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The holiday season is upon us and, if you have someone in your life with an interest in sport heritage, gift buying can be difficult and quite expensive. Of course, there are many gift options in terms of memorabilia, autographs, and the like – though, often times, these can be costly and sometimes difficult to obtain depending on the item. Other sport heritage-related gifts – such as attending a fantasy camp or an historic event like the Masters golf tournament or Wimbledon – can be equally expensive and inaccessible to all but a wealthy few.
Not to fear, however, as we have some gift suggestions for the sport heritage person in your life to suit both your budget and their interests!
Though there are many options in the art/sport heritage landscape, the work of Paine Proffitt is particularly notable. I first encountered his work in the World Rugby Museum at Twickenham Stadium back in 2007 when on a research project, and I was thrilled to see that he is still producing magnificent artwork. Although much of his current work is based in English football, as an ex-pat American he also covers North American sports such as baseball and ice hockey. Visit his website at www.painproffitt.com – you’ll be pleased you did.
(Some examples of Paine Proffitt‘s outstanding artwork.)
Retro and throwback sports jerseys and apparel are fairly common now, but weren’t always so. Several companies – most notably Ebbets Field Flannels and the Old Fashioned Football Shirt Company (or TOFFS) – now produce sports apparel from bygone eras, or from long forgotten teams, often in era-specific fabric (I have a replica 1950s canvas football jersey from TOFFS). I was amazed at some of the replica items of truly quirky teams and eras that these companies reproduce. For example, Ebbets Field Flannels, though mainly reproducing baseball apparel from various minor league teams from the 40s, 50s, and 60s, produced a replica jersey from the Edmonton Flyers – a semi-pro hockey team that most people in my hometown of Edmonton had probably long forgotten existed. Much like Paine Proffitt’s artwork, people interested in throwback sports apparel would have a field day looking at all of the reproduction items available.
Books and other reading material
There are many, many, many sport history books released during the holiday season, as books are an easy fall-back as gifts. Of course, there are also several academic sport heritage books as well, some of which were covered in a previous post. However, for those of us in the northern hemisphere, the holiday season is the best time to dream about the spring and summer to come. Few things are more enjoyable to think about during the cold winter months than a perfect day at the cricket ground and, for that, Wisden is your spot. This time of year, there are many cricket books on sale at Wisden – not the least of which is the famous Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack.
Memberships to sports museums, halls of fame, and sports clubs make some of the best gifts. Even if the recipient is not living near the museum or club, it provides an opportunity to both provide support as well as give a sense of being a part of the organization. Most museums and halls of fame provide various levels of membership – including the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum – while some sports clubs have memberships for patrons living away or abroad, such as Kent Cricket’s affordable “13th Man” club membership.
For the sport heritage aficionado who has it all, donations to organizations involved in the preservation and interpretation of sporting heritage make wonderful gifts. The International Sports Heritage Association has a list of member organizations – perhaps find one in a local area and provide a one-time or on-going donation as a gift. Another possibility are donations to organizations – such as the excellent Sporting Memories Network – that use the sporting past to tackle major health issues such as dementia and depression.
Sport has become an important avenue in how we interpret, remember, and maintain our heritage. Whether it is being applied in tourism marketing and development, employed as a vehicle for social cohesion, or utilized as a way of articulating personal and collective identities, sport heritage is a vital topic in understanding what we value about the sporting past now, and what we wish to pass on to future generations. This edited collection brings together many new and exciting international approaches to sport heritage. Each of the chapters in this collection provides a thought-provoking sport heritage case study that would be of interest to students and researchers in history, geography, anthropology, and marketing, as well as industry practitioners working at sporting events, at sports-based heritage attractions such as museums and halls of fame, and at sports stadia and facilities. In addition, this collection would be of interest to those readers with a more general interest in sport heritage and the sporting past.
Here is the Table of Contents for the book:
1. Sport, heritage, and tourism – Gregory Ramshaw
2. It still goes on: football and the heritage of the Great War in Britain – Ross J. Wilson
3. Indigenous sport and heritage: Cherbourg’s Ration Shed Museum – Murray G. Phillips, Gary Osmond and Sandra Morgan
4. Identity in the “Road Racing Capital of the World”: heritage, geography and contested spaces – Ray Moore, Matthew Richardson and Claire Corkill
5. Heroes as heritage: the commoditization of sporting achievement – Sean J. Gammon
6. A Canterbury tale: imaginative genealogies and existential heritage tourism at the St. Lawrence Ground – Gregory Ramshaw
My strong recommendation, given the cost of the book, is to recommend that your university library purchase it. There is a “recommend to the librarian” link on the Routledge webpage. Please also spread the word to anyone who may be interested in this collection.
Sport heritage research has come a long way in the past decade or so, and I strongly believe the work of the researchers in this book helps to take our understanding of this topic in new and fascinating directions.
Sport-based sculptures have recently become a focal point in understanding sport heritage. Part of this has been recording and mapping various sport statues – as we all know, many statues and memorials of all sorts tend to be forgotten in the years following their dedication, with only a rare few having an ongoing power and potency – though, in terms of academic work, the “From Pitch to Plinth” group out of the University of Sheffield goes a step further by examining the meanings and representations of the statues as well (which, as you can imagine, can change over time).
However, there is also a beauty and art to the statues – as well as the stories and histories behind them. That’s where a book like Immortals of British Sport: A celebration of Britain’s sporting history through sculpture by Ian Hewitt and Sampson Lloyd, shines through. To call it a coffee table book does it a disservice – though, certainly it’s handsome production makes it wonderful for display – nor would it be right to say it is a mere reference book. Rather, it is best described as an illustrated history; a chronological look at Britain’s sport history through the public representation of sculpture. Though not an academic history, it is well-written, beautifully photographed and, even for someone like myself who did not grow up in Britain and has only followed British sport for a short period of time, very accessible. It also provides a handy reference of the artists, sports, and the locations of the statues, should your interest be more artistic and/or touristic.
There were a few things that struck me about the statues featured in the book. I guess the first was the number of animal sculptures there are in Britain, particularly those of racehorses. It makes sense, of course, that so many famous horses or dogs would be immortalized in sculpture, particularly given the sporting culture of the UK, but the number of statues surprised me.
The second was that, seemingly, there isn’t that diverse a representation of sporting sculptures in Britain, particularly in terms of race. This is, of course, not the fault of the authors – they are working with the inventory that exists, after all – but it is surprising that, as much as the British population has changed, as well as how the British public understands and represents their heritage now, that this hasn’t seemed to translate to sporting sculptures to any great degree (of course, it was heartening to see some diversity of sports, including some winter sports – though, it makes sense that the vast majority of the sculptures would be football-based).
There also wasn’t the sense of public performance or public interaction with the statue – with the exceptions being those sculptures that are recognizing tragedy and memorializing loss, such as that of the Hillsborough memorial. Of course, it is beyond the scope of the book to necessarily examine public performance, but it would be fascinating to know to what extent these sculptures are point of interest or reference, meeting places, or are they barely discernible from the rest of the landscape and are simply ignored.
Finally, in many ways, I think the book inspires a desire to travel – and, certainly, to seek out some of these statues. I have no idea how I missed the statue of W.G. Grace at Lord’s when I was there recently, but I feel I must go back to see it. Similarly, I must find Eric Liddell’s statue the next time I’m in Edinburgh. If getting the reader to not only know about these statues but to also go and experience and appreciate them as well was part of the authors’ goals, then they succeeded wildly at this objective.
The price of the book is very reasonable – £20.00 (or about $33.00 US) – and it is a steal at twice the price.
For more information about the book and authors, please visit their website at http://www.immortalsofbritishsport.com
My new co-edited book, Heritage and the Olympics, has been “officially” out for about a month now, but I didn’t receive my copy until today. I’m very pleased with the look and feel of the hardcover version and, of course, having a tangible copy makes the book “real.”
Again, if you are interested in requesting a copy for your library, please follow this link at the Routledge page. I don’t set the price, I’m afraid, and though I am hoping that there will be a more affordable trade paperback or e-copy version of the book down the road, for now you may want to just want to request that your institution purchase it. However, my previous co-edited text – Heritage, Sport and Tourism – is slightly more affordable and available in several different formats, if you are interested in this research topic and haven’t come across this text already.
Thank you for your patience as I try and get the word out about this book. I have a few new sport heritage topics, sites, and publications in the queue to discuss, and I look forward to writing more about other people’s work and not just my own. 🙂
I am very pleased to announce the publication of Heritage and the Olympics: People, Place and Performance. This text, co-edited by Sean Gammon of the University of Central Lancashire, me – Gregory Ramshaw of Clemson University, and Emma Waterton of the University of Western Sydney, is published by Routledge and available here.
The description from the Routledge website:
The Olympic Games have evolved into the most prestigious sport event on the planet. As a consequence, each Games generates more and more interest from the academic community. Sociology, politics, geography and history have all played a part in helping to understand the meanings and implications of the Games. Heritage, too, offers invaluable insights into what we value about the Games, and what we would like to pass on to future generations. Each Olympic Games unquestionably represents key life-markers to a broad audience across the world, and the great events that take place within them become worthy of remembrance, celebration and protection. The more tangible heritage features are also evident; from the myriad artefacts and ephemera found in museums to the celebratory symbolism of past Olympic venues and sites that have become visitor attractions in their own right. This edited collection offers detailed and thought-provoking examples of these heritage components, and illustrates powerfully the breadth, passion and cultural significance that the Olympics engender.
Given the cost of the text, I would strongly recommend that that you request it be purchased by your university library. I imagine that there may be a trade paperback or e-book version of the text down the road but, for now, it is only available in hardback form.
Further information, including table of contents, ISBN number, and ordering details are available via the Routledge website here:
My co-editors and I are pleased with this collection and hope it reaches as wide an audience as possible. Thank you in advance for requesting a copy and for getting the word out!