Sport and recreation in the United States
1. SPORT AND ITS DEVELOPMENT IN THE USA 4
1.1. Historical background, names of national sports, borrowed games 4
1.2. Problems and prospects of American sport 6
2. THE VARIETY OF AMERICAN SPORTS 9
2.1. Professional sport 9
2.1.1. The business of sport 9
2.1.2. Major sports10
188.8.131.52. Baseball and business10
184.108.40.206. Football: an American spectacle13
2.1.3. Problems in professional sport 16
2.1.4. Olympic Games and the names of American heroes 17
2.2. Leisure sports17
2.3. Sports for the disabled21
2.4. Women in sports22
2.4.1. Women and traditional sports and games 23
2.4.2. Women’s sport in the 19th century 24
2.4.3. Challenging gendered boundaries25
2.4.4. The age of modern sports 26
3. RECREATION IN THE USA29
3.1. Sports at colleges30
3.1.1. College and sport30
3.1.2. Sport and money31
3.1.3. Women’s Collegiate Sport 32
3.1.4. Intramural and club sports 32
3.2. Animals in sport32
3.3. Unusual sports 33
3.4. Camps 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.
Sport 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.
So 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.
The 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.
So the whole course paper is dedicated to the sport in the USA, its development and influence on American life.
1. SPORT AND ITS DEVELOPMENT IN THE USA
1.1. Historical 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.
The nineteenth-century 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 owners.
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,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.
The professional 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.
Baseball and 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].
1.2. Problems and prospects of American sport
The 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 maintained.
Another 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.
A 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.
If 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.
Another 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.
How 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.
On the other hand, watching professional sports will become more and more an activity for the social elite as costs and ticket prices increase. Although professional sport in the US has defied ups and downs in the economy, eventually it may be forced to take on a more modest profile. If that ever happens, teams may adopt new structures, such as community rather than corporate (business) ownership. In the short run, however, it seems that professional sport will only become more and more expensive.
Eventually 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 surfing.
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.
2. HE VARIETY OF AMERICAN SPORTS
2.1. Professional sport
2.1.1.The business of Sport
Professional 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.
Golf 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.
Boxing 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.
Although 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 this.
Most 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.
One 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.
There 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]
The 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.
Until 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.
The 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.
The 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.
Full-fledged 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].
Organized 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).
The 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.
Still 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.
The 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.
At 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.
The 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.
The 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 Milwaukee.
The 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].
The 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.
Basketball 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).
The “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.
The 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].
The 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.
Another 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, p.97-98].
Football 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.
Football 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.
It 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.
Almost 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.
The 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.
In 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.
The 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.
Professional 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 spectacle[3, p.214-215].
There 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.
Three 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 1947.
Floretta McCutcheon was the sport’s leading woman ambassador from 1927 through 1939, giving thousands of clinics, lessons, and exhibitions.
Best 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.
For 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.
Competitors 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.
The 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.
As 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,000 or more for first place. The LPBT tour offers only about 15 tournaments and first place money is usually less than,000.
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…].
2.1.3. Problems in professional sport
One 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.
Another 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.
One 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.
Only 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.
The 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 deal.
Sport 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 American heroes
The 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/ …].
2.2. Leisure sports
Badminton 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.
Badminton has a long and fascinating history. With roots in China over two thousand years ago, it was purely recreational until a competitive version was developed in India and England in the mid – and late-nineteenth century. Since that time, the game has gained tremendous popularity in many countries. It is a major sport in most countries of northern Europe and Southeast Asia and is considered virtually the national sport in Indonesia and several other countries. Denmark, England, Sweden, and West Germany lead the European nations in their interest. The game spread in the 1870s to Canada and the United States, where national organizations similar to those of other countries were formed in the 1930s. The International Badminton Federation was formed in 1934 with nine member countries and grew to the more than 85 nations currently affiliated in the 1980s [4, p.1].
In 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 1920s.
By 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.
Through 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 seen.
Following 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.
The 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.
The 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:
1. Promotion and development of badminton play and competition in the United States, without monetary gain.
2. Establishment and upholding of the Laws of Badminton, as adopted by the International Badminton Federation.
3. Arrangement and oversight of the various United States National and Open Championship tournaments.
4. Sanctioning of other tournaments at the local, state, and regional level.
5. Selection and management of players and teams representing the United States in international competitions, including the Olympic Games and the Pan American Games.
6. Representation 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 [4, p.87-89].
Badminton 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.
Badminton 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.
A 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.
In 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.
As 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].
Bowling 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.
When 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 members.
The 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.
Meanwhile, 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 standardized nationally.
As 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 competitors.
Under 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 competition.
With 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.
Approximately 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 WIBC.
A 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.
Although 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].
2.3. Sport for the disabled
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.
According to Executive Director Kirk Bauer, “Disabled Sports USA” was selected for the following reasons:
1. The word “disabled” brought the organization in line with current language used by the federal government. “Disabled” has become more universally accepted than “handicapped.”
2. Disabled 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.
3. Almost 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.
DS/USA 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 conditions.
Disabled 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.
Rehabilitation 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, www. dsusa. org/about…].
2.4. 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 ].
2.4.1. Women and traditional sports and games
Women 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.
The 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 men.
By the 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.
Middle – 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 ].
2.4.2.Women’s sport in the 19th century
The 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.
The 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.
During 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.
This 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
Not all 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.
Challenge 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.
Outside 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 functions.
An even 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
Historians 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.
Another 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.
The 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.
However, 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.
By the 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 athletes.
After 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 fame.
The 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,000 in purse money spread over nine tournaments. Five years later, women golfers could earn 5,000 a year on the LPGA tour.
In the 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 Rudolph 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 ].
The success of women’s tennis, however, did little to help the fortunes of women’s professional team sports.
Women’s 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 audience.
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]
To sum up all the given information, it should be said that the Americans even can be called partisans of a number of colourful sports that are unlike those in other countries. The most popular sports are American football, baseball, basketball, bowling and etc. Most games are shown on television, and the camerawork is so skilful that the thrilling events can be followed even if you know nothing about the game. A lot of people are keen on sports, both professional and amauter. Nowadays there are a lot of possibilities for different people to participate in sports: for healthy people and for disabled ones, for men and women, children and grown-ups. Every person can choose a definite kind of sport according to his taste. At present a great number of various clubs, centres and leagues are founded to help people with their choice. If to speak about women in sport, it should be said that women’s sports include amateur and professional competitions in virtually all sports. Female participation in sports rose dramatically in the twentieth century, especially in the latter part, reflecting changes in modern societies that emphasized gender parity. Although the level of participation and performance still varies greatly by country and by sport, women’s sports have broad acceptance throughout the world, and in a few instances, such as tennis and figure skating, rival or exceed their male counterparts in popularity. There are also several organizations in the USA which give a possibility for disabled people to look at their lives in another way or show them that their lives are not over yet.
3. RECREATION IN THE USA
Why 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.
There 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 church.
The 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].
Although 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.
There 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.
Although 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.
Racket 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 ballhas 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].
3.1. Sports at colleges
3.1.1.College and sport
Youth 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 have fun.
In 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 neighborhoods.
In 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.
Sports 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 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,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
Intercollegiate 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.
Those 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.
In 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.
Most 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 0 million, which was distributed to national organizations in the U. S. and abroad [10, p.196-197].
3.1.3. Women’s Collegiate Sport
The 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 men.
One 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
In 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.
Club 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].
3.2. Animals in sport
Fishing 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.
Hunting 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.
There 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]
3.3. Unusual sports
There 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.
There 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].
US 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.
By 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 locations nationwide.
US 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.
From 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.
Now 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.
Another 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.
Others 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.
So 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.
I think all necessary topics have been discussed in my course paper and that means that this kind of work is fulfilled.
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