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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

A First Post: Lower Your Expectations

If by some odd reason you are reading this, I beg you to lower your expectations.

There will be typos. Lots. I am only doing this because I am promising myself to proofread as little as possible. There was a time when I blogged regularly with Religion in American History. The shortest, most simple posts would consume at least a day--most of it spent proofreading. Inevitably, after I would make a post, I would always catch a typo or six. So none of that here. Nope...

Me. Wearing a speed suit. In a dunk tank.
As I said, lower your expectations.
Also, don't expect much in the way of coherence. I plan to blog on every day of the week, at the end of my writing day to summarize what I have done--or not done. I'll explain more below. But for now, just know that this will be stream of consciousness. And that's it.

I hope to develop this slowly, and make it a bit easier to look at. I will also transport over the stuff that is currently on my university webpage. But for now, I let Google do the thinking for me. I had a passing thought of creating a banner--a nifty image, with the title of the blog nestled ever-so-neatly therein. Yea... that would be cool. Alas...

I did, however, come up with a title: "Between Jest and Earnest." It comes out of Johan Huizinga's classic Homo Ludens: A Study of the Play Element in Culture. His basic point is that all culture originates in play--the kind of non-utilitarian tinkering that we all do as children, but hopefully continue to do as adults. When we play with words, we come up with poetry. When we play with movement, we come up with dance. When we play with ideas, we come up with philosophy.

I would keep explaining, but that would require me to open the book and re-read sections to make sure that I'm being accurate. So don't expect me to go deep into the weeds--on anything. Because that will require hours and hours of reading, writing, and proofreading... that last step I have sworn off for this blog, if you will recall.

Anyway, Huizinga has been very influential in making me think seriously about a particular form of play that is very, very important in America: sports. Hence the reason for this blog.

Starting at the end of the spring 2016 semester, I will be on sabbatical. One of my projects is an edited volume, Gods, Games, and Globalization: New Perspectives in Religion and Sports. Rebecca Alpert is my co-editor on this volume, and we are publishing it with Mercer University Press. Articles should be trickling in this summer, so I am very excited to see this move forward.

But the big daddy (looming monster?) is my monograph, tentatively entitled Bodies in Motion: A Religious History of Sports in America. I presently have no publisher and no proposal either. My intention is to write (the damn) thing in the remaining months of 2016 and have a contract in place by 2017. So on this blog, I will give summaries of what I have done, and what I am doing. I took (stole, pilfered, ripped off?) the idea from John Fea, the prolific blogger who did something similar with his new book, The Bible Cause. I recall him posting updates as he went, something that I thought added a layer of accountability to his writing.

So accountability here I come! But proofreading? Not on this blog.

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