Sport Diplomacy + Digital Diplomacy: Part I

Sport Diplomacy + Digital Diplomacy: Part I

A brief rundown of “Sports Diplomacy: A Vision for the Future” confab on what happens when the sports diplomacy world collides with the digital diplomacy one.

The World’s First Viral Soccer Moment

Rounding out my coverage of how our global sports world was significantly shaped by the First World War a century ago is this recent piece for The Athletic. Reporting on “How the Great War Made Soccer the World’s Most Popular Sport—and Led to Its First Viral moment,” I learned a lot more than I anticipated. As a sports specialist with a sub-specialty on the First World War (thanks to my work on the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Embassy France’s World War One Centennial project), I thought I knew the story’s key turning points. But as Jean Williams and Arnaud Waquet reminded me, there were many more.

Of particular interest to many is how the war era served as a golden age of women’s soccer, in Britain and elsewhere. Crowds of 10,000 paid to watch women play in 1917 and 1918, and a few years later, some 55,000 people crowded into Goodson Park to watch a women’s match. As Williams pointed out, makes you wonder why organizers of women’s professional soccer today don’t look to the ways that their predecessors shined 100 years ago in terms of getting the crowds out en masse with regularity...

Full pdf here.  

Conjuring good fortune on West African pitches is more complex than mere superstition

Conjuring good fortune on West African pitches is more complex than mere superstition

When soccer news from outside of Europe penetrates the global consciousness, it is often some outlandish item, a curiosity of the can-you-believe-it variety. Two of the more famous incidents to come from West Africa since the turn of the millenium include the February 2002 arrest of Cameroon head coach Winfried Schafer at the Africa Cup of Nations for allegedly planting an amulet on the field and, in the summer of that year, the wild ride of Senegal’s team at the World Cup, where their success was rumored to be aided by the country’s marabouts, which are similar to shamans.

From the Black Power Salute to Colin Kaepernick: What's changed?

From the Black Power Salute to Colin Kaepernick: What's changed?

(CNN)They stood united on the Olympic podium, heads bowed, black-gloved fists raised in the Black Power salute while the "The Star Spangled Banner" rang out to honor athletic achievement.

Beautiful Protest

Beautiful Protest

This month marks fifty years since the 1968 Mexico Games, most often recalled for the athlete protests they spotlighted as part of that year’s global turbulence. But while popular memory focuses upon the Olympians and professionals whose actions, rhetoric, and examples helped draw attention to injustices, what about the athletes they inspired?

Spreading the Basketball Gospel

Spreading the Basketball Gospel

Basketball is often overlooked as one of the world's major sports; but the fact that so many other countries on all of the continents play their own brand of the game gives pause to those who think that global hoops is only NBA. It's not, and there's a very rich history still waiting to be mined.

The Cleveland Cabdriver's Son Who Sowed the Seeds for a Hoops Revolution

The Cleveland Cabdriver's Son Who Sowed the Seeds for a Hoops Revolution

One of my favorite stories in my work on the evolution of French basketball, transatlantic hoops influences, and the globalization of the game is that of Martin Feinberg and the alumni of Paris Université Club's two U.S. tours in 1955-56 and 1962.

Now, the origins of that story is available via The Athletic.