Latinos and Sports in the Southwest
The photography exhibit, Striving for Success: Latino Athletes at Texas State, opens September 16, 2014, in Brazos Hall. That evening the first of three presentations will be given at the Wittliff Collections by Dr. Jorge Iber, Associate Dean and History Professor at Texas Tech University. His presentation, “Sports as a Vehicle for Breaking Down Barriers,” will examine individual and team stories that shed light upon the significant role of sports in the day-to-day existence of (mostly) Mexican American communities throughout these regions. The topic of sports is a well-developed element for the study of stereotyping of other racial and ethnic groups, but has only recently begun to generate academic interest as a vital component of Latino life.
In the second presentation of the series, "Constructing a Mexican American Powerhouse While Remaining Colorblind," Dr. Ignacio Garcia will describe and analyze how William Carson “Nemo” Herrera built a strong basketball program at Sidney Lanier High School, winning two state championships and numerous regional ones with boys from the barrios of the West Side of San Antonio during the World War II years. While Herrera understood the difficulties under which his players labored both on and off the basketball courts, he remained steadfast in teaching his players a colorblind approach to sports. Through his efforts, his boys came of age as Mexican Americans with an ethnic and racial pride that spread out into the community and makes them heroes to this day. Dr. Garcia is the Lemuel Hardison Redd, Jr. Professor of Western & Latino History at Brigham Young University. He is the author of six books on Chicano politics, civil rights and sports, two of which have been honored for their contribution to Texas history.
The final presentation will be a viewing and discussion of The Perfect Game. William Winokur in his presentation, "The Perfect Game and Transcending Fairy Tales," will talk about his novel and the movie, which is based on a true story that began in Monterrey, Mexico where a young group of boys in the slums of Monterrey try to escape the dismal conditions that surround them—hunger, dirt floors and cinder block houses. A chance encounter with the Mexico City All-Star traveling team inspires them to form an organized Little League team. Their dream: to dress up in actual uniforms and play just one “real game.”