The Spirit of Graduate Research Soars On!

by Brandon Long on June 16, 2015
The Spirit of Graduate Research Soars On!

Brandon Long, a May 2015 M.S. in sport management graduate, describes his experiences presenting at the 2015 North American Society for Sport History Conference. 

As I sit here in an attempt to describe my experiences from May21-26, 2015, I find it seemingly hopeless to detail those events in black and white text. That does not come as a surprise based upon on the moments leading up to the flight out of the Buffalo-Niagara International Airport to Miami, Fla., for the 2015 North American Society for Sport History Conference (NASSH).

In anticipation for the outgoing flight, the culmination of my two years as a student in Niagara University’s M.S. in sport management was soon to reach its next level. After a year and a half of work on a sport history subject that has not found its way into the public eye, the moment will soon come where I’ll be representing my family, my small town and Niagara University at the Sports History Convention, which has never been attended by an NU graduate student. Over the next six hours, as I made the trek to Miami, the weight and impact of such an opportunity and trip presented itself.

While attending the NASSH conference with Dr. Jimmy Smith, a Niagara University sport management professor, who assisted greatly in the pursuit of the research, the moments, the networking, and the presentations were unforgettable. To be part of such a conference was extraordinary.

During a Friday “meet and greet,” we had the opportunity to speak with countless renowned sport historians from around the world, as well as authors and organizers of NASSH, all of whom where welcoming, kind and respectful. Come Saturday morning, the first official day of presentations and the day of my presentation had finally arrived, starting with the first sessions of the day and the 43rd Annual Conference.

8:30 – 10:05 a.m. Session A/3: Memory and Resistance: Locating Aboriginal Identities in Sport

It began with meeting the moderator and a presentation by a representative from University of Lethbridge. Then the moment came. It was time for Niagara University to be represented through my research that merged both my history undergraduate and sports management master’s degrees into one. The combined six years of learned methods and opportunities provided specifically over the past two years while at Niagara University came to the creation of what became known as:

“The Spirit Soars On: Past, Present, and Future for the Athletic Members of the American Indian Higher Education”

After a 20-minute reading of the research, two other researchers presented. One was from Georgia Institute of Technology and the other was from University of Victoria. Upon completion, the other presenters and members of the audience greeted me and Dr. Jimmy Smith after the session with positive words and suggestions for continued growth and development on the research.

Over the remaining days at NASSH 2015, there were a various amount of informational and eye-opening sport history sessions that presented themselves to both sport and history fans alike. It eventually led to the final night of the conference, with a final ceremonial dinner attended by all presenters and their acquaintances. As common as it was witnessed during the first day of the NASSH 2015 conference, the family atmosphere and respect filled the grand ballroom as this moment would be the last time in 2015 that all members in attendance would be in the same room together. It came as no surprise but there weren’t any exchanges of final goodbyes and no feeling of never seeing each other again, but instead it was exchanges of future anticipation in meeting no later than the 44th Annual Convention for NASSH.

The time at the University of Miami for NASSH’s 43rd Annual Convention as a representative of Niagara University and presenting my work would be one of several highlights that I will look back on while attending college and in life in general. This one statement, though, falls short of truly expressing all the gratitude that I personally have toward the program and the opportunities that I was extremely fortunate to have experienced. It is beyond the ability to express in a simplistic form that, while in attendance, it became clear that those moments in time were truly what I enjoy most as a researcher and student of history and a fan of sport.

For more information about Niagara's M.S. in sport management program, please contact Professor Michael Gentile via email or at 716.286.8652!