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In recent years the United States has seen an influx of Christian athletes and coaches into big-time sports, as well as a heightened importance placed on sports in church programs and enormous platforms for intercollegiate sports at Christian schools and colleges. However, as Shirl Hoffman critiques, a Christian vision of sport remains merely superficial--replete with prayers before free throws and praises after touchdowns but offering little if any alternative vision from the secular sports culture. Far from being the kind of life-affirming, faith-affirming events that they could be, games played in Christian college gymnasiums, for example, too often end up as mockeries of the faith statements given prominence in their mission statements. Here, in this thoughtful, narrative-driven exploration, Hoffman retells numerous fascinating stories from the world of ancient and contemporary sports and draws on the history of the Christian tradition as he seeks to answer the question "What would it mean to think Christianly about sport?"
Shirl James Hoffman is Professor Emeritus of Exercise and Sport Science at University of North Carolina at Greensboro. The Executive Director of the American Kinesiology Association, he is the author of Sport and Religion and the editor of Introduction to Kinesiology: Studying Physical Activity, now in its third edition.