The Republic of Play — Rob Ruck

Rob Ruck

I’ve come to think of sport—at its best—as the republic of play, offering a vision of society in which fairness prevails—an ethical, transparent arena where performance matters the most and people validate their worth by the strength and acumen of their opponents. It prizes fair play, celebrates the body and the mind, and tests our ability to overcome challenges. At its best, sport creates social capital because being a part of a team in which you have each other’s back and compete with a common purpose is one of life’s treasures.

But just as the early American republic embraced slavery and exclusion alongside national liberation and notions of freedom, the republic of play can be a mean and vicious place—where youth become vulnerable commodities on a global supply chain; the athletes we applaud are traumatized, and sport used to promote anger and misogyny, bringing out the worst—not the best—in us.


Early Praise for The Tropic of Football

“Rob Ruck has another winner, but this one takes us on one of the most interesting journeys. Tropic of Football is a written documentary of how American Samao has developed into such an important asset to college football and the NFL. Thanks to Rob’s always thorough research, he details the development of families who have given us late Hall of Famer Junior Seau, future Hall of Famer Troy Polamaula and great players such as Marcus Mariota and others. The hard work and struggles are so well detailed.”

—John Clayton, Senior Writer, ESPN.COM

More Books by Rob Ruck

  • Tropic of Football book cover
  • Raceball book cover
  • Rooney book cover
  • Tropic of Baseball book cover
  • Sandlot book cover
  • Nelson book cover

Films by Rob Ruck