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Game Over: How Politics Has Turned the Sports World Upside Down Paperback – January 29, 2013
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In his enlightening essay collection, Nation columnist and author Zirin (Welcome to the Terrordome) employs common sense and research to show that politics and sports are entangled, whether it’s members of the Green Bay Packers supporting the collective bargaining rights of Wisconsin’s public workers or the Phoenix Suns donning Los Suns’ uniforms to protest Arizona’s controversial, immigrant-obsessed law, SB 1070. . . . Zirin steadfastly demonstrates how the games we watch are not just an escape from the everyday: they are a reflection that provides a perfect opportunity for protest and change.”
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Top Customer Reviews
"Game Over" is mostly a snapshot of sports and society from 2010 to 2012. The Occupy movement looms large, as does the Arab Spring, World Cup, Jeremy Lin mania, and Penn State child rape scandal. All are grist for Zirin's mill, but they also reveal the beauty of his formula. American athletics, at least in its current institutional forms, can be counted on to produce a steady stream of fresh outrage.
One can quibble with Zirin's analysis, but what other American journalist is writing about the revolutionary role of Egyptian soccer hooligans? Who else is remotely interested in the hidden costs of the Olympics and World Cup, especially for workers and activists in host countries? Whether or not you accept his arguments, Zirin consistently calls our attention to the social context and significance of sports, and "Game Over" keeps that streak alive.
The book opens with a narrative of how NFL and NBA owners both sought at essentially the same time a massive transfer of the proceeds of these games from players to the owners. This is greed run amok, not unlike the greed that led to the global meltdown in 2007-2008. The NFL owners locked out the players, but the players' association was able to draw connections to the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations and helped themselves get past the general meme that billionaires and millionaires were duking it out over who got more of the lucrative NFL pie. The players especially tied themselves to the thousands of service industry workers who made they livings at the stadiums, bars, restaurants, and other work associated with game day. By emphasizing that the players were working stiffs, albeit well-paid ones for very short average careers, as opposed to those who own the teams and suck local communities dry in stadium deals and exploit workers across the board, the players gained the upper hand in negotiations.Read more ›
The first chapter begins with the Green Bay Packers – so of course, how could I not love that – and the connections between the Packers, the NFL Lockout, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and the Occupy Movement. Other chapters cover soccer and the Arab Spring, the Olympics and a global movement towards police states, and the NCAA and labor.
The most powerful chapter is the one on Joe Paterno and the sports world’s willingness to turn its eyes from very terrible wrongs. As Zirin points out, “this is what happens when a football program becomes the economic, social, and spiritual heartbeat of an entire region.” I have no doubt that had this book been written a few months later, that chapter would have included conversation about Stubenville as well.
The chapter on “Sexuality and Sports” highlights far more than just your average “woman aren’t treated equally” view. Zirin gets into everything from the ultra-sexualization of some women athletes to the full gender spectrum that includes more than those on the outer edges of masculine and feminine. If you were to pick up this book and only read 2 chapters, I’d definitely suggest this one and the one on Paterno.
As I said, Game Over is mostly well-written. It’s sprinkled throughout with a little too much of Zirin’s own politics. These things can be glossed over for the most part, until you get to the last chapter.Read more ›
Of the good Zirin's take on the soccer ultras (hooligans) of Egypt being involved in the Arab Spring is both accurate reporting and something the lamestream media completely missed. I also enjoyed his look at the Sandusky scandal at Penn State.
Where he totally lost me was on commenting about the World Cup Finals and Olympics. Sure the money could be better spent elsewhere, and both FIFA and the IOC are corrupt as anything but he got Vancouver 2010 completely wrong. Quoting a single Customs officer complaining about $5,000 hockey tickets is just hearsay. As someone who got all sorts of men's hockey tickets in the lottery (including both semi-finals) as well as through the official Games site at cost during the Olympics (for even a quarter-final) it was very easy to get tickets for games NOT involving Canada. Even so we saw Canada play three times through those tix we scored through the lottery system. You just need to get EVERYONE you know to apply as that's something we learned back in the time of soccer's 1994 USA World Cup Finals. We even managed after the Games started to get tickets to speed skating, short track speed skating and curling all at cost through the official site.
He also fails to mention that under California state law, no public money can be used to build any pro sports stadiums, ballparks or arenas. When he devotes a huge chunk of the book to the ridiculous public spending on these sports playgrounds, he forgets to mention that at all when referring to the situation he focuses on in that particular state.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Insightful and thought provoking. A very good look into the world of sports and how "business" can influence even the most basic decisions.Published 7 months ago by John T. Melvin Jr.
Quality book in fine condition delivered in a timely way. Thanks.Published 7 months ago by thomas e.
Very informative book, it opens your mind to various social issues that protrudes the world of sports while altering your reality at the same timePublished 11 months ago by joseph hamilton
Zirin argues only certain actions by teams are heroic....so long as they fit in with his personal political views. Read morePublished 21 months ago by LazloKovacs
I bought this book after seeing an interview with Mr. Zirin by Bill Moyers. It seemed a bit too high on the hyperbole for my taste.Published 23 months ago by r
Zirin does an amazing job of connecting the impact that politics has on sports and vice versa. If you are love sports and are looking for an intriguing read, this book is it.Published on February 5, 2014 by Jahmal Williams
very interesting book written to show the evolution of what has happened to sports -
always ends up "the money, the power"