A Teachable Moment in Sochi

A Teachable Moment in Sochi

This week, the United States will signal its opposition to anti-gay laws in Russia when a number of openly gay athletes join the official U.S. delegation at the Sochi Winter Olympics. By transforming the world’s greatest athletic stage into a powerful showcase for political equality and human rights, these athletes are guaranteed to inspire hundreds of millions of people around the world – while serving as a powerful reminder of the long line of activist athletes who came before them.

As attention turns to the Olympics on February 7, 2014, don’t miss cultural historian Dave Zirin’s stirring look at this tradition of activist athletes in Media Education Foundation’s film Not Just a Game: Power, Politics & American Sports.

In a direct rebuke to those who argue that sports and politics don’t mix,  Not Just a Game: Power, Politics & American Sports explores how U.S. sports culture has glamorized militarism, sexism, racism, and homophobia while also serving as a spectacular site of political resistance to these same regressive forces at key moments throughout history. Zirin’s riveting description of Billie Jean King’s courageous work as a feminist and LGBT activist who in the 1980s became one of the first professional athletes to come out as gay is just one of many inspiring stories he shares in the film. — King will march in the opening ceremonies next week as part of the U.S. delegation.

Not Just a Game: Power, Politics & American Sports is available through western Massachusetts public library inter-library loan system with DVD’s available through Northampton, Amherst, Greenfield, and Springfield public libraries. Screen this film at home and download Media Education Foundation’s study guide to take this moment in history and use it as a teachable moment.

Related links offered by Media Education Foundation:

For more info on Not Just a Game Power, Politics & American Sports, visit mediaed.org.

– Submitted by Alexandra Peterson

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