Sport and recreation in the United States
SPORT AND ITS DEVELOPMENT IN THE USA 4
Historical background, names of
national sports, borrowed games 4
Problems and prospects of American sport 6
THE VARIETY OF AMERICAN SPORTS 9
Professional sport 9
The business of sport 9
Baseball and business
Football: an American spectacle
Problems in professional sport 16
Olympic Games and the names of American heroes 17
Sports for the disabled
Women in sports
Women and traditional sports and games
Women’s sport in the 19th century
Challenging gendered boundaries
The age of modern sports
RECREATION IN THE USA
Sports at colleges
College and sport
Sport and money
Women's Collegiate Sport
Intramural and club sports 32
Animals in sport 32
Unusual sports 33
Nowadays a lot of people are
getting more and more ambitious and now the always hurry somewhere, they are
eager to do everything and are afraid of losing any minute that can bring them
happiness, joy, glory or just money. But if they want to get that all, they’d
better have wonderful mood all the time, perfect health, steel nerves and
strong will. At present sport is the very thing that can help any person either
keep fit or reach all his aims.
In my course paper I’m going to
investigate almost all kinds of sport that can be popular famous in the USA,
both professional and amateur ones.
There probably are countries
where the people are as crazy about sports as they are in America, but I doubt
that there is any place where the meaning and design of the country is so
evident in its games. In many odd ways, America is its sports. The free market
is an analog of on-the-field competition, apparently wild and woolly yet
contained by rules, dependent on the individual's initiative within a corporate
(team) structure, at once open and governed.
plays a major role in American society as it accounts for the most popular form
of recreation. Many Americans are involved in sports - either as a participant
or as a spectator. Amateur sports distinguish between recreational and
competitive sports. Favorite recreational activities include hiking, walking,
boating, hunting, and fishing. All of these are liked for the recreational
value as well as for exercise. But there are also many other sports activities
in America which attract millions of participants for personal enjoyment, the
love of competition and for the benefits of fitness and health. In addition,
sport teaches social values like teamwork, sportsmanship, self-discipline, and
persistence that are highly regarded in U.S. society.
the main tasks of my course paper are to learn how sport influences on health
and culture of the Americans, to find out all problems and prosperities of
American sport and to figure out how many people of various classes, ages,
nationalities and races, which live in the USA, are involved in playing games.
first chapter of this course paper contains the information that shows us the
stages of gradual development of American sport, beginning from Puritans’ times
till our days. Different kinds of problems and prosperities that very often can
appear in sport are also discussed here. In the second chapter any can find the
information about great variety of sports that are played and watched on TV
through the whole USA. Here I also give some data about participating women and
the disabled in contests and competitions. The third chapter tells us about
sport as about the main sourse for recreation.
the whole course paper is dedicated to the sport in the USA, its development
and influence on American life.
AND ITS DEVELOPMENT IN THE USA
background, names of national sports, borrowed games
Whatever else sports may
mean or be, their present-day prosperity represents a repudiation of the
hostility toward games and enjoyment codified in the law books of the first
settlers. The colonies' early rulers, north and south, were dedicated to
rooting out play and enforcing the discipline of hard work as a moral value in
itself and as a frontier necessity. The Puritans' war against sports may be
traced to their equation of work with prayer and their belief that divine
election was accompanied by an easy rejection of idleness; as members of
England's rising middle class, the Puritans also had a social bias against the
traditional amusements of the aristocracy. Today's fascination with the moral
significance of winning, with the accompanying neglect of the play element in
sports, may be an atavistic survival of this Puritan outlook—although the
win-at-any-cost ethic is no less in evidence in countries with no Puritan
heritage. Then again, the sheer number of seventeenth century laws against
sports must also mean that games were very popular in colonial .America.
Throughout the colonies
the old English sports like wrestling and footraces seem to have been present,
although cockfighting and horse racing were not permitted in New England.
Sledding and ice skating were also popular where the climate permitted; ice skating
remained one form of physical exercise allowed women when the mores of the
Victorian era later began to exclude them from sport.
class revolution that changed the rank of gentleman from one of ascription to
achievement had a pernicious effect on participation in sports. An
eighteenth-century gentleman (or lady) could hardly have lost his status by
anything short of a major crime, but the kind of gentility that was the goal of
social climbing in the second quarter of the nineteenth century was as easily
lost as gained, particularly by women. The determination of the new middle
classes to separate themselves from the vulgar meant avoiding anything that had
the appearance of physical work, which was enough to rule out strenuous play.
It is not true that
there was no American participation in sports during the 1840s and 1850s; these
were the years when a primitive form of baseball was evolving. However, these
decades were more notable for the rise of spectator sports—early evidence of
tastes that would eventually be satisfied by the television sports broadcasts
of today. The most popular spectator sport was horse racing, and whole
sections, sometimes the whole country, followed rivalries between famous stable
Sailing regattas were
another way social leaders could exhibit themselves before the masses in a
pastime whose expense insured its exclusivity. There were professional races
staged by gamblers for cash purses, but most were sponsored by elite rowing and
sailing clubs. The first America's Cup race in 1851, and the intense interest
it aroused, gave the rich an opportunity to hold themselves up as defenders of
national pride in an arena none but they could afford to enter.
As the nineteenth
century progressed, sports seemed to evolve along two diverging paths. On the
one hand, sports suitable for general participation tended to be monopolized by
elite groups who excluded the working class and immigrants. On the other hand,
sports with an in-eradicable working class (and hence professional) character
tended to be taken over by commercial interests and run as money-making
enterprises. Track exemplifies the first tendency, baseball the second.
Professional track and
field, or "pedestrianism," was one of the most popular sports of the
nineteenth century, both as recreation and spectacle. Before the Civil War
races tended to be promoted by gamblers and often pitted English champions
against American favorites; the races were commonly held at horse race tracks
or on city streets. In 1844 some thirty thousand spectators watched the
American runner John Gilder-sleeve beat the Englishman John Barlow in a ten
mile run for $1,000 at a Hoboken race track. Forty thousand watched the
rematch, which Barlow won with a time of 54:21.
After the Civil War
track was particularly popular as an opportunity for wagering, with the
competitors often handicapped with weights or staggered starts to ensure
parity. Amusement parks sponsored weekend track meets on an elimination basis
with the winners receiving cash awards or readily pawnable trophies. Marathons
and long distance races were also popular.
Probably the most
important sponsors of track and field sports in the nineteenth century were the
ethnic organizations with their annual "picnics"—mass athletic meets
allowing amateurs and professionals to compete separately and against each
other. The Caledonian Games of New York City were the earliest; during the
1880s there were also Irish and German picnics. Picnics were also hosted by
military regiments, labor unions, colleges, and wealthy athletic associations
like the New York Athletic Club and the Schuylkill Navy Club of Philadelphia.
In the 1870s the
"gentlemen" began to complain about having to compete against lower
class professionals at track meets. The solution to this genteel dilemma was
the doctrine of amateurism, which made it possible for the well-born to win
more than an occasional race and, incidentally, made athletics respectable
since social contact with workmen was infra dig. In 1888 today's ruling amateur
sports organization, the Amateur Athletic Union, was formed, which by strictly
enforcing the rules of amateurism effectively banished working-class
participation from track and field. Not until the 1970s would these rules be
relaxed enough to allow athletes without private means of support to compete.
champions of the "pedestrian" era set records that still astound. In
1885 a professional runner set a mile record of 4:12.4, a mark no amateur could
match until 1915. The most amazing professional track record was set by the
outstanding pedestrian Richard Perry Williams, who ran a carefully
authenticated 9 second 100 yard dash on June 2, 1906. It took nearly seventy
years for an amateur to equal that achievement.
As track evolved into an
upper-class preserve, baseball grew from similar beginnings into the earliest,
and still the most complete, form of popular sports culture [3,p.207-209].
In 1911, the
American writer Ambrose Bierce defined Monday as “in Christian countries, the
day after the baseball game”. Times have changed and countries, too. In the
U.S. of today, football is the most popular spectator sport. Baseball is now
in second place among the sports people most like to watch. In Japan, it is the
most popular. Both baseball and football are, of course, American developments
of sports played in England. But baseball does not come from cricket, as many
people think. Baseball comes from baseball. As early as 1700, an English
churchman in Kent complained of baseball being played on Sundays. And
illustrations of the time make it clear that this baseball was the baseball now
called “the American game”. Baseball is still very popular in the USA as an
informal, neighborhood sport. More than one American remembers the time when she
or he hit a baseball through a neighbor’s window.
football have the reputation of being “typically American” team sports. This is
ironic because the two most popular participant sports in the world today are
indeed American in origin-basketball and volleyball. The first basketball game
was played in Springfield, Massachusetts, in 1891. It was invented at a YMCA
there as a game that would fill the empty period between the football season
(autumn) and the baseball season (spring and summer). Volleyball was also first
played in Massachusetts, and also at a YMCA, this one in Holyoke, in 1895.
During the First and Second World Wars, American soldiers took volleyball with
them overseas and helped to make it popular. Today, of course, both basketball and
volleyball are played everywhere by men and women of all ages. They are
especially popular as school sports [1, p.138-139].
and prospects of American sport
single largest problem in the conduct of American sports is the obsession with
winning that is found at almost all levels of competition. Already at age
twelve or thirteen youngsters are often exposed to grueling training regiments.
Sometimes dirty tactics are even introduced at this age by coaches who are too
eager to win. In some cases parents who appear to be living out fantasies of
success in sports through their children contribute to the tremendous pressure
of sporting competition at an early age. Baseball for children ages 9-12,
called Little League baseball, and its football counterpart have often been
criticized for their premature stress on winning at all cost. Football, with
its violent contact, would appear to be a particularly dangerous game for
youngsters whose bone structure has not fully developed. Competition at an early
age is not bad in itself as long as a healthy spirit of fun and recreation is
trend in contemporary American sports partly related to the obsession with
winning is over specialization. While this over specialization helps to produce
the remarkable feats of modem gymnasts, basketball players, and others, it
nevertheless discourages some from trying out a wide variety of sports.
particularly American phenomenon connected with sport is what might be called
the cult of the coach. All sorts of legends and romantic tales have grown up
around certain well-known coaches, and sometimes their coaching philosophy has
entered folk wisdom. It may be that this cult of the coach is made possible
partly by the fact that Americans are accustomed to having strong managers in
the world of business. In any event, sports in the US are typically closely
controlled and managed by their coaches, perhaps more so than in other parts of
the world. This is reflected in the numerous timeouts and other stoppages of
play characteristic of American football, basketball, and baseball. The
increase in the number of timeouts that has come about in recent years in
professional sport is of course also designed to allow more time for
advertisements. At the amateur level, too many interruptions for coaching
instruction may even have the result of discouraging individual initiative,
something many Americans prize above all.
American sport has certain problems, it also has many positive features.
Perhaps the greatest achievement of American sport is that over the years it
has attracted more and more people of all types and backgrounds. Participation
by minorities and women is constantly increasing. There are certain sports,
such as football and basketball, where black athletes now dominate. As in the
rest of society, all problems associated with race relations are far from
having been solved. For example, minorities are greatly under represented in
the management of American sport. And, many private clubs, particularly golf
clubs, continue to discriminate against minorities. Nevertheless, other areas
of society would do well to match the example of sport in making opportunities
for minority participation available.
positive feature of modern sport and physical culture in the US is that people
are constantly inventing new sports and games and reshaping old ones to suit
their needs and desires. At the same time, as people become better educated
about physical fitness, they are more willing to try new recreational physical
activity later in life. Progress in technology has also helped the spread of
certain sports. Artificial snow-making devices are used at virtually all ski
resorts throughout the country and have made possible skiing as far south as
Georgia. Air conditioning and refrigeration have made it possible to construct
skating rinks in all parts of the country so that figure skating and hockey are
now found in Florida and California, where there are now both amateur and
professional hockey teams.
will sport in the US develop in the future? There should be increased
opportunity for diverse groups of people to participate in an ever wider range
of sporting activities. Sports such as golf and tennis, which have not been
known for widespread minority participation, will probably experience a gradual
increase in the number of blacks and other minorities. Sport has traditionally
been one of the most visible paths of advancement for minorities and newly
arrived immigrants in the US. Perhaps, however, in the future expectations
about prospects for raising one's standard of living through spoil will become
more realistic as people begin to understand that professional athletes
comprise only a tiny fraction of the population.
the American spirit of innovation may reach the schools and infuse their
physical education programs with the imagination they are sometimes lacking.
The phenomenon of women playing on otherwise all male teams has existed for
some time and could become more common in future. For the most part, however,
women's sport will continue to grow on its own. Because they are such dynamic
social phenomena, sport and physical culture in the US will not simply continue
to reflect trends in the wider society but will sometimes lead the way on the path
toward change [5, p.2-5].
From this chapter we’ve
learned that sports in North America go back to the Native Americans, who
played forms of lacrosse and field hockey. During colonial times, early Dutch
settlers bowled on New York City's Bowling Green, still a small park in
southern Manhattan. However, organized sports competitions and local
participatory sports on a substantial scale go back only to the late 19th
century. Schools and colleges began to encourage athletics as part of a
balanced program emphasizing physical as well as mental vigor, and churches
began to loosen strictures against leisure and physical pleasures. As work
became more mechanized, more clerical, and less physical during the late 19th
century, Americans became concerned with diet and exercise. With sedentary
urban activities replacing rural life, Americans used sports and outdoor
relaxation to balance lives that had become hurried and confined. Biking,
tennis, and golf became popular for those who could afford them, while sandlot baseball
and an early version of basketball became popular city activities. At the end
of the 20th century, Americans were taking part in individual sports of all
kinds—jogging, bicycling, swimming, skiing, rock climbing, playing tennis, as
well as more unusual sports such as bungee jumping, hang gliding, and wind
During the whole history
of the USA sport there was developing more and more.It attracted and even now
attracts great numbers of the Americans of different ages, sexes and
nationalities.As we can see, sport helps to prevent American teenagers from
different pernicious habits and actions, to involve them in social work.Thanks
to sport many people don’t suffer from various illneses and deseases. But
althouth all that sounds so pleasant and encouraging, American sport has its
disadvantages. Almoust all Americans believe that the impossible is possible.
So they always try to reach the top by all means and very often it leads to
irretrievable consequences that may change the life not only of one person but
the whole country.
VARIETY OF AMERICAN SPORTS
business of Sport
sports in the US comprise one of the largest business enterprises in the
country. Hundreds of millions of dollars are spent every year on everything
from tickets to television contracts and players' salaries. The most popular
team sports are football, basketball, and baseball. In recent years hockey has
been increasing in popularity and some believe that if the National Hockey
League (NHL) can rid itself of unnecessary fighting it will begin to challenge
the other three in terms of spectator interest. The other great world team
sport, soccer, has had a difficult time in gaining a foothold. After a brief
burst of success in the 1970s, professional soccer in the US has assumed a
minor status in relation to the other major sports.
and tennis are the most popular individual professional sports. Businesses that
aspire to national and international recognition are willing to spend tens of
millions of dollars per year on sponsoring golf and tennis in order to have
their names associated with these sports. It should be pointed out that only a
few players at the top are able to achieve real wealth and fame and that many
of the lesser players struggle hard to make ends meet.
is a sport that has become increasingly controversial over the years as its
dangers have become more and more apparent. It is particularly disturbing to
see one of the sport's greatest personalities, former heavy weight champion
Muhammad Ali, struggle with the brain damage he has suffered from taking too
many blows to the head. Nevertheless, the attraction of the sport appears to be
irresistible to some, and efforts to make boxing safer or even to eliminate it
altogether, have proven fruitless.
the sports mentioned above receive the most attention from the news media,
other sports such as car racing and horse racing are tremendously popular in
the US. Motor sports are a whole world of their own. They include racing on
oval tracks, both by stock cars, that is, cars driven on highways, and special
Indy cars (named for the famous Indianapolis Speedway), sports car
competitions, and quarter mile sprints called drag races. In addition, there is
all sorts of racing for motor cycles over dirt tracks, paved tracks, and
obstacle courses with jumps. Just as in other sports, fans have their favorite
drivers in motor sports who sometimes take on the status of folk heroes. The
race car driver Richard Petty, who has recently retired is a good example of
people are not aware that the sport with the largest number of spectators in
the US is horse racing. This is largely because it is possible to gamble on
horse races and there are so many different racing fixtures throughout the
country. Other sports which are based on betting are harness racing, greyhound
dog racing, and jai alai. Jai alai, pronounced "hi li," is a fast
moving game from the Basque country of Spain that involves throwing a ball with
a special basket called a cesta against a wall.
particularly American, and also Canadian, form of sport is the rodeo. Calf
roping, bronco riding, and bull riding are just some of the best known rodeo
events. As you might expect, rodeos are most popular in the western states and
the western provinces of Canada. The Calgary Stampede, held every year in the
Canadian city of Calgary, Alberta, is the world's most famous rodeo.
are also several sports that are out of the main stream but nevertheless have
numerous followers. These include roller derby, in which roller skaters try to
push each other off of a track, and professional wrestling, which features
pre-rehearsed moves and a lot of primitive play acting. Many feel that these
two are not really legitimate sports and call them, together with events such
as racing cars through the mud, "junk sports."[2, p.305-307]
roots of the national pastime, or "game" (never the national
"sport"), may certainly be traced to the English children's game of
rounders —which was also known as early as 1744 by the name of
"baseball," despite A. G. Spalding's effort in 1908 to concoct a myth
of purely American origins. Under the name of "town ball" the game
was popular throughout the colonies, and absorbed enough of students' time for
it to be banned at Princeton in 1787. There was a Rochester Baseball Club in
1820s, and the elder Oliver Wendell Holmes said that he had played the game at
Harvard in 1829.
the Civil War there were really two distinctly different variants of the game.
Throughout New England there was the "Boston" game, while the rest of
the country played the "New York" game. The critical difference was
that the Boston game permitted a base runner to be retired by throwing the ball
at him, a practice called "soaking" the runner.
first baseball clubs of the 1840s and early 1850s were gentlemanly in
membership and decorum. Games between status-conscious clubs like the New York
Knickerbockers and Brooklyn Excelsiors were friendly preludes to formal dinners
with musical entertainment furnished by the host club. These social teams were
soon displaced by workingmen's clubs, with memberships drawn from labor
organizations, from city government services (the police or the sanitation
departments), or sponsored by political machines as part of their election
strategy. The most successful and longest-lived teams tended to be ones with
political support. Political parties could provide government sinecures for the
players, allocations for building enclosed stadiums, and permission to play
Sunday ball. The popularity of Sunday ball (and the ownership of many teams in
the American Association bv brewers) made the game a prime target for militant
Protestant reformers. The battle over Sunday baseball was one of the most
lively survivals of the Sabbatarian movement into the latter part of the century.
less violent character of the New York game (no "soaking") made it
more appropriate for play in urban centers between teams that had neighborly
reasons for restraining their killer instincts. In 1858 the National
Association of Baseball Clubs was formed with a nucleus of sixteen New York
area teams. In 1868 Cincinnati organized the first semi-professional team; it
was there also that the first unashamedly professional team was born in 1869,
today's Cincinnati Reds.
professional teams first appeared in the Midwest, founded by local boosters
eager to publicize their city and to demonstrate its vitality. The Cincinnati
Red Stockings of 1869 were financed by the sale of stock in the team
corporation; likewise the Chicago White Sox in 1870. In 1870 the National
Association of Amateur Baseball Players tried to expel the Cincinnati and
Chicago professionals, and soon afterwards, in March 1871, the professional
clubs met and established the National Association of Professional Baseball
Players [6, p.2-4].
baseball as we know it today dates from a secret meeting of the owners of the
investor-owned teams in 1876. The National Association had been torn by discord
between corporately owned teams like the White Sox and the Reds, and poorer
teams that were essentially player-run cooperatives. The owners of the richer
teams were determined to rationalize the business and to combat the public
perception of professional ballplayers as willing accomplices of gamblers in
betting coups (known then as "hippodroming"). Led by baseball's first
robber baron, William Hulbert of the Chicago White Sox, the owners decided to
declare war on the player-owned cooperative clubs. The owners specifically
restricted membership in their new National League to clubs that had clarified
the role of players as employees. This league, which was the nucleus of today's
major leagues, began with clubs in Philadelphia, Hartford, Boston, Chicago,
Cincinnati, Louisville, St. Louis, and New York. It had to struggle against rival
leagues for the next thirty-nine years, vanquishing some (the Players' League
and the Federal League) and merging with others (the American Association in
1891 and the Western, later American, League in 1903).
first few years of the new league were precarious ones, with cutthroat
competition between the National League and its rivals. On September 29, 1879,
the National League owners met and decided on the strategy that eventually was
their salvation, the reserve clause, a contract provision that gave a player's
club the right to "reserve" his services for the next season. In
effect it transformed a yearly contract into a lifetime indenture. Until 1883
only the top five players on each team were protected by the reserve clause,
but these were precisely the players whose salaries were the greatest burden to
the owners. As the clubs reserved more and more players, finally covering the
entire roster, the players found that their salaries were declining and their
working conditions worsening, and so in 1885 John Montgomery Ward, a standout
shortstop for the Giants and later a lawyer, organized the Brotherhood of
Professional Baseball Players.
not satisfied, the owners drew up a player classification system in 1888 to
stabilize and reduce salaries according to a standardized evaluation of a
player's relative ability (something like today's free agent compensation
pool). Ward was in Egypt on baseball's famous round-the-world tour when he
found out about this. He immediately abandoned the tour and, together with most
of the other National League stars, declared war on the owners by organizing
their own "Players' League." Ward managed to enlist the support of
almost all the star players and most of the sporting press, and he and the ball
players spent the winter of 1889-90 promoting the new league in union halls,
saloons, and wherever fans could be found.
1890 season was really a war between the National League, led by A. G.
Spalding, and Ward's Players' League. At the end of the season the Players' League
had surpassed the National League in attendance, but the total attendance had
been spread too thin for anybody to make much money. The players also made some
grievous mistakes. They spurned an appeal to join the American Federation of
Labor and they refused to play Sunday ball, which was clearly suicidal. Worst
of all, they placed too much power in the hands of their financial backers,
relying on the investors to be fair to their ballplayer partners.
the end of the season all the Players' League teams had shown a profit, while
most of the National League teams were on the verge of bankruptcy. It seemed as
though the players had won. But when the National League offered to meet with
representatives of the American Association (a rival league organized on the
usual investor-controlled basis) and a committee representing the Players'
League capitalists, the money men met and sold the players out. They merged the
three leagues in a way that left the investors firmly in control. This merger
resulted (after dropping some weaker teams) in a twelve-team alignment:
Baltimore, Washington, Cleveland, and Louisville (all of which eventually
folded); Boston, Brooklyn, Chicago, Cincinnati, New York, Philadelphia,
Pittsburgh, and St. Louis. In 1892, with the National League's monopoly once
again secure, the most hated features of the reserve clause were reinstated and
salaries again were slashed. The players had lost all control over their game,
and they would not regain it until the reserve clause was finally thrown out in
1975. This clause, although grossly unfair to the players, undoubtedly
contributed to the growing popularity of the game by ensuring the stability of
the team rosters and by casting the players in roles with which blue collar
fans could identify.
1890s also saw another development that probably helped ensure the popularity
of baseball. That was the enforcement of Jim Crow, which turned every major
league baseball game into a ritual demonstration that America was a white man's
country. During the 1890s blacks had to organize their own teams, and
eventually a two-league system emerged, with a Negro National League in 1920,
and a Negro Eastern League in 1921, both of which collapsed during the early
Depression. A second Negro National League appeared in the late 1930s, and a
Negro American League in 1936. Both leagues died in 1952 when black stars in
large numbers began to be signed to major and minor league contracts after
Jackie Robinson's pioneering year with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947.
National League's 1903 merger with the Western (American) League created a
structure of two eight-team leagues and a World Series (also dating from 1903).
This arrangement remained intact until 1953, when the Boston Braves moved to
years after World War I saw baseball mature into America's premier sports
culture with a full array of mythic underpinnings: an immaculate conception
(the Cooperstown legend of Abner Doubleday's invention of the game), a myth of
the fall (the fixed 1919 World Series), an Odysseus (Ту Cobb),
an Achilles (Babe Ruth), a Zeus (Judge Landis), an aristocracy (the Yankees),
and a rabble (the Dodgers). More than any other American sport, baseball lends
itself to legend. The statistical records give each game a mythic dimension as
the hits, runs, errors, and strikeouts are melded into the record books. The
mythic power of the game, however, also takes its toll, as even on the lowest
level parents and coaches try to ride the miniature exploits of their midget
performers into the realm of sports fantasy [3, p.209-210].
evolution of basketball exhibits a more complicated mixture of elite uplift and
ethnic aspiration. Basketball started as part of the nineteenth-century crusade
to Americanize (or Christianize) the immigrants; it was quickly taken over by
those targets for genteel uplift as a way ethnics could express their national
pride and compete with other immigrants.
was invented in 1891 at the YMCA's leadership training institute in
Springfield, Massachusetts. One of the physical instructors at the institute,
James Naismith, developed rules for what he called "A New Sport":
tossing a soccer ball into a backboardless peach basket. Naismith evidently
intended that the ball be moved only by passing, but players soon discovered
other ways to advance the ball without carrying it. At first they juggled the
ball overhead (volleyball style) as they ran, but when juggling was outlawed
the superior technique of dribbling was developed by players in the South
Philadelphia Hebrew Association Leagues. Other early improvements included the
removal of the bottom from the peach basket, fastening the basket to a
backboard, and for a time surrounding the court with wire fencing to keep the
ball in play (hence the term "cagers" for basketball players).
"New Sport" became particularly popular at YMCAs and settlement
houses in immigrant neighborhoods in the large cities. In New York the
University Settlement House fielded championship teams, and by the 1930s there
were Jewish Recreational Council Tri-State Championships, Lithuanian National
Championships, Polish Roman Catholic Championships, a National Federation of
Russian Orthodox Clubs, Catholic Youth Organization leagues, B'nai B'rith
leagues, and countless other ethnically based leagues and teams.
first professional teams were also ethnic, and had names like the Detroit
Pulaskis, the Brooklyn Visitations (Irish), the Newark Turnverein, the Original
Celtics (largely Jewish and based in New York City), the Harlem Renaissance,
the Hebrew All-Stars, and the Buffalo Germans. The ethnic professional teams
were succeeded by industrial teams sponsored by factories as part of employee
relations programs. This was particularly common among the rubber companies in
the Akron, Ohio, area. Industrial teams were the nucleus of the National
Basketball League (NBL) when it was organized in 1937. In 1946 the Basketball
Association of America (BAA) was organized by the owners of large arenas in
major cities; only arena owners were permitted to enter teams. The NBL and the
BAA competed until 1949, when the National Basketball Association (NBA) was
formed by combining teams from the two leagues) [3, p.212-213].
evolution of basketball technique and strategy occurred as innovative players
overcame the resistance of a conservative coaching establishment. During
basketball's first forty years coaches taught the two-handed set shot that
turned basketball into an intricate pattern of weaves and passes designed to
produce two and three man picks (human walls between the shooter and the
defender) to give a player a chance to attempt this easily blocked shot. In
1937 Hank Luisetti of Stanford University scandalized the coaching fraternity
by breaking all scoring records with a one-handed jump shot. Orthodox coaches
labeled Luisetti a freak, an exception to the rule, but the more farsighted of
them realized that the jump shot was impossible to defend against and that the
old patterned play game was obsolete.
example of a plausible theory refuted by practice was the coaches' belief that
big men were too clumsy to play basketball, despite the obvious advantage of
their height. Professional basketball today displays several marked
characteristics; the most obvious is the appearance of bigger and bigger men at
all positions who possess, in addition to extraordinary size and strength, the
quickness and ball handling agility that once seemed the special province of
"smaller" players (i.e., shorter than six feet six inches) [11,
is unarguably today's preeminent spectator sport; televised professional
football is arguably the preeminent spectacle of any kind in today's American
culture. In some parts of the country high school football is the only religion
with no dissenters, and in some areas the state university football team is the
community's common bond and proudest boast.
is for most Americans their tribal game, and it has always appealed to their
herd instinct. The game can be traced back to the annual autumn free-for-all
battles between the new freshmen and sophomores at Harvard in the 1820s. A
combination of the free-for-all, soccer, and rugby survived at Harvard until
1874, when the school played two football games against McGill University of
Canada. In the first game Harvard's own peculiar rules were used; the second
game followed the rules of McGill's fairly orthodox version of British rugby. The
Harvard students decided that the Canadian game was more enjoyable, so they
voted to play according to those rules thereafter.
was at Yale that the game of rugby developed into a game closely resembling
today's football. The man behind this evolution was Walter Camp, who played
football at Yale from 1875 until 1882, when he began training the team,
eventually becoming head coach. During the Camp era Yale established a winning
record the likes of which has never been seen again. From 1872 until 1909 Yale
won 324 games, lost 17, and tied 18, and from 1890 to 1893 Yale outscored its
opponents 1265 to 0! Walter Camp changed rugby into football when he replaced
the scrum with a pass from the line of scrimmage. Camp was also responsible for
the down-yardage system; he introduced American style below-the-waist tackling,
and initiated the annual selection of an All-American team.
from the outset American college football was a supremely effective means for
binding students, alumni, and community into a cohesive whole. The intensity of
alumni and community identification with the football team fostered a
win-at-any cost ethic and placed tremendous pressure on coaches to field
winning teams. All this made a sham of amateurism and of the pretense that
football was a normal part of student life like panty-raiding, fraternity
hazing, or cheating on exams.
ferocious drive to win, the primitive state of the rules, and the rudimentary
quality of protective equipment led to an unconscionable number of serious injuries
at the turn of the century, although the exaggerated and colorful reporting of
the period makes unreliable the often quoted statistics on the number of gouged
eyes, fractured skulls, and broken limbs. The public's perception of football
as a brutal upper-class reversion to barbarianism by robber-barons-to-be was,
however, strong enough for Theodore Roosevelt to convene his famous White House
Conference on football in 1905, which was attended by representatives of
Harvard, Yale, and Princeton. Legend to the contrary, Roosevelt had no
intention of abolishing college football; in any case he certainly had no legal
nor actual power to do so. Had it come down to a test of strength between
football and the president it would have been interesting to see who would have
prevailed—or would prevail today.
1910 the rules were amended, supposedly to reduce violence, but really to
provide a better spectacle for spectators by evening the balance between
offense and defense and "opening up" the game. The flying wedge was
outlawed, the pass rules were liberalized, and the number of chances a team was
given to make ten yards before surrendering the ball was increased from three
to four. These were the rules that Knute Rockne used at Notre Dame to build the
greatest football dynasty since the old Yale teams of the nineteenth century,
managing also to transform the epithet "fighting Irish" from an
ethnic slur to a badge of pride.
first professional football players were really semi pros, who played more for
fun than the pocket money they got by splitting the ticket take. Before 1920
the most famous professional was the Olympic champion Jim Thorpe; Gus Dorais
and Knute Rockne of Notre Dame were also pros of that era. In 1920 the American
Football Association (AFA) was founded; two years later it was succeeded by the
National Football League (NFL), comprised for the most part of teams from small
towns in Ohio. It was the great Illinois tailback Red Grange whose publicity
changed the professional game from the poor stepchild of the college game into
a growth industry on its way to becoming the multimillion dollar business of
the 1960s. In 1930 the superiority of the professional game was demonstrated
when the New York Giants beat Notre Dame in a charity exhibition game. In 1936
the college "draft" system was established, the final step in
persuading the public to reverse its perception of college football's
relationship to the program, and to see the universities as minor leagues
preparing players for the pro ranks.
football's symbiosis with television began in 1952 when the NFL established its
blackout rule for home games. In 1960 Pete Rozelle became the commissioner of
the NFL, and under his astute leadership the game achieved a level of
popularity that made it America's favorite spectator sport. In 1966 the NFL
merged with its new rival, the American Football League (AFL), allowing Rozelle
to designate the championship game between the two formerly separate leagues as
the "Super Bowl," which immediately became America's premier sports
was not always a clear distinction between amateur and professional bowlers,
especially since amateurs are allowed to collect prize money. Most acknowledged
professionals were instructors, but there were a few who toured the country,
giving exhibitions or playing matches for money.
professionals were pretty well known to the public. Andy Varipapa, a colorful
trick shot artist, spent thirty years entertaining crowds throughout North
America. He also won two consecutive BPAA All-Star tournaments, in 1946 and
McCutcheon was the sport's leading woman ambassador from 1927 through 1939,
giving thousands of clinics, lessons, and exhibitions.
known of all was Ned Day, who not only toured but also did a very popular
series of movie shorts during the 1940s. Millions of people saw the films in
theaters and, later, in television reruns. Day retired in 1958, the very year
the Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) was founded. Under the leadership of
Eddie Elias, the PBA set out to establish a regular tour of sponsored
tournaments similar to the Professional Golf Association tour.
several years, there were only three or four tournaments on the PBA tour, but
the number grew rapidly during the 1960s, mainly because of television. To fit
tournaments into TV time slots, Elias created the "stepladder" format
that's still used in almost all PBA events.
first roll a series of qualifying games, with the top five finishers advancing
into the stepladder round. The fifth- and fourth-place qualifiers bowl a match,
with the winner advancing to bowl against the third-place qualifier. And so it
goes up the stepladder, until the survivor meets the first-place qualifier in
the final match.
Professional Women's Bowling Association was founded in 1960 to establish a
similar tour. It wasn't particularly successful, so a group of players left to
form the Ladies' Professional Bowlers Association in 1974. The two merged again
in 1978, forming the Women's Professional Bowlers Association, which became the
Ladies Professional Bowlers Tour in 1981.
in golf, the women's tour isn't nearly as lucrative as the men's, largely
because of the lack of television coverage. The PBA tour boasts about 40
tournaments, many of which award $40,000 or more for first place. The LPBT tour
offers only about 15 tournaments and first place money is usually less than
There are four major men's
tournaments, the BPAA U. S. Open, the PBA National Championship, the Tournament
of Champions, and the ABC Masters. Women have three majors, the BPAA U. S.
Women's Open, the Sam's Town Invitational, and the WIBC Queens. A fourth major
tournament, the WPBA National Championship, was discontinued after 1980[16, www.hickoksports.com/history...].
in professional sport
of the most frequent complaints leveled against professional sports these days
is that the news about them often concerns various disputes between players and
management, court cases, and other legal proceedings more than it does what
takes place in the games athletes play» and spectators watch. Part of this
comes from the fact that people have been slow to recognize that professional
sport really is a business and that people make their living engaging it. In
addition, the world of professional sport, as the rest of society, is more
complex than it was in the past.
familiar complaint, not without some justification, is that professional
athletes in the most popular sports such as baseball, basketball, and football
are paid more money than they could possibly be worth. For example, as of this
writing the average major league baseball player's salary is just under the
incredible sum of one million dollars per year! No wonder people complain. Yet,
when a star player demands more money from his or her team, it is often the
fans and the press who take the side of the athlete.
of the most unfortunate results of the currently inflated price of tickets to
professional sports events such as baseball is that they are now accessible
only to the most well off. This is a sad break with the past tradition of
having a sizable number of inexpensive tickets available to all segments of
society. Over time sport in the US has become more open to all classes and
ethnic groups. Recent moves by professional sports management to cater more and
more to an elite clientele through such means as
special luxury viewing areas (called sky boxes) at stadiums and arenas are an
unwelcome departure from the mostly democratic development of American sport.
the most naive observers and spectators of American professional sport now
believe that it exists in a realm that is separate from other social concerns.
Sport is also related to politics. It has become a practice for politicians to
associate themselves with championship teams. For example, the president
usually phones congratulations to the winners of baseball's World Series;
presidents have hosted the National Basketball Association (NBA) champions at
the White House.
attraction of major league professional sport is so great that there are keen
competitions among cities for franchises. It is widely accepted by politicians,
the public, and the press that having a major league team in their city or
region is good not only for the local economy but also for the prestige of the
area and even the morale of the population. Professional franchises often
exploit this desire of localities to have a major league team by demanding and
receiving extremely favorable terms for the use of public stadiums. When teams
do not get what they want from local government, they often begin to play one
city off against another and sometimes move to an area that offers a better
also has an international political dimension. After the Soviet Union joined
the Olympic movement in 1952, the US and the USSR engaged in a long,
hard-fought battle, especially at the Olympic Games, for overall supremacy in
sport [2, p.307-308].
2.1.4. Olympic Games and the names of
United States has traditionally been a very successful player in international
sports events. The Olympic Games are the highlight of international
competition. The United States has had the pleasure to host Olympic winter or
summer Games on seven occasions. The Centennial Games of the Olympic Movement
took place in Atlanta in 1996. The Games were one of the largest in history so
far, featuring almost 11.000 competitors. The U.S. Olympic Team has always
performed very well and again finished first in the final medal standings in
1996 and in 2000. The next Olympic Winter Games will be hosted by Salt Lake
City in 2002. Hosted by Athens the next Olympic Summer Games will take place in
Greece in August 2004. Following the national trials the United States Olympic
Committee nominates members of the Olympic team. The United States also
participates in the Pan-American Games, the second largest sports event
following the Olympic Games. They are held every four years preceding the
Olympic Games. The Pan Am Games consists of all Summer Olympic sports, plus
some non-Olympic sports. American athletes also compete in world championships
and other international sports events. Cyclist Lance Armstrong won the
prestigious Tour de France in 1999, 2000, and 2001. Pete Sampras and Andre
Agassi have counted among the top tennis players in the world for many years.
Tiger Woods dominates the international golf scene. Track athletes Michael
Johnson, Maurice Greene, and Marion Jones are the fastest sprinters in the
world. These and many more American sports heroes rank among the country's
best-known celebrities. The modern Olympics also have female competitors from
1900 onward, though women at first participated in considerably fewer events.
[14, www.usinfo.pl/aboutusa/ ...].
is a game played with rackets on a court divided by a net. It is distinguished
from other racket sports, all of which use a ball of some size, by two intriguing
features: the use of a shuttlecock and the fact that the shuttlecock must not
touch the ground during a rally. The flight characteristics of the shuttlecock
and the pace created by constant volleying combine to make badminton one of the
most exciting sports to play and to watch.
1878, two New Yorkers—Bayard Clarke and E. Langdon Wilks—returned from overseas
trips to India and England, respectively, having been exposed to badminton on
their travels. With a friend, Oakley Rhinelander, they formed the Badminton
Club of the City of New York, the oldest badminton club in the world in
continuous existence. Badminton was primarily a society game for New York's
upper crust until 1915, when intercity competitions with Boston's Badminton
Club, formed in 1908, created a serious rivalry that continued through the
1930, the game was spreading across the country and had become a serious,
demanding sport for women and men alike. Clubs mushroomed on the Eastern
seaboard, in the Midwest, and on the Pacific Coast. The Hollywood movie colony
took to the game eagerly, under the encouragement of a touring professional,
George "Jess" Willard, who played exhibitions in movie houses across
the country to packed houses and thereby did much to bring the game to the
American people. Willard was followed on the national circuit by Ken Davidson,
a Scotsman whose badminton comedy routines entertained millions in exhibitions
in the 1930's and 1940's, and by Davidson's early partner, Hugh Forgie, a
Canadian whose badminton-on-ice shows became world famous in the 1950's and
1960's. These three men combined great badminton talent with superb showmanship
to spread the game in the United States and worldwide.
the leadership of some of Boston's leading players, the American Badminton
Asssociation was formed in 1936, and the first national championships were held
in 1937 in Chicago. One of the most famous names in world badminton appeared at
the 1939 championships held in New York. An 18-year-old Pasadenan, David G.
Freeman, upset the defending champion Walter Kramer in the men's singles final
to begin a winning streak that would last his 10-year badminton career. In 1949
he won the U.S. Championship, the All-England Championship, and all his matches
in the first Thomas Cup competitions. He then retired to continue his career as
neurosurgeon, and he is still considered perhaps the finest player the game has
World War II, the first national junior championships were held in 1947, and
the development of badminton in schools and colleges led to the first national
collegiate championships in 1970. The United States men's team made the Thomas
Cup final rounds throughout the 1950s, and the women's team held the Ьber Cup
from 1957 until 1966; but the rapid development of the game across the world
soon left the United States behind. Badminton continued to grow in the United
States but at a much slower pace than during the pre-war years. Golf, tennis,
and the major professional sports came to the fore, while the popular
misconception of badminton as only a leisurely recreation proved difficult to
overcome. With the addition of badminton to the Olympic Games as of 1992, it
seems only a matter of time before the game will once again become a sport of
great national popularity and recognition.
governing body for badminton in the United States is the United States
Badminton Association (USBA). Through its regional and state associations and
member clubs, the USBA administers competitive badminton play and promotes the
development of badminton in this country. The Board of Directors of the USBA
establishes national policies for badminton, and the USBA office is responsible
for the day-to-day administration of national badminton activity.
USBA was founded as the American Badminton Association in 1936, and the current
name was adopted in 1978. The general purposes of the
USBA are these:
and development of badminton play and competition in the United States, without
and upholding of the Laws of Badminton, as adopted by the International
and oversight of the various United States National and Open Championship
of other tournaments at the local, state, and regional level.
and management of players and teams representing the United States in
international competitions, including the Olympic Games and the Pan American
of the United States and of the USBA's interests in activities and decisions of
the International Badminton Federation and the United States Olympic Committee
can be played indoors or outdoors, under artificial or natural lighting.
Because of the wind, however, all tournament play is indoors. There may be one
player on a side (the singles game) or two players on a side (the doubles
game). The shuttlecock does not bounce; it is played in the air, making for an
exceptionally fast game requiring quick reflexes and superb conditioning. There
is a wide variety of strokes in the game ranging from powerfully hit smashes
(over 150 mph!) to very delicately played dropshots.
is great fun because it is easy to learn—the racket is light and the
shuttlecock can be hit back and forth (rallies) even when the players possess a
minimum of skill. Within a week or two after the beginning of a class, rallies
and scoring can take place. There are very few sports in which it is possible
to get the feeling of having become an "instant player." However, do
not assume that perfection of strokes and tournament caliber of play is by any
means less difficult in badminton than in other sports.
typical rally in badminton singles consists of a serve and repeated high deep
shots hit to the baseline (clears), interspersed with dropshots. If and when a
short clear or other type of "set-up" is forced, a smash wins the
point. More often than not, an error (shuttle hit out-of-bounds or into the
net) occurs rather than a positive playing finish to the rally. A player with
increasing skill should commit fewer errors and make more outright winning
plays to gain points. A player who is patient and commits few or no outright
errors often wins despite not being as naturally talented as the opponent, by
simply waiting for the opponent to err.
doubles, there are fewer clears and more low serves, drives, and net play. (All
of these terms are described in the following text.) Again, the smash often
terminates the point. As in singles, patience and the lack of unforced errors
are most desirable. Team play and strategy in doubles are very important, and
often two players who have perfected their doubles system (rotating up and back
on offense and defense) and choice of shots can prevail over two superior
stroke players lacking in sound doubles teamwork and strategy.
leisure time increases, badminton will no doubt play a more important role in
the fitness and recreational programs so vital to the American citizen. It can
be played by men, women, and children of all ages with a minimum of expense and
effort. The game itself is stimulating mentally and physically, and it combines
the values of individual and team sports. The fact that it can be learned
easily makes it enjoyable from the outset. Basic techniques are easy to learn,
yet much practice and concentration are required to perfect the skills needed
for becoming an excellent badminton player [4, p.1-2].
was a very popular sport in New York City in the middle of the nineteenth
century. A newspaper said there were more than 400 alleys in the city in 1850.
It then declined for a time. One reason may have been that the larger pins made
it too easy. The prevalence of gambling was another factor. Bowling, like
billiards, was considered semi-respectable, at best.
nine clubs from New York City and Brooklyn formed the National Bowling
Association (NBA) in 1875, one of its purposes was to standardize rules. Just
as important, though, the clubs wanted to eliminate gambling among their
NBA didn't last long, but the rules its member clubs established are still the
basic rules of bowling. A similar New York-based organization, the American
Amateur Bowling Union, established in 1890, was also short-lived.
German immigrants helped to popularize the sport in the Midwest, especially in
Chicago, Cincinnati, Detroit, St. Louis, and Milwaukee. With inter-club and
inter-league bowling on the increase, equipment and rules had to be
a result, the American Bowling Congress (ABC) was founded as a genuine national
federation of clubs at Beethoven Hall in New York City on September 9, 1895. In
1901, 41 teams from 17 cities in 9 states competed in the ABC's first National
Bowling Championships in Chicago. There were also 155 singles and 78 doubles
the leadership of the ABC, bowling quickly became both popular and respectable.
Gambling was virtually eliminated--partly because of prize money offered not
only by member leagues, but also in ABC-sanctioned regional and national
the sport cleaned up, women were attracted to bowling in large numbers. The
Women's National Bowling Association, founded in 1916, conducted its first
national championship the following year. The association was renamed the
Women's International Bowling Congress (WIBC) in 1971.
60 million people in the U. S. go bowling at least once a year. More important,
about 7 million of them compete in league play sanctioned by the ABC and/or
steady stream of young bowlers has been a major reason for the sport's
continuing popularity throughout this century. Bowlers of high school age and
younger originally came under the jurisdiction of the American Junior Bowling
Congress, an ABC affiliate. That organization was replaced in 1982 by the
autonomous Young American Bowling Alliance (YABA), which sanctions league and
tournament play of bowlers through college age.
collegiate bowling is rarely mentioned in the media, many conferences offer
team competition and championship tournaments. National championships have been
conducted since 1959 by the Association of College Unions (ACU) and since 1962
by the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).
Bowling was an exhibition sport
at the 1988 Olympic Games in South Korea [9, p.23-24].
Sport for the disabled
Sports USA was founded in 1967 by disabled Vietnam veterans. It was then called
the National Amputee Skiers Association. In 1972 the National Amputee Skiers
Association (NASA) was broadening its mission. No longer solely serving skiers,
NASA needed a new name. They chose to call themselves the National Inconvenienced
Sportsmen's Association. In 1976, NISA became the National Handicapped Sports
and Recreation Association. The NHSRA name stuck until 1992 when the
organization was renamed to National Handicapped Sports. In October 1994, after
polling the organization's 80+ chapters and affiliates, the National Board of
Directors approved the most recent name change to Disabled Sports USA.
to Executive Director Kirk Bauer, "Disabled Sports USA" was selected
for the following reasons:
word "disabled" brought the organization in line with current
language used by the federal government. "Disabled"
has become more universally accepted than "handicapped."
Sports USA has become an organization of global importance. Disabled Sports USA
fields teams to compete in the World Championships for track and field,
cycling, volleyball, and swimming. It is now necessary to use "USA"
rather than "National" to reflect this change in scope.
all of the US Olympic Committee-member National Governing Bodies for able-body
sports have "US" or "USA" within their name (such as USA
Basketball, US Skiing, and USA Volleyball). Disabled Sports USA is a Disabled
Sports Organization member of the U. S. Olympic Committee.
now offers nationwide sports rehabilitation programs to anyone with a permanent
disability. Activities include winter skiing, water sports, summer and winter
competitions, fitness and special sports events. Participants include those
with visual impairments, amputations, spinal cord injury, dwarfism, multiple
sclerosis, head injury, cerebral palsy, and other neuromuscular and orthopedic
Sports USA is a nation-wide network of community-based chapters offering a
variety of recreation programs. Each chapter sets its own agenda and
activities. These may include one or more of the following: snow skiing; water
sports (such as water skiing, sailing, kayaking, and rafting); cycling;
climbing; horseback riding; golf; and social activities.
professionals and even the Federal Government recognize the importance of
sports and recreation in the successful rehabilitation of individuals with
disabilities. When first faced with the reality of a disability, many
experience a loss of confidence, depression, and believe their lives have
ended. They are often alienated from family and friends because there are no
shared positive experiences. Sports and recreation offers the opportunity to
achieve success in a very short time period; to use this success to build
self-confidence and focus on possibilities instead of dwelling on what can no
longer be done. The ability to participate in a sport, such as cycling; skiing;
and sailing, to name a few, provides the opportunity to reunite with family and
friends in a shared activity.
As an extension of the
rehabilitation process, Disabled Sports USA offers competitive programs in
summer and winter sports. Competition improves sports skills. It allows
individuals to experience the excitement of competition and the thrill of
victory, as well as the agony of defeat. These experiences help prepare
individuals after rehabilitation to face the adversity of a disability in their
lives and to learn to bounce back in the face of challenge and change.
As a member of the United
States Olympic Committee, DS/USA sanctions and conducts competitions and
training camps to prepare and select athletes to represent the United States at
the Summer and Winter Paralympic Games. The Paralympic Games are the Olympic
equivalent competitions for individuals with disabilities and are recognized by
the International Olympic Committee. For those who want to achieve their
highest potential, opportunities are available for national and international
competitions in alpine and Nordic skiing, track and field, volleyball,
swimming, cycling, powerlifting, and other sports. The highest achieving
athletes in each sport can qualify for the Paralympics [12,
Women in sports
Women's sport in the
United States, which has a population of 268 million, reaches far beyond its
borders and has had an enormous influence on women's sport around the world.
Two sports that originated in the United States, basketball and volleyball, are
now among the world's most popular sports. In addition, the United States has
become a major training center for athletes from many nations and Title IX, the
1972 U.S. legislation that has been credited with encouraging much of the
growth in women's sports in the United States, has also helped to influence
thinking about women's sports elsewhere in the world. U.S. companies are also
major producers of sports equipment and clothing. Women's experiences in the
sporting life of the United States defy neat historical generalizations. In
part this is because women never constituted a single group, and their
behaviors and attitudes never conformed to a single general pattern. Women's
roles also varied across time, connected as they were to the broader
ideological and economic contexts. Sometimes women were active participants (in
the modern sense) in a sport, while at other times they were behind-the-scenes
producers or promoters.
Occasionally as well, women
were consumers of sports, or spectators, and there were times when perceptions
of women's physical and moral "natures, affected sporting values, codes of
conduct, rules, and even whether an activity was a sport or not. Indeed, the
perceptions of women as the "weaker sex" helps to account for both
the designation of bowling as an "amusement" when women engaged in it
in the nineteenth century and the development of the divided court in
basketball. Even today fans and the press persist in requiring basketball to be
preceded by "women's." Women play women's basketball, while men
simply play basketball [13, www.womenssportsfoundation.org ].
Women and traditional sports and games
were far more visible in American sporting life across time than the portraits
of them in many histories would suggest, and for no period is this statement
more true than in the years before the mid-18th century. About 1600, before
Europeans colonized the land that would become the United States, the earliest
American sportswomen were Native Americans whose style of life must be
characterized as a traditional one in which sports and other displays of
physical prowess were embedded in the rhythms and relations of ordinary life.
Religious ceremonies, for example, called on women, and men, to dance for hours
at a time, while rites of passage from maidenhood to womanhood included
physical displays and tests. Ball games occurred in the context of women's daily
tasks, and the outcomes could affect one's place in the family or the village.
Even equipment and items for wagering, which women often controlled, came from
the material stores of wood, corn, shells, and animal hides that were used and
valued in everyday life.
migration of colonists from Europe, especially Britain, and then Africa began
shortly after 1600, and these people, too, fashioned a traditional, organic
style of life in which sports were interspersed with ordinary tasks and
rituals. Initially, women were few among the colonists, and not surprisingly,
there were few opportunities for sports other than hunting and tavern games.
After mid-century, however, the gender ratio gradually evened out, and a
critical mass of women were present to assume their traditional roles as
workers in the fields and homes and as producers of community gatherings,
fairs, and family events. Some women owned the equipment with which settlers
played games, especially card games. In rural areas where harvest festivals came
to be fairly common, women prepared the food that the grain-cutters would
consume during the post-harvest celebration. Then, too, villages and the
emerging towns became the settings for diverse social practices. On warm summer
days in New England, husbands and wives fished and sailed on the numerous
waterways. Towns like Boston, Providence, and Hartford offered an even broader
variety of sports and recreations, ranging from dances to races to fist fights.
By the early eighteenth century emerging cities were sites for public,
commercial, and physical displays, including tightrope dancing by women and
middle of the eighteenth century, the sporting experiences of women of European
and African ancestries, as well as recent immigrants, were far more varied than
they had been earlier. Enslaved African and African American women found some
solace in their brief respites from work on Sundays, in the evenings, or in the
days of celebrating made possible by the observance of holidays when they
danced, played simple games, and ran races. Agricultural fairs, initiated by
white farmers, planters, and traders, also included contests, especially foot
races, for black women who competed for articles of clothing. White farm women
also made possible and engaged in an array of games, contests, and dancing at
their rural festivals and family events such as weddings and funerals.
Occasionally as well, women in farming communities raced horses, even against
men, and they were willing to wager on their skills.
and upper-class women, especially those who either lived in or visited towns
and cities, had access to the broadest range of sports and other recreations.
In the South, white women who lived on plantations raced horses and went fox
hunting. As did their northern contemporaries, they also attended balls, played
cards, and attended the increasing array of physical culture exhibitions, which
included race walking, tumbling and acrobatic displays, and equestrian shows
[13, www.womenssportsfoundation.org ].
sport in the 19th century
pursuit of active sports by women was not to persist, however. During the second
half of the eighteenth century, a series of complex changes gradually altered
gender roles and relations. Enlightenment ideology and the emergent capitalist
economy combined to redefine women's place, to move them into the home and away
from public activity, and to emphasize biological differences (from men) as
grounds for keeping them there. In effect, the famous "doctrine of
separate spheres" drew from the same movements that resulted in a new
nation and a Declaration of Independence that proclaimed "all men are
created equal." The phrase was not tongue-in-cheek; even before 1800,
women were seen as morally superior but physically inferior to men. The
characterization lasted for more than a century and a half.
immediate impact of these changes was the movement of many, though by no means
all, women off the tracks and fields and into the stands, or out of public view
entirely, unless accompanied by men. The trend was especially pronounced in
towns and cities among middle- and upper-class people whose lives were
increasingly shaped by commercial and industrial tasks and rhythms and who came
to believe that women's central role was to bear and nurture children and
families. Slave and free women who continued to live and work on farms and
plantations, as well as the increasing number who joined in the westward
migration, did not experience the full weight of these changes in roles and
lifestyles. Indeed, the experiences of such women in 1850 more closely
resembled those of their predecessors in 1750 and even 1650 than they did their
urban contemporaries. They remained visible producers and consumers of
traditional sports and other displays of physical prowess.
the first half of the nineteenth century, perceptions and real experiences
suggested to some people that the health of middle- and upper-class women in
urbanizing areas was declining. Educators, doctors, and writers of popular
magazine articles responded with analyses and prescriptions for improving
women's health, including calls for renewed physical exertion via exercises and
games. The logic of the health literature was simple and straightforward: if
women were to fulfill their roles as caretakers of families and national
virtue, they needed to maintain their physical and mental health. People such
as Catharine Beecher, Mary Lyons, and Diocletian Lewis thus argued for the
physical education of women, started schools, and laid out regimens of
calisthenics, domestic exercises (e.g., sweeping), and traditional activities
such as walking and riding. The movement to return women to physically active
pursuits had begun, albeit in their private, domestic sphere.
would not, however, occur overnight. The urban areas that were home to many of
the women targeted by the likes of Beecher and Lewis, as well as the economic
activities that powered such areas, had reduced the social power of traditional
sports and engendered an emerging new form, modern sports. Constructed by men
for men, games such as baseball were becoming popular in eastern urban centers
at mid-century. Other activities such as skating, croquet, and rowing were also
modernizing acquiring rules, specialized playing spaces, and an organizational
base in clubs. Only gradually did women gain access to such forms. In the 1850s
they did so primarily as spectators and moral guardians. Especially at baseball
games, male promoters hoped that women would bring their perceived moral
superiority to bear on the crowds and ensure social order [13, www.womenssportsfoundation.org ].
2.4.3. Challenging gendered boundaries
the middle- and upper-class women were content to remain on the periphery of
the action, sporting or otherwise. As of 1848, a feminist movement had
formalized at Seneca Falls, New York, and especially in the North, other
movements such as abolitionism both encouraged women to be social agents and
demonstrated that their reappearance in the public domain endangered neither
their health nor that of the nation. Moreover, the dynamic events of
mid-century, including the War between the States (1861-65) challenged the
gender boundaries and expectations that had confined women to the domestic
sphere for more than three generations.
is the appropriate word here, for middle- and upper-class urban women both
found and made opportunities in public society during and after the Civil War
that drew from their long-defined practices in their domestic sphere. Nursing
and teaching were precisely such activities, but they were also ones that
required additional training as well as sound constitutions. Not surprisingly,
then, some women demanded and received access to colleges, where they did as
their brothers did: they began to participate in some of the emerging modern
sports whose social power was increasing in the aftermath of the Civil War and
the technological and communication changes of the 1860s and 1870s. At private
colleges such as Vassar in New York and Smith and Wellesley in Massachusetts,
women students formed clubs to play baseball and, quickly, tennis, croquet, and
archery. College administrators and faculty responded, initially to the influx
of women and their own fears about the negative impact of intellectual work on
women students, with requirements for medical examinations, exercise and
gymnastics regimens, and the gradual absorption of women's sport clubs.
of the colleges, post-war middle- and upper-class women were also moving to
take advantage of the increasing array of modern sports. Local gymnasiums,
armories turned into playing areas, and a host of clubs that formed as men and
women sought new forms of community provided urban and townswomen with
opportunities for a range of sports, from skating and rowing to trap shooting
and tennis. Such activities continued to stretch the bounds of activity
acceptable for and to women. They also quieted some of the fears held
especially by the male-dominated medical profession about the negative effects
that physical movement in sports might have on women's biology and reproductive
more significant challenge to the nearly century-old ideology that placed women
in the home and in subservience to men came in the form of a machine, the
bicycle. Invented in Europe in the early 19th century, early versions of the
bicycle had appeared in various forms and had become the object of short-lived
fads through the 1860s. Then came the invention of the "ordinary"
(one large and one small wheel) and, subsequently, the "safety"
cycle, and the latter especially appealed to women. Bicycle riding, and even
some racing, became popular, and the practice afforded women with a means of
physical mobility and freedom that they had not known for generations, since
the days when horse ownership was common and expected, even by women. Significantly,
as well, the bicycle catalyzed dress reform. Bloomers and knickerbockers went
on, and corsets came off. The day of the "new woman" was about to
dawn [13, www.womenssportsfoundation.org ].
2.4.4. The age
of modern sports
have labeled the period from the 1890s to World War I as the Progressive era,
largely because "progress" was the goal of contemporaries, especially
members of the urban middle class. Achievement did not always match rhetoric,
but many women did see their positions and the quality of their lives enhanced.
Some urban working women, for instance, earned more pay and improved
conditions, and perhaps not surprisingly, some of the industries that employed
women organized, first, calisthenics or physical culture classes and then team
sports to promote personal health and worker efficiency. Such programs became
more widespread after the turn of the century and by the 1920s individual
companies and regional industries had multiple teams in sports such as
basketball, bowling, tennis, baseball, volleyball, and eventually softball.
Among the results were good advertising for the companies and competitive
opportunities and even, on occasion, additional income for the athletes.
group of women whose lives came to incorporate opportunities for competitive
sports were the upper-class women. In the 1870s and 1880s such women had joined
clubs, social clubs, country clubs, and then sport-specific clubs, just as had
their brothers and husbands. They also engaged in sports in colleges and,
importantly, on their vacations or extended stays in Europe. By 1900 seven of
these women competed in their first Olympics, in Paris, and despite the
enduring opposition of the prime mover behind the modern Olympic Games, Baron
Pierre de Coubertin, women consistently
competed in the Games thereafter, albeit in small numbers and in socially
acceptable sports such as tennis, archery, and even figure skating by 1924.
Progressive era history of middle-class women's sporting experiences is more
complicated. Especially before the turn of the century, they did experience
considerable latitude in forming sport clubs and organizing competitions and
appeared to gain a degree of physical and personal freedom to sport similar to
that enjoyed by their working and upper-class sisters. Indeed, they initially
popularized the newly created sports of basketball and volleyball, and it was
the rapid spread of such sports, as well as field hockey, cycling, and tennis,
that encouraged their teachers and recreation supervisors to form associations
and write rules. In men's experiences, it was precisely such associations that
were critical to the promotion and expansion of modern sports.
many of the women who came to control sports for girls and adults, especially
in institutions such as schools and colleges, had accepted the warnings of the
medical profession that unfettered athletic competition would harm female
participants, physically and psychologically, and detract from or even diminish
their femininity. Consequently, in the 1890s, women physical educators began to
limit sport contests, initially by changing the rules of some games, such as
basketball, and eventually by altering the very nature of contests. By 1920
school and college sports were often played not in contests between teams
representing their institutions, but in play days or sport days, in which the
convened teams were broken up and the players assigned to mixed school teams.
1920s the conservative approach of women physical educators was quite distinct
from, indeed, out of sync with, the attitudes and expectations of many other
people. The United States was experiencing its first mature burst of popular consumerism,
which was buoyed by a fun ethic and a relatively expansive economy. Clubs and
teams for women proliferated, in part as more institutions, from urban
governments to churches to saloons, sponsored teams or provided facilities.
Improvements and declining prices of sporting goods, as well as the increasing
popularity of sports spectating and sports as entertainment also spurred the
organization of leagues, both amateur and semi-pro. Beyond the pale of physical
educators, the latter provided underground opportunities for middle-class
1929 the Great Depression disrupted this sporting boom, but it did not end it
entirely. In fact, the popularity of industrial sport likely peaked in the
1930s, and sports such as softball and bowling became extremely popular among
women. Women's Olympic competition also gained more popular support, in part
because of great performances by athletes such as Mildred "Babe"
Didrikson and in part because support continued to diminish for the mythology
of the negative physical and biological consequences of athletics for women.
Significantly as well, women continued to enter nontraditional roles, a trend
that became more pronounced as World War II began. After 1941 more and more
women took jobs that had once belonged to the men who went abroad to fight.
Even professional baseball opened its doors to women via the АН-American Girls
Baseball League financed by Philip Wrigley of chewing gum and Chicago Cubs
All-American Girls Baseball League began play in 1943 in mid-size cities in the
Great Lakes region. The athletes were not, to be sure, the first professional
women athletes in the United States. In the modern era that honor likely
belongs to female distance walkers in the 1870s and 1880s and rodeo competitors
in the twentieth century. Nor were they the only women professional athletes of
the decade. After 1949 the Ladies Professional Golf Association organized,
offering $15,000 in purse money spread over nine tournaments. Five years later,
women golfers could earn $225,000 a year on the LPGA tour.
1940s as well, an even more significant movement developed in African American
colleges. Track and field teams were training at places such as Tuskegee
Institute and Tennessee State, and these colleges would produce the athletes
that would integrate U.S. women's Olympic teams and revolutionize the contests
and the records. By the early 1960s African-American athletes such as Wilma
ran record-pace after record-pace, opening doors for other black women and
paving the way for Jackie Joyner-Kersee and Florence Griffith Joyner, among
numerous others. Other sports such as bowling and tennis also integrated in the
post-World War II years [13, www.womenssportsfoundation.org ].
success of women's tennis, however, did little to help the fortunes of women's
professional team sports.
professional team sports achieved popularity for the first time in the 1990s,
particularly in basketball and football (soccer). This
popularity has been asymmetric, being strongest in the U.S., certain European
countries and former Communist states. Thus women's soccer is dominated by the
U.S., China, and Norway, who have historically fielded weak men's national
teams. Despite this increase in popularity, women's professional sports leagues
continue to struggle financially. The WNBA is
operated at a loss by the NBA, in
the hopes of creating a market that will eventually be profitable. A similar
approach is used to promote female boxing, as women fighters are often
undercards on prominent male boxing events, in the hopes of attracting an
Today, women participate
competitively in virtually every major sport, though the level of participation
decreases in contests of brute strength or "contact" sports. Few
schools have women's programs in American football, boxing or wrestling. This
practical recognition of gender differences in physiology has not impeded the
development of a higher profile for female athletes in other historically male
sports, such as golf, marathoning, and ice hockey [17, www.usa.usembassy.de/sports_women.htm]
IN THE USA
has recreational sport in America become so popular and why does it occupy so
much of the attention and the time of its adherents? Certainly the first reason
has to do with the availability of free time people have from work. The
increase in leisure time by comparison with earlier in the century makes
possible all time and energy spent by Americans playing and watching sport.
Yet, the question remains why has this time been devoted to sport rather than
to other activities such as music or the arts? First of all, involvement in
fitness and recreational activities reflects the concern of many Americans,
primarily middle class people, with health and longevity. The intense, highly
visible involvement of a certain segment of the population in recreational
sport and exercise sometimes obscures the fact that on the whole Americans are
not much fitter than they ever were.
are other reasons as well for Americans' interest in sport and fitness. The
modern stress on appearances, what are called "good looks", is
sufficient motivation for many to keep up their level of exercise. The mass
media, including especially advertising, feed the American preoccupation with
youth and the appearance of youthfulness. Consequently, recreational sports
have become part of big business, especially for companies that manufacture the
many products related to sport. In addition to its specific equipment, whether
it be tennis rackets or bowling balls, every sporting activity has its own
special wardrobe, complete with headbands, wristbands, indeed, something for
every major part of the body. Footwear- for sport is a whole industry of its
own, especially now that people wear running shoes, basketball shoes, and
tennis shoes everywhere they go, including work, school, the university, and
challenges involved in sporting competition and in acquiring high levels of
physical fitness also have an inherent attraction of their own that is
tremendously compelling. There are many cases of ostensibly amateur athletes
who spend every bit as much time training as do professionals. Recreational
athletes who participate in events such as triathlons consisting of running,
bicycling, and swimming often work part time or arrange their work schedules so
as to be able to train for several hours a day [7, p.211].
the overall percentage of the population engaged in recreational sport is not
markedly greater than before, those who are involved
seem to be devoting more and more of their leisure time to various sporting
activities. In addition to public facilities for such sports as tennis, golf,
basketball, Softball, swimming, etc. and private tennis and golf clubs, all
sorts of fitness and health clubs continue to spring up all over the country.
Many of these clubs have "high tech" machines for virtually every
possible form of exercise and fitness training as well as space for aerobics,
now one of the most popular forms of physical exercise in the US. There has
also been a growth in the number of specialized clubs dealing with the martial
arts. The competition from the many new fitness clubs has forced traditional
organizations, such as tennis and golf clubs and YWCA's and YMCA's to diversify
both the equipment and the activities they offer in order to satisfy members
who want the convenience of a comprehensive recreational facility.
are some groups and clubs, such as runners and bicyclists, who do not
necessarily need special facilities in which to train. Naturally, many
Americans also pursue such activities as jogging, swimming, and bicycling,
skiing, and skating on their own without any organizational involvement. Other
popular sports for the individualist are surfing and wind surfing. For those
who like the thrill and the freedom of floating in air there is also gliding,
hang gliding, and sport parachuting.
sailing and yachting continue to be largely the domain of well-to-do private
individuals, there are a few places where the public can rent small sail boats.
Much more common though is the rental of rowboats and canoes at local, state,
and national parks. Horseback riding is also available to the public in many
places. Equestrian sports such as dressage and jumping still remain the
province of those who can afford the great expenses associated with these
sports. And, needless to say, polo is also a sport for the few; although it is
possible polo will become more widely known as a spectator sport.
sports have become extremely popular in recent years. Always a favorite, tennis
experienced a boom in the 1970s and 1980s that has now leveled off somewhat.
Even so, tennis remains very prominent among recreational pursuits. A game
called racket ball has really caught on with the public, and both
indoors and outdoors racket ball courts have sprung up all over the country.
Squash was, originally found mainly in the northeast part of the US but is now
slowly gaining a foothold in other parts of the country [2, p.293-294].
is synonymous with energy — mental and physical. Organized and informal sports
provide teens with an opportunity to expend some of that energy and, more
importantly, to learn the value of fair play, to achieve goals, and to just
2003, 58 percent of boys and 51 percent of girls in high school played on a
sports team. The most popular sports for boys are American football,
basketball, track and field, baseball, and soccer (international football). For
girls, the most popular are basketball, track and field, volleyball, softball,
and soccer. As a result of a U.S. law that encourages women to take part in
athletics, girls' participation in high school athletics has increased by 800
percent over the past 30 years. Other organized high school sports often
include gymnastics, wrestling, swimming, tennis, and golf. Away from school,
teenagers participate year-round in community-sponsored sports leagues. In
addition, particularly in the summer, they engage in informal "pick
up" games of one sport or another in the streets and parks of their
2001, a higher percentage of high school seniors reported participating in
athletic teams (39 percent) and music/performing arts activities (25 percent)
than academic clubs (15 percent), student council/government (11 percent), and
newspaper/yearbook (10 percent). Females were more likely to participate in
newspaper/yearbook, music/performing arts, academic clubs, student council or
government, and other school clubs or activities than males. Males, however,
were more likely to participate in athletics.
also play an important role in the everyday social scene at American colleges
and universities. University sports programs are offered at the intercollegiate
(organized competition) and the intramural (club-like, less competitive)
levels. Many universities offer sports scholarships at the intercollegiate
level to students who are both academically qualified and skilled in a
particular sport. Athletic scholarships are awarded for everything from archery
to wrestling, with an eye on gender equality to achieve a balance between men’s
and women’s scholarships.
Playing for a college team on
scholarship is one way students help pay for the cost of earning an
undergraduate degree. About $1 billion in athletic scholarships are awarded
through the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) each year. Over
126,000 student-athletes receive either a partial or a full athletic
scholarship. These scholarships are awarded and administered directly by each
academic institution, not the NCAA. Award amounts vary from a few thousand
dollars to nearly $30,000 for one academic year and do not necessarily cover
the full cost of tuition and living expenses. Scholarships are offered on a
percentage basis, and universities have strict limits on the total amount they
can award each year [18, www.usa.usembassy.de/sports-youth.htm].
3.1.2. Sport and money
sports and money have always been a hotly debated topic. Rules prevent any
college athlete from accepting money. Whenever some basketball player is found
to have accepted “a gift”, the sports pages are full of the scandal. As a
result, some college teams whose members have violated the rules are forbidden
to take part in competitions. Several universities like the highly respected
University of Chicago do not take part in any intercollegiate sports
whatsoever. Many other restrict sports to those played among their own
students, so-called intramural sports and activities.
who defend college sports point out that there are no separate institutions or
“universities” for sports in the U.S. as there are in other countries. They
also note that many sports programs pay their own way, that is, what they earn
from tickets and so on for football or basketball or baseball games often
supports less popular sports and intramural games at the university. At some
universities, a large portion of the income from sports, say from TV rights,
goes back to the university and is used also for academic purposes. Generally,
however, sports and academics are separated from one another. You cannot judge
whether a university is excellent or poor from whether its teams win or lose.
the United States, however, there are attitudes towards the mixing of
commercialism, money, and sports, or professionals and amateurs which often
differ from those of other nations. The U.S. was, for example, one of only 13
countries to vote in 1989 against allowing professional basketball players to
compete in the Olympics. Similarly, American professionals in football,
baseball, and basketball are not allowed to wear jerseys and uniforms with
advertising, brand names, etc. on them. The National Football League does not
allow any team to be owned by a corporation or company.
Americans think that government should be kept separate from sports, both
amateur and professional. They are especially concerned when their tax money is
involved. The citizens of Denver, Colorado, for example, decided that they did
not want the 1976 Winter Olympics there, no matter what the city government and
businessmen thought. They voted “no” and the Olympics had to be held elsewhere.
The residents of Los Angeles, on the other hand, voted to allow the (Summer)
Olympics in 1984 to be held in their city, but they declared that not one
dollar of city funds could be spent on them. Because the federal government
doesn’t give any money either, all of the support had to come from private
sources. As it turned out, the L.A. Olympics actually made a profit, some $100
million, which was distributed to national organizations in the U.S. and abroad
past two decades have witnessed a large growth in women's sports in American
universities and colleges. This is a natural process related to increased
participation of women in all areas of labor and public life. Women play
virtually all sports that men do with the exception of American football and
baseball. (Softball is a popular' women's sport. In the US, field hockey is a
sport that is played primarily by women.) The growth of women's sport has also
been enhanced by the erosion of old-fashioned misconceptions about women's
ability to play physically demanding sports. The old notion sometimes expressed
that women were 'the weaker sex" appears increasingly absurd in light of
evidence that at the outer limits of endurance women may well last longer than
of the spurs to the increase in women's collegiate sport is the presence of
federal legislation, informally called Title IX. For the most part, however,
athletic departments around the country try to maintain a balance of
opportunities for men and women [2, p.292].
3.1.4. Intramural and club sports
addition to intercollegiate athletics colleges and universities have large
programs for intramural sports. Among men touch or flag football is very
popular. Intramural teams often represent various student organizations, such
as men's fraternities, women's sororities15 or dormitories. There
are also teams on which faculty members play. Although intramural competitions
are theoretically recreational in nature, they are usually very spirited and
are taken very seriously by participants.
sports involve teams that are informal and have no official or varsity status
but nevertheless take part in intercollegiate competition with teams from other
institutions. Club teams sometimes serve spoils that are little known or
practiced in certain regions, such as hockey in Florida. Some clubs strive to
become varsity sports, whereas others, such as many men's and women's rugby
clubs, prefer to retain the greater informality possible with club status. It
should be pointed out here that varsity athletic teams are usually very tightly
managed by their coaches and require as many as two to four hours of practice
per day. Students who want a less demanding schedule may therefore gravitate to
intramural or club teams [2, p.293].
Animals in sport
and hunting are extremely popular in all parts of the country and have been
since the days when they were necessary activities among the early settlers. As
a consequence, they have never been thought of as upper-class sports in the
U.S. And it is easy to forget how much of the country is open land, how much of
it is still wild and filled with wildlife. New Jersey, for example, has enough
wild deer so that the hunting season there is used to keep the herds smaller.
Wild turkeys have also returned to the East and Midwest in great numbers. In
the states of the Midwest, of course, there is much more wild game, and hunting
there is even more popular.
licenses are issued by the individual states, and hunting is strictly
controlled. Some hunters don’t actually hunt, of course. They use it as a good
excuse to get outdoors in the autumn or to take a few days or longer away from
the job and family. Indoor poker games are rumored to be a favorite activity of
many hunters who head for cabins in the woods.
are many more fishermen (around 50 million in 1990) than hunters (17 millions),
and many more lakes and rivers than bears. Minnesota advertises itself on its
license plates as the ‘land of 10.000 lakes.” This, of course, is not quite
true: there are more. Michigan not only has a long coastline from the Great
Lakes, it also has what official descriptions simply call, without counting,
“thousands of lakes.”[1, p.142]
are several sports and sports activities in the U.S., all having their strong
supporters, which many people think are a bit strange or at least unusual. For
example, Americans will race just about anything that has wheels. Not just
cars, but also “funny cars” with aircraft and jet engines, large trucks with
special motors, tractors, pickup trucks with gigantic tires, and even
motorcycles with automobile engines. Truck racing, it seems, has made it big in
Europe. In 1990, The European paper wrote that in only six years since it found
its way across the Atlantic, truck racing was attracting “crowds to rival those
of the Formula One grand prix motor racing circus.” Other sports are popular
because they don’t involve motors. The first “people-powered” aircraft to cross
the English Channel was pedaled by an American. And the first hot-air balloon
to make it across the Atlantic had a crew from Albuquerque, New Mexico.
are also several sports in the U.S. which were once thought of as being
“different”, but have now gained international popularity. Among these, for
instance, is skate-boarding. Another example is wind-surfing which very quickly
spreads in popularity from the beaches of California and Hawaii. Hang-gliding
became really popular after those same people in California started jumping off
cliffs above the ocean. Those who like more than wind and luck attached a small
lawnmower engine to a hang-glider and soon “ultra-light-weight” planes were
buzzing around [1, p.143].
Sports Camps (USSC), headquartered in San Rafael, California (just north of San
Francisco), is America's Largest Sports Camp Network and the licensed operator
of The NIKE Sports Camps. It was started in 1975 with the same mission that
defines it today: to shape a lifelong enjoyment of athletics through high
quality sports education and skill enhancement.
associating with the country's best coaches to direct our camps and by
providing them with valuable administrative and marketing support, USSC has
become the largest and most successful sports camp operator in America. During
the summer of 2007 more than 52,000 campers attended US Sports Camps at 400
Sports Camps include youth and adult programs in the following sport
categories: NIKE tennis, NIKE golf, NIKE volleyball, NIKE lacrosse, NIKE
basketball, NIKE softball, NIKE running, NIKE field hockey, NIKE swim, NIKE
soccer, NIKE baseball, Nike water polo, NIKE multi-sport, as well as the NBC
Basketball Camps, Vogelsinger Soccer Academy, Contact Football Camps, Snow
Valley Basketball Camps, International Hockey Schools, McCracken Basketball
Camps, Peak Performance Swim Camps, and Professional Sports Camps.
this chapter it should be concluded that over the past quarter century
recreational sport has become an incrisingly large part of American life.The
Americans like to spare their lasure time doing sports and that’s why they are
ready to spend great sums of money to keep fit and be in good form or just to
have a fun and joy.Each person chooses sport that suits him best: it can be a
traditional kind of sport such as basketball or just something that even can
shock the public, for example wrestling. Nowadays in the USA there are a lot of
different programs in schools and colleges that allow students to get involved
into public life. When there are summer holidays in The United States, students
are offered a variety of sports camps where they are able to develop their
physical abilities and just make a number of friends.Some kinds of recreation
such as fishing or hunting don’t need much money and many American men are
always ready to spend their spare time doing that. Moreover the natute of the
USA has resourses for that.
I think we have found the ansver to the question why so many sports are popular
in the Uneted States. One
reason may be that the variety and size of America and the different climates
found in it have provided Americans with a large choice of (summer and winter)
sports. In addition, public sports facilities have always been available in
great number for participants, even in sports such as golf, tennis, or skating.
The fact that the average high school, too, offers its students a great variety
of sports, often including rowing, tennis, wrestling, and golf, may have
contributed to the wide and varied interest and participation of Americans in
sports. This, in turn, may explain why Americans have traditionally done well
internationally in many of these sports.
reason might be that Americans like competitions, by teams or as individuals,
of any type. It’s the challenge, some say. Some people point out that American
schools and colleges follow the tradition of all English-speaking societies in
using sports activities as a way of teaching “social values.” Among these are
teamwork, sportsmanship (when they win, American players are expected to say,
“well, we were just lucky”), and persistence (not quitting “when the going gets
rough”). As a result, being intelligent and being good in sports are seen as
things that can go together and, as an ideal, should. While there are colleges
where sports seem to be dominant, there are many others which have excellent
academic reputations and are also good in sports.
simply conclude that Americans simply like sports activities and always have.
They like to play a friendly play of softball at family picnics, and “touch
football” (not tackling!) games can get started on beaches and in parks
whenever a few young people come together. “Shooting baskets” with friends is a
favorite way to pass the time, either in a friend’s driveway (the basket is
over the garage door) or on some city or neighborhood court. And on a beautiful
autumn afternoon- the sun shining in a clear blue sky, the maple trees turning
scarlet and the oaks a golden yellow- it is fun to go with friends to a
football game. And go they do.
large numbers of Americans watch and participate in sports activities, which
are a deeply ingrained part of American life. Americans use sports to express
interest in health and fitness and to occupy their leisure time. Sports also
allow Americans to connect and identify with mass culture. Americans pour
billions of dollars into sports and their related enterprises, affecting the
economy, family habits, school life, and clothing styles. Americans of all
classes, races, sexes, and ages participate in sports activities—from toddlers
in infant swimming groups and teenagers participating in school athletics to
middle-aged adults bowling or golfing and older persons practicing t’ai chi.
think all necessary topics have been discussed in my course paper and that
means that this kind of work is fulfilled.
K. American life and institutions/ K. Stevenson – Douglas, 1998. - 175 p.
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