THE BIG GAME: College Sports and American Life by Edwin H. Cady

THE BIG GAME: College Sports and American Life

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As inaccessibly highbrow as it is honorably high-minded about the role of college football and basketball, Cady's informed manifesto rates a counterproductive A for effort. It glorifies the Big Game as an agonic/fraternal dialectic, an ""egosyntonic"" experience for the player, correspondingly ""enculturative"" for the audience; as a genuine art form, as folklore, as ritual complete with liturgy and renewal. Cady's erudition takes him wide afield as he elucidates his claims for the Game with long, obfuscatory citations from such strange bookfellows as--randomly--Santayana, Lorenz, Erich Fromm, Ruth Benedict (on the niceties of the Kwakiutl potlatch!), Johann Huizinga, Samuel Morison, Reinhold Niebuhr, Lewis Thomas, Walt Whitman, Dickinson, Frost. Even the most sportsmanly of readers will have quit before half-time, which is just about when Cady the English professor (now at Duke) retires--in favor of Cady the faculty representative to university athletic committees and intercollegiate conferences. And while he still doesn't plainspeak, he does capitalize on thorough, firsthand knowledge in addressing a hypothetical new college president on nitty-gritty issues of the Big Game: coaching, recruitment, costs, public relations, women's athletics, black students' problems. . . all followed by recommendations for governing college sports by his by-words--reality, authenticity, and integrity. If the book were bound in two volumes, the second could be unhesitatingly recommended for its rectitude, at least to practitioners in all arenas of student athletics; as constituted, however, it's anomalous and abstruse.

Pub Date: Oct. 21st, 1978
Publisher: Univ. of Tennessee Press