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Critical Youth Studies Reader

Preface by Paul Willis

Edited By Awad Ibrahim and Shirley R. Steinberg

This book won the 2014 AESA (American Educational Studies Association) Critics Choice Award.

This reader begins a conversation about the many aspects of critical youth studies. Chapters in this volume consider essential issues such as class, gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, cultural capital, and schooling in creating a dialogue about and a conversation with youth. In a society that continues to devalue, demonize, and pathologize young women and men, leading names in the academy and youth communities argue that traditional studies of youth do not consider young people themselves. Engaging with today’s young adults in formal and informal pedagogical settings as an act of respect, social justice, and transgression creates a critical pedagogical path in which to establish a meaningful twenty-first century critical youth studies.
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27 We Don’t Need Another Hero: Captaining in Youth Sport

← 324 | 325 →CHAPTER 27


I am not even sure if he was the official captain of the swim team, but what I saw and admired in my inaugural sporting experience was the tall, fair-skinned, beautifully lithe boy with the wonderful smile who swam like a fish and collected all the medals. The boys wanted to be him, the girls wanted to date him—he was the aspiration of that particular sport.

That image has been repeated incessantly in each and every sport I have encountered as a player, coach, and teacher. The captain has been the measure within a team; if you were named captain, you knew you had made it.

Although I excelled at most sports in junior high and high school—soccer, volleyball, basketball, softball—I was never quite pretty enough, charismatic enough, skilled enough, or popular enough to claim captain status. But I always wanted to be. Being captain was so obviously a status that everyone involved in team sport aspired to. It meant you were the best, and who did not want to be the best?

The sport captain is a team member designated as the leader of the group. Roles and responsibilities of a captain vary according to the particular sport, and sometimes according to each individual team, but captaining is an honored, respected, and accepted practice in sport culture around the world. Captains are recognized as peer leaders, and certain sports identify them publicly in different ways; for example, a “C” on...

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