Developing character and socializing a revolutionary
This essay focuses on the role sport and leisure played in the life of Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara during childhood and adolescence. Specifically, the essay conceptualises how his sport and leisure experiences contributed to making Guevara the revolutionary and guerilla fighter. To be sure, a number of works on Guevara do recount his participation in sport but few specifically reflect on how these experiences may have influenced his later life. To accomplish this, I provide case examples of Guevara’s engagement with sport and leisure during childhood and adolescence and link those experiences with the theoretical and philosophical foundations that position sport as a useful socializing agent and character-building tool. The goal of this work is to provide a paradigmatic lens that argues sport and leisure played a significant role in the development of a young Ernesto Guevara. These early experiences influenced and, in some cases, altered the path of the ambiguous adolescent who would later become the iconic twentieth-century Latin American revolutionary known around the world as Che.