I’m still ankle-deep in compiling my tenure file, completing a couple of grants (which share a due date with my tenure file – joy!), and the general chaos that is the beginning of the academic year, I wanted to share and offer a very brief commentary on two sport-heritage stories that came across the wire this week.
The first story involved a Penn State v. University of Central Florida game played at Croke Park last Saturday. Of course, a US college football game being played at the home of Gaelic sport does, in a sense, point to a larger form of sport/culture/heritage mobilities (though, college football games being played abroad – and particularly in Ireland – has been happening for decades). The interesting aspect is that this game, inadvertently, displaced a Gaelic football match. I suppose this might point to a conflict between different sporting cultures – and that the international displaced the local – though, it would also seem that it is a sport tourism story, in that thousands of American football tourists are perhaps more lucrative a draw than domestic day visitors.
The other story was about the city of Philadelphia erecting a Joe Frazier statue, in part, to reclaim it’s “authentic” boxing heritage rather than continue to promote the sport/film heritage of the Rocky films (and, in particular, a Rocky statue that was used as a prop in the film series and is now a tourist attraction). Of course, the idea that sport heritage, popular culture, and simulacrum are often blended and interchangeable is perhaps most noticeable at the Durham Bulls stadium where the “real” and “fake” baseball heritage of the team are intermingled. Still, I think this case points to an interesting form of dissonant sport heritage.