Washington, DC, is best known for its politics and monuments, but sport has always been an integral part of the city, and Washingtonians are among the country’s most avid sports fans. DC Sports gathers seventeen essays examining the history of sport in the nation’s capital, from turn-of-the-century venues such as the White Lot, Griffith Stadium, and DC Memorial Stadium to Howard-Lincoln Thanksgiving Day football games of the roaring twenties; from the surprising season of the 1969 Washington Senators to the success of Georgetown basketball during the 1980s. This collection covers the field, including public recreation, high-school athletics, intercollegiate athletics, professional sports, sports journalism, and sports promotion.
A southern city at heart, Washington drew a strong color line in every facet of people’s lives. Race informed how sport was played, written about, and watched in the city. In 1962, the Redskins became the final National Football League team to integrate. That same year, a race riot marred the city’s high-school championship game in football. A generation later, race as an issue resurfaced after Georgetown’s African American head coach John Thompson Jr. led the Hoyas to national prominence in basketball.
DC Sports takes a hard look at how sports in one city has shaped culture and history, and how culture and history inform sports. This informative and engaging collection will appeal to fans and students of sports and those interested in the rich history of the nation’s capital.
Chris Elzey teaches in the History and Art History Department at George Mason University. He oversees the sport and American culture minor and is codirector of the Center for the Study of Sport and Leisure in Society.
David K. Wiggins is a professor and codirector of the Center for the Study of Sport and Leisure in Society at George Mason University. He is the coeditor of Beyond C. L. R. James: Shifting Boundaries of Race and Ethnicity in Sports and editor of Rivals: Legendary Matchups That Made Sports History and Out of the Shadows: A Biographical History of African American Athletes
“DC Sports would be a useful addition to undergraduate courses in sports history, sociology, and African American studies.”
—Journal of Sport History, Summer 2016
“The District of Columbia’s rich history of sport and its cultural impact on community is explored in this compelling assortment …. A great read and should be on every sports fan’s bookshelf.”
“Scholars Chris Elzey and David K. Wiggins demonstrate a fine eye for stories as well as an instinct for what is important. The book has something for everyone.”
—Randy Roberts, author of A Team for America and Rising Tide
Sport, Culture, and Society is a series from the University of Arkansas Press that publishes monographs and collections for academics and general readers in the humanities and social sciences. Its focus is the role of sport in the development of community and the forging of individual, local, regional, and national identities.
Sport is an extraordinarily important phenomenon that pervades the lives of many people and has enormous impact on society in an assortment of different ways. At its most fundamental level, sport has the power to bring people great joy and satisfy their competitive urges while at once allowing them to form bonds and a sense of community with others from diverse backgrounds and interests and various walks of life. Sport also makes clear, especially at the highest levels of competition, the lengths that people will go to achieve victory as well as how closely connected it is to business, education, politics, economics, religion, law, family, law, family, and other societal institutions. Sport is, moreover, partly about identity development and how individuals and groups, irrespective of race, gender, ethnicity or socioeconomic class, have sought to elevate their status and realize material success and social mobility.
Sport, Culture, and Society seeks to promote a greater understanding of the aforementioned issues and many others. Recognizing sport’s powerful influence and ability to change people’s lives in significant and important ways, the series focuses on topics ranging from urbanization and community development to biography and intercollegiate athletics. It includes both monographs and anthologies that are characterized by excellent scholarship, accessible to a wide audience, and interesting and thoughtful in design and interpretations. Singular features of the series are authors and editors representing a variety of disciplinary areas and who adopt different methodological approaches. The series also includes works by individuals at various stages of their careers, both sport studies scholars of outstanding talent just beginning to make their mark on the field and more experienced scholars of sport with established reputations.
The series is edited by David K. Wiggins.
1. The Extraordinary History of Cycling and Bike Racing in Washington, DC
2. Less Than Monumental: The Sad History of Sports Venues in Washington, DC
Ryan A. Swanson
3. The Biggest “Classic” of Them All: The Howard and Lincoln Thanksgiving Day Football Games, 1919–29
David K. Wiggins
4. Teeing Off against Jim Crow: Black Golf and Its Early Development in Washington, DC
Marvin P. Dawkins and Jomills Henry Braddock II
5. Shirley Povich and the Tee Shot That Helped Launch DC Sportswriting
6. Between the Lines: Women’s Sports and the Press in Washington, DC
Claire M. Williams and Sarah K. Fields
7. Exercising Civil Rights: Public Recreation and Racial Segregation in Washington, DC, 1900–49
Martha H. Verbrugge
8. “The Greatest High School Basketball Game Ever Played”: DeMatha vs. Power Memorial, 1965
9. Whips, Darts, and Dips: The Rollercoaster Ride of Men’s Professional Soccer in Washington, DC
Charles Parrish and John Nauright
10. Uniting a Divided City: The 1969 Washington Senators
Stephen J. Walker
11. George Allen, Richard Nixon, and the Washington Redskins: The Drive to Win in an Era of Stalemate
Stephen H. Norwood
12. A Little Big Man, a Fat Lady, and the Bullets’ Remarkable Season
13. Assuming “Its Place among the Ice Hockey Centers of the Nation”: The Capitals and Hockey in Washington, DC
14. “The People’s Race”: The Marine Corps Marathon and Distance Running in the Nation’s Capital
Joseph M. Turrini
15. Georgetown Basketball in Reagan’s America
16. Washington Baseball Fans: Losers No More
James R. Hartley
17. Washington Sports Memories, Personal and Collective
Daniel A. Nathan