Mud, Sweat and Beers: A Cultural History of Sport and Alcohol

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Bloomsbury Academic, Nov 11, 2002 - Social Science - 151 pages
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Short-listed for the North American Society for Sport History Book Award 2003

Alcohol is never far from sporting events. Although popular thinking on the effects of drinking has changed considerably over time, throughout history sport and alcohol have been intimately linked. The Victorians, for example, believed that beer helped to build stamina, whereas today any serious athlete must abstain from the 'demon drink'. Yet despite current prohibitions and the widespread acceptance of alcohol's deleterious effects, the uneasy alliance of sport with alcohol remains culturally entrenched. It is common for sporting celebrities to struggle with alcoholism, and teams are often encouraged to 'bond' by drinking together. Indeed, many of today's major sporting sponsors are breweries and manufacturers of alcoholic drinks.

From hooliganism to commerce, from advertising and sponsorship to health and fitness, if there is one thing that brings athletes, fans and financial backers together it must be beer. This cultural history of drinking and sport examines the roles masculinity, class and regional identity play in alcohol consumption at a broad range of matches, races, courses and competitions. Offering a fresh perspective on the culture and commerce of sporting events, this book will be essential reading for cultural historians, anthropologists and sociologists, and anyone interested in sport.

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About the author (2002)

Tony Collins is a Research Fellow, at the International Centre for Sports History and Culture, De Montfort University.

Wray Vamplew is a Research Professor, at the University of Stirling.

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