aerial view of the Amazon river

Sports!

Spring 2012​ | Volume XI, Number 3

Table of Contents

Editor’s Letter →

by June Carolyn Erlick

First Take

First Take: Sports Diplomacy

First Take: Sports Diplomacy

The Washington Star sports editor opened the letter from far-off Caracas, Venezuela, that had just arrived by diplomatic pouch. Entitled “A Very Sad Day,” the piece was penned by my father…

Soccer Nations

Sentimental Soccer

Sentimental Soccer

English + Español
Between Wednesday, June 22, and Sunday, June 26, 2011, River Plate, the team I’ve been a fan of my entire life, was relegated to the second division of Argentina’s soccer league. The depth of…

Soccer Clubs

Soccer Clubs

English + Español
On June 25, 1978, Argentina and Holland were playing the World Cup final. General Jorge Rafael Videla’s dictatorship had spent millions to organize the Cup; the Montanera guerrilla had…

Women’s Soccer in Brazil

Women’s Soccer in Brazil

“No one knows, no one saw,” reads the headline in an important Brazilian newspaper announcing the conclusion of the main women’s soccer championship on the continent—the Taça…

Soccer and Literature

Soccer and Literature

The woman in the bookstore in Rosario, Argentina, could tell I wasn’t a native. She asked me what I was doing in the city. I told her I was trying my luck as a freelance writer. Writing about what?…

Greater Players, Bad Business

Greater Players, Bad Business

Just as my final undergraduate exams finished in June 1970, the World Cup finals started in Mexico, and I settled down to three weeks of watching soccer. Across the world, fans of my age…

The Cradle of Brazilian Soccer

The Cradle of Brazilian Soccer

Thousands of fans drive to a soccer stadium, a very common scene every Sunday in soccer-mad São Paulo. Brazilians are proud to be five-time World Champions, to be the home of Pelé…

The Ball and the Blackboard

The Ball and the Blackboard

As an undergraduate, I had a Classics professor who sometimes spoke of the humanities’ task as the search for the strange in the familiar, and the familiar in the strange. The idea stuck with me…

¡Gooooal!

¡Gooooal!

There are many ways to be introduced to soccer. You can play when you’re young (or not so young), you can listen or watch the media, or you can be a…

Play Ball

Speaking of Baseball

Speaking of Baseball

English + Español
Dice un viejo refrán que no hay nada mejor que el béisbol, que no sea hablar de béisbol. Y con ese propósito nos fuimos el joven periodista deportivo Yasel Porto, el veterano investigador…

Searching For Burt Reynolds

Searching For Burt Reynolds

While traveling from Michigan to Boston in July 2010, my family stopped for the night in Batavia, NY, and discovered a baseball game was about to begin. My 16-year-old daughter Darcy and I…

Caribbean Baseball

Caribbean Baseball

When Sammy Sosa, a sixteen-year-old shoeshine boy from San Pedro de Macorís, signed his first baseball contract in 1985, he took part of his $3,500 bonus and splurged—on a used bicycle…

“Baseball in our Blood”

“Baseball in our Blood”

In its Cold War zeal, the Reagan administration relentlessly sought to portray the Sandinista revolution as a projection of Soviet-Cuban power in “our backyard.” It once used intelligence…

Baseball Dreams

Baseball Dreams

Not many visitors to Havana make their way to the back streets of Marianao, but when I took my first trip to Cuba in 1974, it was high on my list. I was carrying gifts from Red Sox pitcher Luis Tiant…

The Sporting Life

Santo and Lucha Libre

Santo and Lucha Libre

English + Español
First Fall: They will fight two of the three falls without a time limit! One of my earliest childhood memories is of sitting in front of a small black-and-white television…

To Dance or to Box

To Dance or to Box

English + Español
It’s Sunday, the streets are dusty and the only arrivals to San Basilio de Palenque are some motorcycle-taxis and an old bus from the village of La María. Peddlers descend from the taxis…

Bullfights

Bullfights

English + Español
Spain’s history is not written in ink, but in bull’s blood. The shadow of the black beast with sharpened horns has spread over the Iberian peninsula for thousands of years and extended to…

Women and Sports in Peru

Women and Sports in Peru

One of the many vivid memories of my first stay in Peru involved listening to a radio commentary of the national women’s volleyball team as they played against the Soviet Union in the final of…

Social Change and Rights

Sports and Recreation

Sports and Recreation

Sports as a social and cultural phenomenon have notably grown worldwide. Latin America is no exception to this expansion. This is in part because of the large industry built around sports…

Fútbol con Corazón

Fútbol con Corazón

Picture a soccer field where the rules of the game are re-written; where boys and girls play together and re-invent themselves as agents of change. Where matches are won not by the…

Beyond Soccer

Beyond Soccer

I don’t want to get into what I was like before I got on the team because I’m not proud of it. Lots of gang stuff. I don’t know why I was into that, but I didn’t have a lot when I got to the U.S. I guess…

Preparing for Rio

Preparing Rio

Preparing Rio

What have we Brazilians been doing to break the on-going cycle of violence plaguing the country over the past three decades? Can we offer a safe environment to foreign visitors before…

Preparing for the Olympics

Preparing for the Olympics

Favelas—“informal settlements” to the academic, “illegal slums” to the antipathetic—are spontaneous, grassroots communities found throughout Brazil. In Rio de Janeiro, host to the…

My Goalsetters

My Goalsetters

As I stood in an unkempt Brazilian park, seemingly landscaped as an afterthought, trucks and buses careened left and right on the thoroughfare behind me. Their cacophony was…

Making a Difference

Asociación Civil Lapacho

Asociación Civil Lapacho

I spent a summer volunteering at a Grameen microcredit bank in Resistencia, Chaco, Argentina, called Asociación Civil Lapacho, thanks to the student organization A Drop in the…

Book Talk