The Eternal Present of Sport

Rethinking Sport and Religion

Daniel A. Grano
2018 Outstanding Book of the Year Award, National Communication Association's Communication and Sport Division
Book Cover

PB: $34.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-1280-5
Publication: Jun 17

HC: $104.50
EAN: 978-1-4399-1279-9
Publication: Jun 17

Ebook: $34.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-1281-2
Publication: Jun 17

282 pages
6 x 9
1 halftones

Rethinking the changes surrounding religion and elite sport cultures

Read an excerpt from the Introduction (pdf).


In his persuasive study The Eternal Present of Sport, Daniel Grano rethinks the sport-religion relationship by positioning sport as a source of theological trouble. Focusing on bodies, time, movement, and memory, he demonstrates how negative theology can be practically and theoretically useful as a critique of elite televised sport.

Grano asserts that it is precisely through sport’s highest religious ideals that controversies are taking shape and constituting points of political and social rupture. He examines issues of transcendence, “legacy”—e.g., “greatest ever,” or “all-time”—and “witnessing” through instant replay, which undermine institutional authority. Grano also reflects on elite athletes representing especially powerful embodiments of religious and social conflict, including around issues related to gender, sexuality, ability doping, traumatic brain injury, and institutional greed.

Elite sport is in a period of profound crisis. It is through the ideals Grano analyzes that we can imagine a radically alternative future for elite sport.

Table of Contents


1. Introduction: Sport and Negative Theology
2. Greatest Ever: Eternity, Forgetting, and Obsolescence
3. Replay and the Nature of Witnessing
4. Transcendence after Technological Doping
5. The Birth and Death of the National Football League
6. Ed O’Bannon Changes Everything? Some Closing Theses on Sport and Negative Theology


About the Author(s)

Daniel A. Grano is Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at The University of North Carolina at Charlotte.