"Sweat is what the body want" : Race, Politics, Geography, and Basketball In Trinidad
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How does the sport of basketball, which is characterized by a flowing system of improvisation and teamwork, function in a divided racial and class landscape on the Caribbean island of Trinidad? The project looks at how race, class, and politics function on the island, focusing on the ways that basketball offers a crucible for considerations of race and class. The author uses Niaah's concept of performance geography in order to explore the ways that individuals define and redefine spaces based on their own performances, and the ways that those performances are also affected by space. He spent 6 weeks in an urban community in Trinidad, interviewing, discussing, observing, and playing basketball. The author argues that the court becomes a celebratory space whose rituals blur the boundaries of everyday life. Daily devotion to basketball allows Trinidadians the opportunity to perform the improvisational yet cooperative play that the game demands. The game of pick-up basketball, or what Trinidadians call "sweats", becomes a space of creative expression, and also a place where conflations of race and class can be joked and played with.