Sport and recreation in the United States

The United States has traditionally been a very successful player in international sports events. The Olympic Games are the highlight

Sport and recreation in the United States

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Contents:

 

Introduction 3

  1. SPORT AND ITS DEVELOPMENT IN THE USA 4
  2. Historical background, names of national sports, borrowed games 4
  3. Problems and prospects of American sport6
  4. THE VARIETY OF AMERICAN SPORTS 9
  5. Professional sport 9
  6. The business of sport 9
  7. Major sports 10
  8. Baseball and business 10
  9. Basketball 12
  10. Football: an American spectacle 13
  11. Bowling 15
  12. Problems in professional sport 16
  13. Olympic Games and the names of American heroes 17
  14. Leisure sports 17
  15. Badminton 17
  16. Bowling 20
  17. Sports for the disabled 21
  18. Women in sports 22
  19. Women and traditional sports and games 23
  20. Womens sport in the 19th century 24
  21. Challenging gendered boundaries 25
  22. The age of modern sports 26
  23. RECREATION IN THE USA 29
  24. Sports at colleges 30
  25. College and sport 30
  26. Sport and money 31
  27. Women's Collegiate Sport 32
  28. Intramural and club sports32
  29. Animals in sport32
  30. Unusual sports33
  31. Camps33

CONCLUSION35

LITERATURE36

INTRODUCTION

 

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, theyd 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 Im 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. 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 outlookalthough 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 sportsearly 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 $1,000 at a Hoboken race track. Forty thousand watched the rematch, which Barlow won with a time of 54:21.

After the Civil War track was particularly popular as an opportunity for wagering, with the competitors often handicapped with weights or staggered starts to ensure parity. Amusement parks sponsored weekend track meets on an elimination basis with the winners receiving cash awards or readily pawnable trophies. Marathons and long distance races were also popular.

Probably the most important sponsors of track and field sports in the nineteenth century were the ethnic organizations with their annual "picnics"mass athletic meets allowing amateurs and professionals to compete separately and against each other. The Caledonian Games of New York City were the earliest; during the 1880s there were also Irish and German picnics. Picnics were also hosted by military regiments, labor unions, colleges, and wealthy athletic associations like the New York Athletic Club and the Schuylkill Navy Club of Philadelphia.

In the 1870s the "gentlemen" began to complain about having to compete against lower class professionals at track meets. The solution to this genteel dilemma was the doctrine of amateurism, which made it possible for the well-born to win more than an occasional race and, incidentally, made athletics respectable

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