San Francisco Bay Area Sports brings together fifteen essays covering the issues, controversies, and personalities that have emerged as northern Californians recreated and competed over the last 150 years. The area’s diversity, anti-establishment leanings, and unique and beautiful natural surroundings are explored in the context of a dynamic sporting past that includes events broadcast to millions or activities engaged in by just a few.
Professional and college events are covered along with lesser-known entities such as Oakland’s public parks, tennis player and Bay Area native Rosie Casals, environmentalism and hiking in Marin County, and the origins of the Gay Games. Taken as a whole, this book clarifies how sport is connected to identities based on sexuality, gender, race, and ethnicity. Just as crucial, the stories here illuminate how sport and recreation can potentially create transgressive spaces, particularity in a place known for its nonconformity.
Rita Liberti is a professor in the Department of Kinesiology and director of the Center for Sport and Social Justice on the California State University, East Bay campus in Hayward. Her primary area of expertise is women’s twentieth-century sport history.
Maureen M. Smith is a professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Health Science at California State University, Sacramento. She teaches courses in sport history and sport sociology. Her research areas include twentieth-century African American sport history, the Olympic Games, and sport statues.
Winner, 2018 NASSH Anthology Award
“This set of well-crafted essays sheds light on The San Francisco Bay area as an area of innovation and pioneering in the areas of sports and leisure. Fifteen essays cover a wide swath of territory, but they succeed in illuminating not just the sporting history of the region but a sense of the unique political and social landscape as well. … This collection is meant to explain the sporting history of hte bay area, but this engaging collection can also serve as a survey of what sport and leisure history can be.”
—Richard D. Loosbrock, Journal of Sport History, Summer 2018
“With the Golden State Warriors seemingly poised to capture the NBA Finals, an achievement that would consolidate and continue the ways the franchise recently has re-written NBA history, now is the perfect time to reconsider the place of the Bay Area in sport history. Sport studies scholars Rita Liberti and Maureen M. Smith, fortunately, have provided us with a timely volume. Featuring fifteen essays, San Francisco Bay Area Sport: Golden Gate Athletics, Recreation, and Community is a satisfying survey of the Bay Area sporting scene. Spanning over 150 years of sporting sites and symbols, the volume both confirms and challenges our understanding of the historical function of sport in the San Francisco Bay Area, while also making broader contributions to American sport historiography. In particular, Liberti and Smith should be applauded for including essays that introduce a striking diversity athletes and an expansive conception of sport. The equal space given to women’s sport and female athletes especially strengthens the volume. The composition of the volume echoes the atypicality associated with the Bay Area, foregrounding manifestations and practitioners of sport often overlooked in academic studies.”
—Sport in American History, June 2017
“The stories of these sporting people and practices contain insightful analyses of political, class-based, environmental, racial, ethnic, gender, and sexuality issues that continue to be played out in the world of sport today. Creates a palpable sense of place for those familiar with the area only through media representations, and also rings true for those of us who have ever called the Bay Area home.”
—Alison M. Wrynn, California State University
“San Francisco Bay Area Sports merits extensive attention. It provides valuable information and insights that too few people are aware of regarding what games, sports, and other physical activities can contribute to individuals and society.”
—Roberta J. Park, University of California, Berkeley
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.