Justin White: Adventurer and Recreational Man

Being part of the sports staff on the Royal Caribbean and the Allure of the Seas before coming to Piedmont, Justin White has always known how to have fun and bring adventure into his life. White lives his life by the “send it” mentality and continues to send the vibe around campus.

“I actually got the send it mentality from Larry Enticer who performs stunts with his snowmobile and says ‘send it’ every time before a jump. I live by that motto because life is too short and sometimes you just got to go for it,” White said.

Being the coordinator of campus recreation and wellness is no easy task, but White manages to run the fitness center and provides more than 30 events in a calendar year. He doesn’t mind putting in the work to make sure all the students enjoy themselves.

“I want to make sure the students love the outdoors as much as I do, and I’m always up for a new adventure with friends to share wonderful laughs and memories,” White said.
“Justin always makes sure everyone is having a great time, and I’ve enjoyed the bowling event he put on this past year,” Ruiz said.

White never had a hard transition into Piedmont since his job as a sports staff member made it easy to shift into his new position.

“The people I worked with on the cruise ships were very like-minded and were from all around the world. I worked with people from England, Slovakia, China, and Brazil.”

With all the adventures he had while traveling on a cruise ship, White managed to escape a lot of trouble, including a GI virus.

“I’ve dealt with a lot of broken bones with passengers, but never expected an outbreak on the first couple days on the job,” White said. “The CDC came on board, and I remember one day I walked up and down 300 flights of stairs sanitizing the rails for eight hours.”

Whenever White isn’t running the fitness center or providing events for the students, he is the adviser to the Klimbing Klub, helping it grow massively in the past year alongside President Noah Wood.

“Justin has been a mentor to me. He has taught me so much in the past three years I’ve been at Piedmont,” Wood said. “He is an amazing leader, and I am truly grateful to have him as my boss and friend.”

White continues to travel around the world and wants to inspire students to seek travel. He currently keeps track of his travels on a map he has posted in his office and circles the destinations he’s visited.

“My next travel will be with my girlfriend and grandmother. We plan on going to Italy and then after that a trip to Iceland with just my girlfriend.”

RR10- Chapter 16: Communication And Sport In The Future

In the final chapter of Communication and Sport, it takes a look into the future of sports and where it will develop into or how it will change. One thing that caught my attention was how the use of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) will be used in a more none cheating and productive way of getting injured players to recover faster. For example, just how Rafael Nadal recovered from his injuries using German based “bloodspinning” techniques. Imagine a world where injuries in sports were close to nonexistent? It would change the outcome of games since star players seem to get injured at the worst times like the playoffs. For instance, imagine if Kyrie Irving, Gordon Heyward, Stephen Curry, Kawhi Leonard, and Demarcus Cousins were playing in the NBA playoffs right now? These star players are all valuable assets to their teams to get a ring and its a shame we can’t see them play.  Furthermore, it would also extend players careers and we can see them play for more years. Football players have had to cut their careers short so they could be healthy in the long run. Finally, Players seem to be different when they get injured for example, Derek Rose; he used to be so explosive and fast but a couple of injuries as made him a lot more slower and less effective like he use to be in 2010. In the end, the medical field would be an interesting tool to have enhanced for sports so we can see everyone play because at the end of the day we all want our best players to compete in close games so that these games can be more entertaining.

RR9- Chapter 14: The Commodification of Sport

Chapter 14 “Commodification of Sport” covers how sports have become big investments for companies seeking to make more money. Sports has entertained us sports fans for as long as I can remember and people are willing to spend any amount of money to be entertained. Just think how much people spend to watch pay per view boxing events and it all makes sense.

In this day in age companies are spending Advertisements for the Super bowl and they run at 1 million dollars per 30 seconds. It takes money to make money, and the companies that advertise themselves believe it is worth the cost. Another example is when sports teams decide to get a new stadium. Take the Atlanta Braves with their new SunTrust Park. They moved to this new stadium to be closer to the public outings and to collaborate so they can both make more money.

Sport is, and nearly always has been, a money-making market enterprise. In spite of that, there are consequences to the extensive marketing, sponsorship, and product placements that are ubiquitous in sport. In conclusion, money is a huge contribution to sports but should not be the only factor; instead it should be focused around one major factor. It’s all about the game and the enjoyment we get from it.

 

RR8- Chapter 15: Sports Gaming

In this chapter of the book it talks about all the ways we can be so involved in sports by just playing video games or fantasy sports.

Video games have come a long way for the sports genre as they used to be these low quality pictured games but now have expanded to look so real some people confuse it to be the real sport. Sports games like, Madden NFL Football and Mlb The Show make the experience of playing video game sports so enjoyable. The main reason sports and video games seem to mesh so well is the experience looks and feels real. For example, if you have a terrible team in real life you can make them a playoff contender or even the champs; the control is literally in your hands!

Fantasy sports has caused so much ruckus with the controversy of is it gambling or not? You can look at it however you want but it has caused so many people to be more interactive with sports and looking at it in more depth; it has made the sports world more money, which only makes other sports more popular.

In conclusion, fantasy sports, and video game sports can make fans be more interactive with the sports they love by being in full control of their own destiny.

RR7- Chapter 8: Politics and Nationalism in Sport

Nowadays, you see sports heavily associated with politics and patriotism, but why? In chapter 8 of the book it talks about how a man named Cassius Clay, a former slave who came out of nowhere to become a heavyweight champion in boxing. He later changed his name when he became so popular to Muhammad Ali dumping; his former slave name Cassius Clay. His name change became a huge role in “the Civil Rights Movement and then, his name became symbolic in giving a political climate change in the 1960s, especially with respect to racial politics.” Ali did fight both on and off the ring and his most controversial thing he did, was when he spoke against the American war in Vietnam by denying military draft; this made Ali one of the most controversial figures in American culture and most prominent figures of the antiwar movement.

Sports has changed the way society looks at race and politics; and it has changed the national identity of Americans as it has us pledging to the national anthem before every game and using sports for distractions for controversial things that has happened in America most notably 9/11.

Sports also takes really any controversial statement or debate that is happening in America and uses it to promote their thoughts on the given situation/topic. Whether it be the pro athletes doing controversial things such as taking knees during the national anthem or it be the coaches addressing the media about their thoughts on the topic. Sports is the foundation of all things free.

In conclusion, sports has always been the home for freedom of sensitive topics of discussion because of the history that sports has been through with race, diversity, politics, tragedies, and now patriotism which ties with our national pastime.

 

 

 

RR6- Chapter 7: Race and Ethnicity in Sport

In Chapter 7 of the book it talks about race and ethnicity. One thing everyone should know about the race period where only whites could play with each other is about how Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier. Race in sports relates a lot to how women were treated back then in sports and how it has gotten better in the society. Thanks to Jackie Robinson we probably wouldn’t have the chance to witness such incredible talent like Michael Jordan, Muhammed Ali, LeBron James, and many more.

A giant level of criticism has been leveled out to Steph Curry, Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods for not being openly activist about past and present racial issues. Instead politics has become the new problem in sports since race no longer a monumental issue in the sports community. Since every race participates in every sport the sporting community has found new controversies to associate the level of bad we had with race back then and that is politics now. Race is still a problem sometimes has proven by Colin Kaepernick taking a knee during the national anthem to stand for black rights; but yet that even is still politics related.

In conclusion, race and ethnicity in sports society is no longer a huge issue and it is mere a history lesson of our sports and to remind us of all how equal and free we all are to play any game.

RR5- Chapter 6: Gender In Sport

Chapter 6 talks about one of the most sensitive topics in sports besides politics and that is women playing sports. The few known conflicts with women in sports I found in this chapter are recognition, excluded, and title IX.

Women sports often get little to no recognition in the media department and are barely broadcasted for live TV; unless it is the big championship or playoff games. Women sports coverage is like a unpopular sport not being televised. Men’s sports are way more popular as they will even cover preseason basketball games rather than casual women’s basketball matches. A perfect example of how women sports are being seen is when cricket a sport that doesn’t get a whole lot of televised game time is just despised compared to football, basketball, and baseball.

Title IX has surely been the only positive towards equality when it comes to females being included in sports. Billy Jean King, a tennis player changed how women were aloud to play sports by not being looked at as “fragile women” but instead strong competitors. Though some may argue she wouldn’t really act lady like she still was a women and told the press she was proud to be a strong female competitor

One last point the book points out is how women are excluded from playing with men in the same league. In my opinion I feel as all women should play in the same sports leagues as men. For one, it would be more competitive and would certainly bring more viewership in as well. Two, I don’t think the sports community should outlaw women for their gender but for their skill. If a women is good enough to play with men based on their tested skill they should definitely get the chance to play. In class we have only scratched the surface of women in sport and I’m interested to talk more about this topic in class and to hear more of a perspective from my fellow classmates.

RR3- Chapter 5: Sports and Mythology

Chapter 5 talks about myths in sports and how they can impact how we perceive sports. One story is how baseball or our “national pastime” was said to be invented in Cooperstown, New York when in reality it wasn’t and indeed is a lie to make baseball sound more intriguing to the fans eye.

Chapter 5 also discusses how fans see their favorite players as hero’s, legends, and perfectionistic role models; when in reality they are as human as me and you. The book uses the example of baseball slugger Mark McGwire and how he was a great player that saved baseball when he hit 70 home runs , but he was caught using performing enhancing drugs. This made him look a lot less heroic.  When this happens the players may drop off the face of the earth and are treated bad and seen as villains.

In conclusion, myths in sports are used for dramatic purpose to intrigue sports fans; even all the facts aren’t true.

RR4- Chapter 3: Sports Media

Chapter 3 explores the evolving world of sports media through these four media lenses that clash with each other. The four media lenses are traditional, news, social, and user generated.

Traditional media is the media in television, newspapers, and magazines. Traditional media is still the top dog in media despite the drastic changes in 10 to 15 years. The biggest change that has occurred is an one on one interview to find out more about the athletes. Now with Twitter being such dominant force to let professional athletes tell their fans more about their daily life’s and what’s going on behind the scenes. Interviews to a certain extent are irrelevant and pointless unless its just about the game. Television is in high regard when it comes to ratings and analyst before a game and it proves through all the super bowls being in the top ten most watched events. On the other hand, regarding newspapers and magazines they have been changed by no longer providing information on stats in a game because how long it takes to reach the viewer. The internet has replaced this because it can provide these stats at an instant. A perfect example of how we use traditional media today is the article “LeBron James chases the ghost from Chicago and basketball immortality”.

News Media is the one place where modern sports fans come to find anything from present game day news to past sports news. In fact news is so important in sports that “its not surprising that ESPN.com has approximately 94.4 million users of web traffic” during football season for fantasy football league fans. They use this to keep up with their players to see whos injured, tradable, and viable to improve their squad during the season.

Social media I would say is the main home for conversation about sports through applications like Twitter and YouTube. Twitter is used to talk about our teams or to have “debated live in short burst of fan reactions about a game. While YouTube is used for short but exciting highlights you may have missed or wanna see again. Sure news may cover recent trades and big sports news but sometimes social media wins the race to spread the news faster. An example is when Kevin Durant announced he was signing with the Golden State Warriors. The news was all over social media before the big news headlines.

User generated media are sports fans creating player highlights from their careers and putting music in the background to go along with how dramatic or how exciting the highlights are. The other popular user generated media is memes and they are displayed by fans taking a picture of how a player reacted to a situation and caption it. Two examples are “Smoking Jay Cutler” and the “Mckayla’s Not Impressed” memes.

In conclusion, these four sports media lenses are being more and more intertwined with one another; rather then one canceling out the other. Whatever the case sports entities are just taking advantage of still finding a way for fans to have a big appetite for sports that is irresistible.

RR2- Chapter 2: Community In Sport

In Chapter 2 Community In Sport, talks about how sports are involved in our daily lives. Chapter 2 states “Communication informs, persuades, and permeates how we play, how we consume, and how we incorporate notions of sport into our daily lives. There are four major parts that make up the sports community and the book refers to it as “players”. The four major “players” are participants, sports organizations, sports media entities, and fans.

Player 1 or participants focuses on how everyone is involved in some type of sports whether it be physical education classes or organized sports clubs like YMCA. Player 1 is connected more to children but not limited to them as adults are also participants to sports or clubs like intramurals. I have participated so much when it comes to sports because I enjoy the experience of being on a team and having a common goal to win! participants are playing sports because how much they love sports not because they benefit from it besides having fun.

Player 2 or sports organizations are recreation clubs and they are in charge of sports clubs. When I think of organizations I think of sports teams but its not that black and white. It goes so much more deeper for example the organizing committees are in charge of the set up of the organized sports as well as the unorganized sports. The biggest sporting event the Olympics has an “International Olympic Committee specifically designed to coordinate the Games with a host city”.

Player 3 or sports media entities are what makes sports so popular with media exposure. If we didn’t have media to cover a sport then I feel those specific sports wouldn’t be as popular. Think about it women’s sports are less popular today because of how little sports media covers them. Sports media also has to do with the commenting. Announcers like Joe Buck, and Vin Scully make the game iconic with their calls and the anchors portray a story for you to follow to prepare for the “big game”.

Player 4 or fans to me are the most important role. Athletes express this all the time without the fans, none of this would be a thing. No fans and you can pretty much scratch off all these other “players”. As the book states “fans are interested in following sports because of their inherent emotional appeals which include desire to be entertained, eustress desires, bolstering of self-esteem, and the need to escape from the daily grind of life”.

In conclusion, this chapter talked about how involved society is with sports and how every piece matters to make up a sports community enjoyable and entertaining.