Frank Andre GuridyFeb 3, 2022
The Sports Revolution
How Texas Changed the Culture of American Athletics
University of Texas Press 2021
When I was a teenager, I spent entirely too much time at the Pontiac Silverdome watching the Detroit Pistons play basketball. In all the games I watched, it never occurred to me to wonder why a professional basketball team was playing in a cavernous, multi-purpose stadium entirely unsuited to basketball.
Frank Andre Guridy begins his wonderful book The Sports Revolution: How Texas Changed the Culture of American Athletics (U Texas Press, 2021) by examining the Houston Astrodome as both a result of and a contributor to dramatic changes in sports and society in the United States. Guridy is recognizes that the games we watch and the athletes who play them are valuable in and of themselves and the book is full of lyrical descriptions of games and athletes. But he is mostly interested in the ways sports reflected and formed American society. He argues that the economic and social forces reshaping America in the 1960s and 70s provided the context for a change in the ways sports were played, produced and consumed and that Texas served as an incubator for these changes. His book is always insightful and interesting. But his examination of the intersection of race and economics in the emergence of the NBA's San Antonio Spurs is particularly strong, as is a chapter examining the emergence of the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders as a national phenomenon. In a world where sports is again undergoing a transformation, The Sports Revolution offers a valuable lens through which to view both the dramatic changes of the 1970s and those so prominent in today's society.
Kelly McFall is Professor of History and Director of the Honors Program at Newman University.