By James M. Dorsey
A new online journal targets academics, journalists, sports fans and officials, and athletes who realize that there’s more to sport than preseason predictions, arguments over missed calls, and highlights of fantastic finishes. The journal, The Allrounder, won’t break down last weekend’s action or make predictions for the upcoming season when it launches in September. Instead, its writers will look at the broader political, social and economic meanings and impact of competitions and games.
Although this blog refrains from endorsements and promotions, The Allrounder constitutes the exception that confirms the rule because of the important niche it hopes to fill in both academia and sports journalism. The journal seeks to distinguish itself from existing sports media by focusing on sports’ relationship with broader societal issues. It will feature prominent writers from across the globe who reach out to a world of analysts, experts and globalized fans such as the Indian who is up in the middle of the night watching the Champions League, the American who follows Six Nations rugby, the Brit who cheers for the Maple Leafs, the Brazilian with a LeBron jersey, and the Aussie who loves baseball novels.
With a stall of academics and journalists who study or cover the nexus of sports, politics and society, The Allrounder will offer a different, deeper, more meaningful take on sports. Its contributions will offer insights for educated, curious fans, athletes, fans and officials that are not overly theoretical or ponderous and may not be available elsewhere.
The journal will cover a range of subjects, including racism in sports, sports media, women fans, the politics of sports in different parts of the world including the Middle East and North Africa, literary aspects of sports and the neuroscience of fandom. In doing so, The Allrounder will offer a deeper look at how sport shapes our world. Beyond offering substantial original content, The Allrounder will also serve as a digest of insightful sports writing from around the web.
To fund this initiative, The Allrounder has launched a Kickstarter campaign that ends on May 20. Donations will allow the journal to compensate writers and meet start-up costs such as site design, programming, hosting, and legal fees.
The journal is led by four editors with a wealth of experience in research, teaching and publishing. The team includes Bruce Berglund, a historian, two-time Fulbright scholar in Eastern Europe and director of the Honors Program at Calvin College; Michael Buma, an analyst at Info-Tech Research Group in London, Ontario, and a former faculty member in English and kinesiology at Western University; Yago Colás who teaches sports and culture at the University of Michigan; and Jean Williams, a Senior Research Fellow at the International Centre for Sports History and Culture at De Montfort University in Leicester.
The Allrounder’s writers include philosopher Emily Ryall, economist Stefan Szymanski, sociologist David Rowe, film and media scholar Victoria E. Johnson, biochemist Chris Cooper, historian Tony Collins, anthropologist Meghan Ferriter, cultural studies scholar, Africa sports scholar Peter Alegi, historian Lyndsay Krasnoff and the author of this blog. It will also feature the work of journalists, bloggers, and authors, like former BBC correspondent Nicholas Walton ESPN Cricinfo contributors Siddhartha Vaidyanathan and Firdose Moonda, novelist Geoff Herbach, Hockey in Society editor Mark Norman, and John Harms of The Footy Almanac and ABC television’s Offsiders.
For an introduction to The Allrounder’s writers and to see samples of their work from other sites, please visit The Allrounder’s Line-Up page. The Allrounder’s digest of reads is also available at @theallrounderco or facebook.com/theallrounderco.
(This posting is based on The Allrounder’s own presentation of itself)
James M. Dorsey is a Senior Fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University. He is also co-director of the University of Würzburg’s Institute for Fan Culture, and the author of The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer blog and a forthcoming book with the same title.