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Despite enormous differences in pay among professional athletes, most aspects of their daily lives remain surprisingly constant across sports and income levels. Living Out of Bounds provides answers to persistent questions about what it's really like to be an athlete and discusses the filtered image of the athlete that emerges through books and other media. Steven J. Overman mines a wide array of sports biographies, autobiographies, memoirs, and diaries to construct a representative picture of the athlete's life from the rise of American sport in the late nineteenth century to the present day. In so doing, he reveals the person behind the sports celebrity as he exists on a daily basis. Individual chapters cover topics such as college athletics, the pressure of celebrity, the difficulty of balancing sports and everyday life, sex and sexuality, race in sports, the obsession with the body, and the difficulties associated with retiring. In the course of the work, a portrait emerges that transcends individual lives. The shared experiences of devoted training, of travel and hotels, and of tension within and beyond the clubhouse or gym force us to appreciate the often oppressive reality of the sporting life; at the same time, individual lives provide a glimpse of the rewards that make sports so compelling to audiences and athletes across America.
Steven J. Overman, a retired academic, has published extensively about sports and has contributed columns and op-ed pieces for newspapers. He is the author of The Influence of the Protestant Ethic on Sport and Recreation.