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The Field of Sociology of Sports

Essay by   •  August 25, 2013  •  Research Paper  •  2,291 Words (10 Pages)  •  1,205 Views

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The field of sociology of sports can be studied in many different ways and perspectives. It can stem from sexuality, race, gender, class, age, health and more. It can be viewed as a masculine or feminist point of view. Sociological views can also be studied by the financial, cultural, media and political aspects. Sports provide many different separate but mutual dependant groups. Athletic teams, fans and profitable companies all participate in social behaviors. Sociology of sports look for ways to motivate teams, strengthen the bond between team and fans and prevent discrimination in professional athletics. Sociology looks at many groups of societies as a whole or as single individual units. "The study of sports within sociology opens up new avenues for investigating several things within the social world." (Carrington, 2010).

The sport I selected to write about is Softball. I chose this sport, because my son plays on a religious amateur team and I am the score keeper, so I can observe first hand the relationship between sports and society. Softball is a very important social event in just about every community, because it joins a group of people from different cultures and religions together for socializing purposes. The history of softball was invented in 1887, by a man named George Hancock. He was among a group of Harvard and Yale alumni at a football game, which Yale won the football game 17- 8 against Harvard. In playing, a Yale man threw a boxing glove at a Harvard man and the Harvard man grabbed a broomstick to avoid the glove from hitting him. This gave Hancock an idea and he invented the softball. It was originally a indoor sport, where a hour long action packed game was played and the game ended with a score of 41-40. Hancock decided that this sport was a good sport and wrote down some rules, designed a soft ball and bat and made foul lines on the floor. Teams started to form tournaments and before he knew it 3,000 spectators filled up the Farragut Boat Club. The tournament encouraged the enactment of the Amateur Softball Association in 1933. In 1951, the International Softball Federation has regulated worldwide softball competitions. Men, women and children of all ages started playing in different states all over the world. When this sport first came out it was considered a indoor sport known as "Mush ball, kitten ball, and playground ball" (Meyer, 1982). Now softball is now recognized as an outdoor sport and is played on a field. Softball was originally considered a "women's" sport, but in modern times men, women and children of all sex and ages are able to play. Although the men are able to play, their a certain rules that they have to follow that is different from the female. One difference is that if a man plays on an all male team, they have to fast pitch instead of slow pitch and the male picture has to stand 46 feet from the base line as apposed to the female has to stand 43 feet. If he is playing on a mixed league with women, if he has a powerful swing and the other team feels he has a advantage over the women on their team, he has to alternate his batting swings. For example, if he is batting with his right hand and he hits the ball out of the ball park, it is considered an advantage and he will have to bat left handed on his next bat. " Often adopted rules intended to reduce gender inequality, under the assumption that men will be generally more powerful an/or skilled, and under that rule batting order has to be male, female, male. Etc.." (Levinson and Christensen, 1996). Softball has a lot of history such as in 1895 the first woman's softball team was formed and softball name was given to the game. In 1931 Virne Beatrice Mitchell was a seventeen year old who struck Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig and women are banned from baseball. In 1933, the Amateur Softball Association is founded. In 1943, Philip Wrigley establishes the ALL-American Girl's Softball League and in 1951 Betty Chapman is the first African American professional softball player. Some tournament and championship events include, 1965 was the first International Women's Softball Tournament was held, 1972 Title IX is passed into law giving women the same opportunity as men and in 2000, the United States defends it's gold metal at the Olympic Games.

While doing a field observation, I observed that the setting took place at Union Baptist Softball field. The infield is 60 ft. from the next base and has a diamond shape. Within the diamond are bases starting with 1st, 2nd, 3rd and home plate. The pitcher sits on a mound in the middle of the diamond and the whole playing field is encased in a paged fence. The ball has to be 12- inches. The bat is usually made out of wood, aluminum or a composite material, the gloves are usually made out of leather and can not be larger than 14". There are 2 sets of bleachers on both side of the playing field. If the fans don't want to sit in the bleachers, they are welcomed to bring their own comfortable seating. There is a concession stand that you can buy refreshments, such as soft drinks, candy, chips, nacho, hamburgers and hotdogs. Beings that this is church leagues, beer or alcohol is not allowed on the premise. Before the teams start playing their game, the Pastor will say a sermon and the umpire, coaches and each team member bow their heads and says their prayers. After each game, whether they win or lose, each player has to shake hands with the other team. Showing good sport. The participants are the team members, coaches, score keepers and the umpires. The name of the teams playing this game are the St. Charles Knights and Millcreek. There is a huge crowd of 40-50 people. Most are sitting in the bleachers and some of the die hard fans are sitting on folding chairs. The age range is from 5 to 80 years old. There are more women fans than there are men. There are students, nurses, managers, retirees, unemployed and engineers. Some are from the Baptist religion, Catholic and Nondenominational Churches. The teams have on their uniforms for the game. The Knights are wearing navy blue sweat pants and a red and navy T-Shirt with navy sleeves. Millcreek is wearing black sweat pants with turquoise T-shirt with black writing and black sleeves. The coaches are wearing their teams color T-shirts with either blue jeans or sweat pants. The fans, parents and friends are either wearing their teams colors or they are wearing work clothes, such as scrubs, navy blue pants or jeans and different colors shirts. Everyone is getting along and having a grand ole time. The men are together catching up on old times, work, sports and fishing. The women

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