Monday, August 11, 2008

To Young Men's Concern for Athletics

When the poet, Bacchylides, writes in 5 BCE "Peace gives young men's concern for athletics", he celebrates the tradition of sports and he sings of the importance of a community at peace. Bacchylides dedicates the poem bellow to Apollo, known as the first victor of the foremost Olympic games. A partial translation of his poem, found in the LRB, reads
Peace gives birth to great wealth for mortals
to the flowers of honey-sweet songs,
to sacrifices for the gods –
thighs of oxen and fleecy sheep
burning in a blond flame on decorated altars –
to young men’s concern for athletics, ...
As news of the U.S. gold-medal speed skating champion, Joey Cheek, and the revocation of his visa for China by Chinese officials, imbues our popular press coverage, I am again reminded of the convergence of politics, athletics, and war.

Sports journalists, accustomed to the routine self-aggrandizement with which competition winners normally greet the press, rightly gushed over Cheek, when he not only donated his prize for refugees of Darfur, but also uses his media attention to spread the news about Darfur.

By the way, if Bacchylides were alive today, surely he would say 'people's concern for athletics' rather than 'men's concern for athletics'. At the 2008 Olympics, women compete in each of the sports. The Urbana Free hopes to inspire everybody's sport hero fantisies, along with your peace of mind. To this measure, I've picked out some of our best films and books about sports.


Cool Runnings : The comedy hit inspired by the true story of Jamaica's first Olympic bobsled team.
on the main floor in the VHS section of the Entertainment collection VCV/COO/2305

Diana Guzman is always fighting, whether at home in the housing projects with her abusive dad, or at high school. She finds a new outlet for her anger at her brother's boxing gym. With hard-core training from veteran boxing coach Hector, Diana learns she has the guts and talent to be a contender.
on the main floor in the DVD section of the Entertainment collection DVD/GIR/5104

Hoop Dreams : Filmed over a five-year period, this documentary follows the lives of two inner-city kids with aspirations to play professional basketball.
upstairs in the DVD section Educational and Documentary Films Section DVD/796.323/HOO/433

One Day in September
This is the true story of the murder of 11 Israeli athletes by terrorists during the 1972 Olympics in Munich, Germany. From terrorist training in Libya to the terrorists sneaking into the Olympic Village to the tension-filled negotiations to the shocking conclusion at a German airport. Told with actual video shot during the crisis.
upstairs in the VHS section of our Educational and Documentary Films Collection VCV/796.48/ONE/2206

Pumping Iron (25th Anniversary Special Edition) : Starring five-time Mr. Olympia Arnold Schwarzenegger, the movie followed the 28 year old bodybuilder in 1977 as he competed for his sixth title, creating an international sensation and launching a multi-million dollar career.
upstairs in the DVD section of our Educational and Documentary Films Collection DVD/796.41/PUM/220

The story of the surviving members of the Viennese Hakoah sports club women's swim team, a world-dominating competitor in the 1930s.
upstairs in the DVD section of our Educational and Documentary Films Collection

When We Were Kings : A documentary on Mohammad Ali at the time of the famous 1974 "Rumble in the Jungle" match with George Forman in Zaire. Includes a music festival featuring America's top African American performers, James Brown and B.B. King.
upstairs in the DVD section of our Educational and Documentary Films Collection DVD/796.83/WHE/882


The Basket Counts
(Matt Christopher Sports Classics) by Matthew F Christopher
in the juvenile fiction section of the Children's Department, basement level j811.54/ADO

Biting the Apple by Lucy Jane Bledsoe
on the main floor in the General Fiction section F/Bledsoe

Bleachers by John Grisham
on the main floor in the General Fiction section F/Grisham

Dairy Queen : a novel by Catherine Murdock
on the main floor in the Young Adult Fiction section Y/Murdock

Ruffians: A Novel by Tim Green
on the main floor in the General Fiction section F/Green

Semi-tough by Dan Jenkins
on the main floor on the back wall in the Paper Back Fiction section pb/F/Jenkins

Steroid nation : juiced home run totals, anti-aging miracles, and a Hercules in every high school : the secret history of America's true drug addiction
on the 2nd floor in the Non-Fiction collection 362.29/ASS

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