans out of the ghetto life and into highlight of society (187).
African-American athletes became heroes and role models for their community, which was a privilege Blacks barely had at all. In addition, as media began to make athletes more known and the country, its cities and colleges began to realize that athletes represented much of who they were, their careers advanced and their income increased drastically. (70, 160).
Compared to the pre-war period, athletes were considered much more as idols and the center of people’s lives. Therefore, media focused on what society was interested in, which was their identity in sports. To sum up Roberts and Olson’s main point could best be said in the following: In America, sports were not games anymore, no were they in Olympic competition. Ideologies, systems, religions, races, and nation states all turned to the Olympics for evidence-proof- that they were as powerful or as true or as inevitable as they claimed to be. The cultural currency of American sports-money, power, identity, and status-had colonized the Olympic Games (210).
... pre-war situations of any countries but the United States, and does not asses American military involvement during the First World War Summary ... Of Sources Robert H Zieger: America’s Great War: World War One and the American Experience Origins- (2000) Zieger is a respected ... used in the essay, America’s Great War: World War One and the American Experience by Robert H. Ziegler and Woodrow Wilson ...
Winning is the only thing: sports in America since 1945 has helped me to realize how much a world war can alter even the world of sports. Prior to reading this book, I viewed sports as the involvement of merely athletes and fans. I saw a team that had excited supporting fans as only a bunch of people existed about the sport and the players they enjoyed watching and rooting for. I now better understand how much an impact sports has had, and still has, on America and the world. I learned that sports sincerely represented countries for who they were (are) in the eyes of the world. For the most part, fans included every American all cheering for their own.
In addition, I better grasp the effect a war can have on the country and the world; and that it does not just effect the thought of citizens or have an impact on those fighting or only on the government. A war does not end when it is “over,” but rather continues for a long time after. Sixty years later, world war II continues- maybe not on the battlefield but through other means such as sports. I really enjoyed reading the chapter,” The integration of American Sports” the most because it was of great interest to me. I am always interested in learning new things about the experience that the African-American has been through [ as well as other ethnic groups], and so I learned much I did not know before. It was absolutely terrible, yet not surprising, the injustice that Blacks went through and the lack of credit they received from white athletes, coaches, and managers.
And even once they did begin to integrate into sports, it still took an incredible amount of time to be fully integrated in the 1960 s and 1970 s (Roberts, Olson 187).
It brought to my mind, the reality of what is happening today. Now that black-Americans are accepted [much more] in sports, they are largely not accepted in other parts of society. This compares to the lack of acceptance in sports that they previously experienced. It is my hope that, just as sports was integrated; other parts of society will continue to do so. For the most part, I enjoyed reading…
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I thought Roberts and Olson discussed vital information / history that is important for understanding what sports really is today. It is helpful in broadening one’s view of the effects of war; and also brings interesting topics to the table [of war] that one may not first think would be included. Although there are many details of dates, names, cities, etc, which can make reading tedious, the book is beneficial for sharing what has happened in the world of sports since 1945.