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Evolution of Sports

Essay by   •  April 4, 2011  •  Essay  •  642 Words (3 Pages)  •  1,777 Views

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Sports have evolved significantly over the course of history to become what it is today. There have been many characteristics that have molded modern sports, but the most predominant in the evolution is equality. The development of prevailing sports can be also be attributed to other characteristics, such as secularism, specialization, rationalization, bureaucracy, quantification, and records, but during the period of 1865-1950, equality of different racial groups played a vital part in shaping our country, in addition to sports. We can look at specific sports, such as football and basketball to see how they opened up to different races, genders, and social classes to become the successes they are today.

We can start by looking at the ancient Greeks to see how the history of sports began. Women are thought to not play a part in the history of sports until recently, however Greek history proves otherwise. Women would compete in separate events, and had limited rights as to what they could play, but it is important to note that rights were offered to them. Slaves and all those who were not Greek were not allowed to partake in any sports games in the start. The Greeks tended to create different sporting groups based on size rather than age, which was a starting point for equality. As time progressed, sports seemed to demonstrate inequality based on class. For example, only noblemen could play tennis around the 1500's, and similar circumstances were seen with horse riding. Equality seemed to have a different connotation from sport to sport.

As the 1865-1950's came around in America, sports had been starting to break away from the equality standard that had been set over the past couple centuries. For the first time, sports were seeing the appearance of African Americans (e.g. Jackie Robinson in 1947) and the NFL had allowed African Americans to join in the 1940s. Collegiate sports were where African Americans saw their first game time action in 1890s. These were drastic steps that the country was taking. Despite the entire civil right movement that was going on, African Americans were still able to get their names out in sports for the first time.

Why is equality the predominant force in the evolution? Had it not been for the breaking of the racial barrier, sports such as basketball and football would not be subjected to the great African-American influence they have today. Additionally, women would not have the same privileges in sports. During this time period, women were making appearances in basketball, golf, hockey, and even fighting. Colleges, such as Vassar, were becoming more open to the idea of letting women create their own sports teams, and eventually, women became fully adapted into sports. The government started to intervene to make sure women were receiving fair rights. Title IX stated that sex discrimination would not be tolerated; this was the first time

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