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More girls are playing sports than ever before-which, on the surface, is great for girls because sports offer positive and empowering fun for young women. In reality, though, few young athletes report fun as a reason they play sports. The rates of concussions and repetitive use injuries are on the rise, and kids are encouraged to specialize in a single sport at earlier and earlier ages, spending much of their free time throughout the year dedicated to the pursuit of a single sport at the expense of friends, other activities, and sometimes, health. Alarmed by the stories he heard from young athletes in his classes, sports scholar Rick Eckstein set out to investigate youth sports-why young people are playing them, how they have changed over time, and their impact on kids and families. Through three years of extensive research, including surveys, interviews, and more, Eckstein discovered that college athletics are having an alarming impact on youth sports, particularly for girls. How College Athletics Are Hurting Girls' Sports looks closely at college sports and how they shape the athletic-and personal-landscape for girls and young women. Filled with powerful interview excerpts from women athletes of all ages, as well as coaches, league officials, and others, the book chronicles how college and youth sports have become more commercialized, to the detriment of participants. The book looks at a range of sports, with case studies including soccer, field hockey, ice hockey, figure skating, and Ultimate Frisbee. The author celebrates sports' potential to have a positive impact on a girl's life, but he recommends changes in how college and youth athletics are structured to improve the experience of young athletes and to give them their childhood back.
We often think of 'progress' and 'economic growth' as natural developments that benefit all members of society. Nuclear Power and Social Power challenges this view and instead suggests that specific definitions of progress and economic growth can be molded by powerful individuals, organizations, and classes. These definitions, and their manifestation in social policy, often serve narrow parochial interests rather than the common good. Such inequities of social power, hiding behind the semantic facade of 'progress' and 'economic growth,' threaten the existence of democratic communities and societies.In Nuclear Power and Social Power , Rick Eckstein helps us understand this perspective of social power by examining the civilian nuclear power industry in the United States. More specifically, he compares the Shoreham reactor in New York and the Seabrook reactor in New Hampshire, which faced similar financial and public oppositions yet met very different fates. The $5.5 billion Shoreham plant was the first completed and licensed reactor in the United States never to operate commercially. Seabrook, costing about the same, managed to open even though its primary owner went bankrupt. Despite the differences, the cast of winners and losers was very much the same. In both cases, banks and other powerful corporations won while regular folks and small businesses lost amid a barrage of egalitarian discourse about progress and growth. Rick Eckstein is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Villanova University.