Showing posts from April, 2016

More than a Crest: the meaning of the Barça badge

The changing design of Barcelona's club badge teaches us about how sport is an integral part of wider society, not simply a meaningless addendum.  In 1899 at the club's founding it was decided to use the city coat of arms as the club's badge. FC Barcelona's regional ties have long been a fundamental part of its identity, and when the club produced its own unique badge in 1910, key symbolism from the city's crest was retained. The Cross of St. George 1910 crest St George, is not only the patron saint of England, but also a significant icon in numerous regions of Spain. In Catalonia, as in England, he is the noble slayer of dragons, the moral crusader, the rescuer of damsels; in short, God's man on the earth. In a culture saturated with Catholicism the symbolic act of wearing George's cross is of great relevance. The selection of the Cross to form the Barça crest is a means to tie the club to a heritage which - albeit mostly invented - enables the

Proper PE: More health, less sport.

Recently the Sport and Recreation Alliance produced a report on the social value of sport (you can read it here ), in which several writers outline the positive outcomes to be gained through increased sports participation. The case was made in particular for sport as a tool for righting the wrongs of inactivity and obesity. I'm sure there’s nuance in the writers’ minds but what is down on the paper strikes me as unduly imbuing sport with an almost miracle-working capacity. For example, on page 9 of the report the writer declares, with reference to improving the health and fitness of young people in the UK, ‘It can be done. All we need is the right sport’. I could hardly disagree more. I think we need to stop pinning our hopes on sport, and start talking about the much broader, and much more accessible options to people who don't want to play sport. Public Domain. It got me thinking about how and why this idea of sport-as-el

Football vs Feminism: A Response

I was dismayed this morning to read this piece by Toby Young. I had hoped to discover that it was written as an April Fool's joke, but sadly it seems this is not the case. I'm not responding in order to attack Toby himself because, though I know his views often ruffle feathers, ad hominem is poor form and is not my style. Besides, I like Mr. Young as a writer, and think he brings a lot to the table on a range of issues. I'd happily listen to him on the EU, or schools, and so on... But he's wrong this time.  My primary objection to the article is straightforward and so I shall be brief. Mr Young complains that the 'politically correct brigade' - by making themselves visible at football matches - are encroaching into unwelcome (male) territory. I believe there are two key errors made in the article which concede ground where it need not be conceded. The first error is that political correctness is equated (unintentionally or otherwise) with concern