Schultz, Julianne, ed.: Our sporting life: Griffith Review 53

Schultz, Julianne, ed.

‘Our sporting life’, Griffith Review, 53, August 2016, available online to subscribers

Collection of essays on something which, we are told, ‘lies at the heart of what it means to be Australian’.

At a time when sport is under scrutiny like never before, this collection maps and examines how sport is located at the heart of contemporary debates about race, gender, violence and corruption. Barely a week goes by, it seems, without some new violation of socially accepted standards of behaviour. Our sporting bodies, players and administrators are increasingly vigilant and accountable; the wrong phrase at the wrong time can lead to a massive loss of sponsorship dollars. (blurb)

Authors include Gideon Haigh, Colin Tatz, Tracey Holmes, Annie Zaidi, Sean Dorney, Stuart Glover, Ellen van Neerven, Scott Rankin, Josh Chiat, Barry Judd, Gregory Phillips, Matthew Klugman, and others.

GR 53 is reviewed for Honest History by Derek Abbott, who concludes:

The contributions to this collection demonstrate the vitality of writing about sport in Australia and the positives that can flow from sport at its best. Sadly, elite sport exemplifies much of the worst and it is missing a huge opportunity to contribute productively to society rather than merely profiting from it.

There have been extracts in The Conversation and Guardian Australia. Serendipitously, there was a view of one arena of sport, the Rio Olympics, by Sean Kelly in The Monthly Today. Finally, it is worth noting the TV promotions referring to ‘our Olympic heroes’. Something similar always happens at Olympics time but perhaps the angle works even better in the era of Great War commemoration. Jim Davidson pointed out in 2008 that the link between sport and war is ill-made. But he admitted we are ‘living in a jockracy’.

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