American Sports And Athletic Programs Essay

1034 Words Nov 13th, 2015 null Page
While sports has always provided entertainment and escape for participants and spectators alike, much of its cultural importance lies in its frequent use as a metaphor not only for American democracy (see the above quote from F.T. Miller), but individual fulfillment. In his essay explaining the cultural context in which American sports literature was created, Wiley Lee Umphlett describes how in the early 20th century, when a large number of American schools first incorporated physical education and athletic programs, sports were used to indoctrinate schoolchildren with the importance of hard work and discipline. Sports, with its emphasis on competition and teamwork, were used as a tool to prepare children for the so-called, “game of life.” (12) The metaphor of sports as the “game of life” was largely created and perpetuated by writers, and came to be a defining theme of early works of sports literature.
Within this context emerged John Tunis, considered by many to be one of the founding fathers of American sports literature. Starting with The Kid From Tomkinsville, the first of his popular series about the Brooklyn Dodgers, Tunis produced a series of sports novels that were not only popular among young boys, but also espoused an ideology that was emblematic of Umphlett’s aforementioned “game of life” metaphor. “A fella gets out of baseball just what he puts into it,” says Dave Leonard, the wise, veteran catcher, to Roy Tucker, the superstar “kid” referenced in the novel’s…

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