Winning Is the Only Thing

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Randy Roberts and James Olson in their book, Winning is the Only Thing: Sports in America since 1945, explored the world of sports since the end of World War II. Their book covers the many aspects of sports, from the athletes and management to the fans and the media. The authors first make clear differences in the way people viewed sports before the war and how they did after the war. The book talks a lot about the astounding transformation of sports in America during the post war era.

The objective of sports before world warII matched up to the original idea of such games. Athletes, for the most part, "played "to do just that- every sports as their hobbies (Roberts, Olson xi) games were intended to be fun for the players; and just as a board game of "candy land," sports were activities in which the game was on the court, field, diamond, or whatever the " game board" was. The minds of people were filled with war and the everyday challenges of life (xi). Thus, people found sports to be a way of escape from all that they faced fans as well as athletes. However, in a matter of a few years the entertainment of sports changed dramatically.

After World War II, it could be said that Americans put their identity, worth, and security in sports. They felt the need to stand up to the world to show them who their country was and what it stood for. "Americans came to take sports very seriously, and they watched and played for the highest economic, politic, and personal stakes"(xii).other countries began to represent themselves through sports as well; and, in a sense, the war continued though the means of these "games." Especially in the Olympics, whole countries fought to win and be seen as the superior. Sports was a way of, not only representing pride in the athletes, but also a way of showing the world who its government, communities, families, and all that America stood for. Roberts and Olson describe athletes during this era as national soldiers of sport (19) as...
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