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  • Originally published 09/08/2017

    God and the Gridiron Game

    Paul Putz and Hunter Hampton

    America's obsession with football is nearly as old as the game itself.

  • Originally published 10/24/2016

    6 Great World Series!

    Mark Weisenmiller

    For over one hundred years, major league baseball’s World Series has both thrilled fans and reflected historical and societal changes in the United States.

  • Originally published 04/21/2013

    Murder! Madness! Terror!

    Walter Laqueur

    A member of the Palestinian terrorist group Black September during the infamous Munich Olympic massacre in 1972.During the ancient Olympic games a sacred truce (ekecheiria, the stress on the penultimate syllable -- literally a holding of hands) prevailed. It was an elaborate procedure: runners (spondophoroi) were sent out all over Greece to announce the beginning of the truce which lasted a month and sometimes longer. Violators were heavily punished. In the High Middle Ages the Treuga Dei, the truce of God imposed by the church, persisted for centuries. On certain days there was to be no fighting and certain categories of people were never to be attacked. This armistice, not specifically connected with sports, was universally respected. 

  • Originally published 03/25/2013

    LiDAR survey reveals ancient playing fields in Mexico

    Archaeologists in Mexico say they have uncovered three ancient playing fields at a pre-Hispanic site in the eastern state of Veracruz.They found the courts, dating back some 1,000 years, at the Tajin World Heritage site by using laser scanners (LiDAR). They believe the fields would have been used to play pelota, a game in which players used their hips to propel a rubber ball through stone hoops. The sport was widely played by Mayan and other pre-Columbian people. Experts from the National Institute for Anthropology and History (INAH) said the use of aerial photography, remote sensors and laser scanners had made it possible to find the ancient structures, hidden by layers of soil and dense vegetation....

  • Originally published 03/13/2013

    Samuel Walker: Dropping the Ball on Academics and Tradition in the ACC

    Samuel Walker is a professional historian and the author of “ACC Basketball: The Story of the Rivalries, Traditions, and Scandals of the First Two Decades of the Atlantic Coast Conference.”The Atlantic Coast Conference celebrates the 60th anniversary of its men’s basketball tournament next week. The tournament is an iconic event in ACC history, but its glory days are an increasingly distant memory. It no longer fills arenas even when tickets are offered to the general public.As the ACC approaches the end of its sixth decade, the decline of the tournament’s popularity is a symptom of other problems. The most troubling is that conference realignment raises serious questions about whether the ACC will continue to benefit from the traditions that made it great.The ACC was founded May 7, 1953, for two major reasons: to create a sound balance between academic and athletic programs and to improve the football stature of member schools by providing opportunities to play in bowl games....

  • Originally published 02/13/2013

    Wrestling ousted from Olympics

    ...International Olympic Committee leaders dropped wrestling from the Summer Games on Tuesday. The move is set to take effect for the 2020 Olympics and eliminates a sport that has been a staple of both the ancient and modern games. Though wrestling's chances of making it back onto the Olympic program by 2020 are considered slim, the sport has two chances left to stop the drop.Wrestling was voted out from a final group that also included modern pentathlon, taekwondo and field hockey, officials familiar with the vote told The Associated Press. They spoke on condition of anonymity because the voting details were not made public.But the IOC executive board will meet in May in St. Petersburg, Russia, to decide which sport or sports to propose for 2020 inclusion. The final vote will be made at the IOC session, or general assembly, in September in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

  • Originally published 09/13/2016

    The Paralympics: A History of Inclusion and Inspiration

    Steve Hochstadt

    The athletic performances of the thousands of Paralympic athletes in Rio, far exceeding what most “normal” athletes could accomplish, make the word handicapped seem inappropriate. They have achieved much more: pride in what their bodies can do, rather than shame for what they can’t.

  • Originally published 04/26/2016

    Women in the Boston Marathon

    Steve Hochstadt

    Women were banned from the Boston Marathon. Into the 1960s, athletic authorities claimed women were incapable of running that distance. The longest AAU-sanctioned race for women was 1.5 miles. Women could not compete further than 800 meters in the Olympics.

  • Originally published 06/28/2014

    50 Years of Mischief: The Triumph and Trashing of the Civil Rights Act

    Liberty and Power

    July 2 marks the 50th anniversary of the most famous Civil Rights Act in U.S history. Passed after the longest debate in congressional history, the Civil Rights Act (CRA) promised to secure justice for all regardless of race, color, creed, sex, or national origin. As I wrote in Race and Liberty: The Essential Reader, the law “was understood to mean ‘colorblindness’ by nearly every observer at the time.” The plain meaning of the act might be summed up as: “Nondiscrimination. Period.”