Rethinking the City: Sports and the City

I'm one of the organizers for Rethinking the City (RTC). RTC is dedicated to building a dialogue within our community and with changemakers around the world about the forces that shape cities and how we can participate in positive change in our own city through arts, engagement, service, and enterprise. RTC hosts a monthly symposium and produces a radio program dedicated to promoting and understanding the contemporary dialogue around community change. The RTC Symposium is the last Tuesday of every month and features local, national and international changemakers sharing insights and actions. RTC radio airs every Monday afternoon at 4:00pm on WPRK radio 91.5FM in Orlando, Florida (streaming online). Finally, the RTC Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/RethinkingTheCity) offers resources and information for the community.  In March 2015, I curated a discussion focus on the impact of sport in the city.  Enjoy!!!

“I’m a sportsman.” - Lucky Luciano

What does Salvatore Lucania, Lucky to his friends (and enemies), have to do with our concerns this month? You see Lucky says something about the place of sport in the modern city. Sport, like Lucky is emblematic of the transformative narrative that defines the twentieth century. This mercurial nature is worth reflecting upon. Luciano called himself many things: salesman, sportsman, and chauffeur. These labels were for public consumption and help build an attractive public persona. Sport has been called an engine of growth, a tool to boost community identity, and a means to promote external recognition. Today, we label (rightly) Lucky a criminal. Sport too is defined as an inescapable part of the urban experience. History condemns Luciano, but contemporary discussion of sport continues to debate benefits and dangers. Who are the winners and who are the losers? Do sport stadiums help the community? Does the entire community benefit from sport teams? Does sport serve the interest of a few and victimize others? In the end, do the costs outweigh the benefits? Join us on March 31st at 6:30pm for a discussion featuring Dr. Rick Eckstein from Villanova University. Eckstein is an experienced observer of the complex issues surrounding the construction of publicly financed sports stadiums and the surrounding communities.