- 14,99 €
In Body Politic, David Shields looks at contemporary America and its mythology through the lens of professional and college sports. The result is an unusually insightful and provocative book about an empire in denial. Shields relentlessly examines the way we tell our sports stories (both fictional and nonfictional), considers the kinds of athletes we choose as heroes, and delineates the lessons and values we glean from sports. He explores the intricate and telling relationships between players and coaches, black and white players, immigrant and native players, male and female players, players and broadcasters, players and fans, and players and advertisers. In the process, he shows us the stories we Americans tell ourselves about the kind of people we believe ourselves to be.
As a professional sportswriter, Shields (Black Planet: Facing Race During an NBA Season) does more than simply record wins and losses, and in this volume, he takes a serious look at how Americans view sports. He analyzes the temperament, behavior and attitudes of both players and coaches. He is especially interested in clashes--racial, cultural and regional. When writing about basketball, Shields wonders about the prevalence of black players, many of whom grew up without a father. As he discusses the skirmishes between blacks and whites, he observes,"Black players, especially, get tired of, especially, white coaches yipping at them. Players complain that most coaches don't speak to them 'man to man' most coaches can't fathom how their tirades can carry racial connotations to players." With stylish prose, Shields also discusses, among others, basketball legend Charles Barkley, Seattle Mariners' right fielder Ichiro Suzuki, and Kayla Burt, a college basketball player whose promising career was curtailed by heart surgery. Shields's polished writing and his coverage of more significant matters than just a win--race relations, teamwork, etc.--is solid. Had the book a more unified theme, instead of reading like individual essays, it would have wider appeal.