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Critical Studies of Southern Place

A Reader


William M. Reynolds

Critical Studies of Southern Place: A Reader critically investigates and informs the construction of Southernness, Southern identity, and the South past and present. It promotes and expands the notion of a Southern epistemology. Authors from across the South write about such diverse topics as Southern working-class culture; LGBT issues in the South; Southern music; Southern reality television; race and ethnicity in the South; religion in the South; sports in the South; and Southernness. How do these multiple interpretations of popular culture within critical conceptualizations of place enhance our understandings of education? Critical Studies of Southern Place investigates the connections between the critical examination of place-specific culture and its multiple connections with education and pedagogy. This important book fills a significant gap in the scholarly work on the ramifications of place. Readers will be able to center the importance of place in their own scholarship and cultural work as well as be able to think deeply about how Southern place affects us all.
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Chapter Twenty-Nine: High-Priced Sports: Parents, Sports, and the South



High-Priced Sports: Parents, Sports, and the South


All parents have dreams for their children. Some parents dream of their children growing up to become doctors, attorneys, entrepreneurs, community leaders, politicians, or some other role society values as successful. As the race for college admission gets tougher every day, reality is more difficult for parents to swallow. In the South, education and athletics have in many ways become equals. Parents may be just as proud of their child who plays sports at a large university as they are of a child who is accepted to and attends an Ivy League school. Parents have become accustomed to spending enormous sums of money not for tutors or the latest technology gadgets to enhance their child’s GPA or standardized test scores, but for their child’s athletic training. The training they most often invest in is not personal training in a weight room (though that is not as rare as you might think); it is private sports-specific training (Murphy, 1999). Many parents in the South believe that with hours of sports-specific training, their child will transition from good to great. The South (Hudson, 2014) is reflective of youth sports throughout the country, but it may be the best place to observe athletics as equivalent to any other accomplishment for today’s youth (Hudson, 2014).

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