PopMatters is moving to WordPress. We will publish a few essays daily while we develop the new site. We hope the beta will be up sometime late next week.

Play On: Get Off the Couch, Get On the Court

The true measure of a fan’s joy is in play. Without it, all sports would simply cease to be.


Jay Mariotti and the Moral Role

In a world of 24-hour programming, Jay Mariotti's Around the Horn does for ESPN what Glenn Beck or Bill O’Reilly does for Fox News: fill in large gulfs of empty space between actual news or events by making a fetish of opinion.


American Beauty?: 2010 World Cup Part II, The Knockout Stage

Soccer features improvisation and imagination far more than ferocity and force. One must wonder, then, is soccer simply too pretty for American sports fans?


The Pitch Is Flat: 2010 World Cup Part I, The Group Stage

Can a “national” team truly represent a nation anymore, other than through the broadest criteria of citizenship?


It's Rough, Being a Ref: Perhaps Only Parking Enforcement Garners Comparable Abuse

As ref, I began to pass my time on the court by rating the insults hurled in my direction. The predictable epithets earned one star. Some of the more unique combinations of verbs, idioms, and profanity, however, would earn higher marks.


Con Artest?: Ron Artest's Imagery and Alchemy in the NBA

Ron Artest’s image must be fluid enough to navigate the tumultuous perils of our modern sports media. At heart, is Artest a true gangsta or a trite goofball? It’s likely a bit of both.


The Virgin King in the Land of Strangelove

Tim Tebow, as much as he resembles Rocky, similarly embodies a deranged general bent on destroying the world via nuclear holocaust.


Memorabiliaphilia: Nationalizing a Pastime

Baseball looms large, the way anything in a magnifying glass seems to gain size and importance.



There will come a time, inevitably, where nearly every fan will find themselves backing a loser.


Fables for our Reconstruction: Sports Scandals for the Soul

Whatever their wrongdoing, sports figures should by now realize just how predisposed to public judgement they really are. Here, a decade of wrongdoings, lest they forget.


Seeing Stars (Suffer Brain Injuries)

Imagine old Daffy Duck cartoons, with pastel songbirds circling as a cuckoo clock sounds in the background. The reality is a bit more serious.


Let Him Pay: Rush Limbaugh as Corporate Mascot

If the furor surrounding Limbaugh's possible entrance into the league has to do with this political disposition, it's laughable to suggest that the rest of the owners don't share his views to a large extent.


Twitterpated: New Media, Old Frenzies

The latest craze in mini-blogging has been embraced by a variety of pro athletes to voice their opinions on everything from coaching advice to domestic violence.


Over the Line: On Sports' "Irritable Reaching"

As the controversy surrounding Semenya Caster demonstrates, the sports world -- filled with statistics, measurements, and results -- is by its very nature fundamentally at odds with the chaos that surrounds it.


Bird of a Feather: The Curious Case of Chris Andersen

How has Chris Andersen managed his public relations coup? The short answer is: he's white. But a longer explanation reveals that he's black, too.


Clone Wars: Jim Rome's World Within a World

Most sports radio is the intellectual equivalent of listening to static -- it's as illuminating as it is predictable.


April is a Cruel Month for Hockey, Too

Though it's an admittedly strange, even awkward, companionship, American hockey fans know what it is to love poetry.


Lou Gehrig: The Pride of the Yankees

Americans cheer in their athletes what they demand of their citizens: humility, simplicity, and purity of spirit. It's a myth that's perfectly suited for the make-believe workings of Hollywood.


Another Kind of Rally: Monster Truckin' in a New America

While it's simplistic (to the point of comedy) to suggest that monster trucks can heal our national divide, they may play a part in better understanding the chasms that divide us.


Onward, Christian Soldiers!

With references to Biblical verses emblazoned on his eye-black, Tim Tebow embodies the American ideal of the God-fearing warrior.


Dave Zirin: A Sportswriter with Real Punch

"We can pretend sports isn't political just as well as we can pretend there is no such thing as gravity if we fall out of an airplane."


Future Primitive: Kimbo Slice's Cruelest Cut

Slice, whose fortunes were at once torn asunder and radically refigured by a hurricane, constitutes a perfect storm of racial stereotypes himself.

Featured: Top of Home Page

Why We Hate

A true fan feels true hate -- for the opposition, for the officials, and for anything else that stands between that fan's team and victory.

Featured: Top of Home Page

In the Gloaming: The Aging Athlete in Public Memory

Surely, past-their-prime athletes must realize that their dim prospects are only darkened by the reflective glow of glories past.


Better You Be a Team Player

Sports, as emphasized in films such as Eight Men Out and The Untouchables, are a helpful way of organizing and enforcing our daily behaviors.

Featured: Top of Home Page


The novelty of pitting eight- to 15-year-olds against one another for popular amusement can be glossed over in the name of educational achievement.

Featured: Top of Home Page

Who Watches the Watchers?

In a league where (predominantly white) authority figures are needed to intellectualize and give order to the hyper-stylized physicality of its (predominantly black) players, no brain is more lauded than Bill Belichick's.

Featured: Top of Home Page

Baptized by Fire: The Persistent Politics of the Olympic Games

The Olympic torch should remain a beacon to those who can appreciate the true power that sports have in forcing us to consider the political reality of the world we all, athletes included, share.

Featured: Top of Home Page

The Play's the Thing: Public Shaming of Pro Athletes

What no one in Congress will admit: morality in sports is pure theater.

Featured: Top of Home Page

Discipline and Punish: The Official Functions

Like characters in some morality play, referees are greeted with boos, taunts, profanity, and, on occasion, worse.

Featured: Top of Home Page

Seven Silver Linings for 2007

For the true sports fan, amidst all the drugs, malfeasance, infidelity, greed and inhumanity -- hope is a most important thing.

Featured: Top of Home Page

New American Gladiators: The Rise of Mixed Martial Arts

Initially seen as little more than back alley brawlers scrapping for beer money, MMA has found sporting legitimacy in meteoric fashion – this kind of fighting offers a truly global and democratic way to kick someone's ass.

Featured: Top of Home Page

Vaccination Scars: NASCAR in the Popular Imagination

The encroachment of a corporate, middle-American influence, coupled with its proximity to a more worldly motorsport, combine to put NASCAR supporters on edge when it comes to discussion of public hygiene.

Featured: Top of Home Page

Schlock Jock: The Selling of a Quarterback

From the first time I saw him at Tennessee, I had a sinking feeling that this bright star, Peyton Manning, would soon be selling me stuff I had no use for.

Featured: Top of Home Page

The Tyranny of Numbers

Intelligence quotients, consumer confidence indexes, coin-operated love meters -- the ways we attempt to make numbers out of our states of being are limited only by the different states of being we're capable of experiencing.

Featured: Top of Home Page

Who's Doggin' Who?

In the land of designer pet collars, pet cemeteries, even pet-themed restaurants and bakeries, dogfighting has reared its ugly head.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.