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Blood, Sweat, and Cheers

Blood, Sweat, and Cheers: Sport and the Making of Modern Canada

Copyright Date: 2001
Pages: 150
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  • Book Info
    Blood, Sweat, and Cheers
    Book Description:

    A look at the contribution of sport to the making of the Canadian nation, focusing on the gradual transition from rural sporting practices to the emphasis on team sports that accompanied the industrial and urban transition.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-2768-0
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-2)
  4. Introduction: The Field
    (pp. 3-8)

    Canadians today live in a highly commercialized global sport environment. Wayne Gretzky, Lorie Kane, Jacques Villeneuve, Larry Walker, Silken Laumann, Donovan Bailey, Mike Weir, Elvis Stojko, and other high-profile Canadian athletes compete with the world’s best in their respective sports. The Olympic Games, the Pan-American and Commonwealth competitions, and the world championships in hockey, soccer, golf, baseball, basketball, figure skating, and track and field are closely followed events. Satellite broadcasts beam these competitions live into our living rooms, while images of elite competitors fill newspapers, magazines, and billboards. Highly skilled and recognizable international athletes, both male and female, command colossal...

  5. 1 Blood
    (pp. 9-27)

    Between Confederation and the First World War, Canada underwent a profound social, economic, and intellectual transformation as it began developing into a modern industrial capitalist state. Under the leadership of Prime Minister John A. Macdonald, the political and economic infrastructure of the new nation was put in place. Macdonald’s ‘national policy’ – tariff protection for Canadian industry, prairie settlement, and the building of a transcontinental railway to stitch the nation together – became the country’s broadly accepted development strategy. By the First World War, Manitoba, British Columbia, Prince Edward Island, Saskatchewan, and Alberta had joined with Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick,...

  6. 2 Respectability
    (pp. 28-50)

    As the twentieth century opened, Canadian sporting life was still largely rural. In the countryside, sport was loosely organized and recreational in character, and involved an intimate connection to animals and to the natural environment. In searching for the roots of modern mass sporting culture, historians have sometimes overemphasized the extent to which organized sport had supplanted traditional sporting activities in late-nineteenth-century Canada. It is nonetheless true that in the larger urban centres and even the small towns, an organized sporting culture was emerging that conformed to the requirements of the industrial capitalist order. Under the watchful eye of an...

  7. 3 Money
    (pp. 51-82)

    Earlier in this book we asked two fundamental questions: What is sport? And what is it for? Between Confederation and the First World War, people’s definitions of sport and their interpretations of its value varied with their social situation, ethnic heritage, and place of origin. We can say in general that sport provided different forms of leisure activity to people in the countryside and the city, and that these activities conformed to the patterns of production that characterized urban and rural life. In the cities and small towns of the nation, a new, organized sporting culture based upon team sports...

  8. 4 Cheers
    (pp. 83-105)

    Sport in Canada would not be what it has become without spectators. Yet we still know little about the history of this aspect of sporting life. In our own time, spectatorism conjures up the sedentary lifestyle of the weekend couch potato, who sits glued to the television set with beer in hand and a belly exceeding the belt line. Understood in this way, spectatorism seems little more than a social narcotic, a celebration of the voyeuristic and inactive life. Some observers see spectator sport as a device applied by a manipulative ruling order to divert attention from the social price...

  9. 5 Bodies
    (pp. 106-127)

    As we have seen in the previous chapters, sport is about many things: about our relationship with nature and animals, about how we define respectability, about how we build allegiance to community and nation, about money and profit, and about how society creates audiences and constructs heroes. To use a hackneyed metaphor, the sporting field is a ‘contested territory’ where class and gender relations are continually imagined and reimagined and where conflicts abound over race, ethnicity, and denominational loyalties. At its most basic level, however, sport is about the body: how it is used, how it is imagined, how it...

  10. 6 Nation
    (pp. 128-146)

    At the Olympic Games in Atlanta in 1996, Donovan Bailey sprinted across the finish line in the 100-metre final and became, at least for the moment, the ‘world’s fastest human.’ Bailey grabbed a Canadian flag from a willing spectator, wrapped it around his shoulders, and ran a triumphant victory lap of the stadium track. For most Canadians who watched the race, this was a stirring moment, a unifying celebration for a country that faced the possibility of separation and that had suffered through the elation and bitter disappointment of the Ben Johnson doping scandal at the 1988 Games. For the...

  11. Selected Bibliography
    (pp. 147-158)
  12. Index
    (pp. 159-162)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 163-163)