The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 105, July 2001 - April, 2002

Mexican Americans of South Texas Football:
The Athletic and Coaching Careers of E. C. Lerma
and Bobby Cavazos, 193 2-1965
JORGE IBER*
Sports teach, it is in their nature. .... Schools and colleges also teach something by thezr
very natures, which is that you are now playing for the whole community and not just
yourself, and that if you win, the community will join you in experiencing a kind of crazy
collective joy that used to more than make up for not getting paid.1
D URING THE PAST THIRTY YEARS THE BREADTH OF MEXICAN AMERICAN HIS-
tory has expanded dramatically as researchers explored the develop-
ment of various comunidades (communities) throughout the United States
as well as spotlighting class, religious, and political diversity within this
group. While much has been learned, there are facets of Mexican Ameri-
can life that are still relatively unexplored; athletic endeavor is one such
area. Over the past decade, the works of Samuel O. Regalado introduced
the story of Hispanic baseball players to an academic audience as he fo-
cused his research on athletic achievement as well as on how sport affect-
ed American society's perception of Spanish-speakers. Additionally,
Regalado detailed the importance of baseball ligas (leagues) to barrio
(neighborhood) life, and the social significance of the Los Angeles
Dodgers' Spanish-language broadcasts. These studies clearly provide a
foundation for a Hispanic role in baseball history, but recent research re-
veals that the participation of Spanish-surnamed people in U.S. sporting
life extends beyond the diamond. This essay will expand upon this devel-
oping trend and discuss Texans' perceptions of Chicano athletic and
* A previous version of this essay was presented at the North American Society for Sport Histo-
ry meeting in London, Ontario, in May of 2oo 1. The author wishes to thank the following for com-
menting on previous versions: Arnoldo De Leon of Angelo State University, Alwyn Barr and Monte
Monroe of Texas Tech University, Joel Franks of San Jose State University, Ty Cashion of Sam
Houston State University, Larry Gerlach of the University of Utah, and Sam Regalado of Califor-
nia State University, Stanislau. Jorge Iber is a 1997 graduate of the University of Utah and is cur-
rently an assistant professor of history at Texas Tech University.
'Wilfrid Sheed, "Why Sports Matter," Wlson Quarterly (Winter, 1995), 11-15, 16 (quotation),
17-25.
VOL. CV, NO. 4 SOUTHWESTERN HISTORICAL QUARTERLY APRIL, 2002

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 105, July 2001 - April, 2002. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101222/. Accessed April 27, 2015.