chapter  1
16 Pages

Sport and literature

Despite scandals, abuses and crises, the popularity of competitive, top-level sports shows little sign of abating. Members of the ‘academic world’ who are disenchanted with the sporting scene are outnumbered in the debate over values in sports, even when sports writers and sports workers themselves reinforce scholarly perspectives. Those who have spoken out against modern sport are often regarded as muckrakers, spoilsports, miseries or wimps. However, little has been done to explore the variety of oppositional voices that contest the status quo view that ‘sport’ is a ‘good thing’. This book seeks to start filling this lacuna. In the pages and chapters that follow I do not draw, to any extent, on the work, theory and thoughts of sports journalists or sports scholars. Instead I take a somewhat unusual approach by exploring the writings and attitudes of a number of distinguished writers and poets who have, directly and indirectly, explicitly and implicitly, critiqued the cult of modern sport. In so doing I hope to widen discussion on the role of sport in the modern world.