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Sports in the USA

Sports in the USA

Introduction 1

Introduction 3

Introduction 3











Sports: Colleges and Universities 11

Kinds of sports: 13



Sources 20


Americans pay much attention to physical fitness. Many sports and

sporting activities are popular in the USA. People participate in swimming,

skating, squash and badminton, tennis, marathons, track-and-field, bowing,

archery, skiing, skating etc. But the five major American sports are

hockey, volleyball, baseball, football and basketball. Basketball and

volleyball have been invented in America.

There is a large choice of sports in America. This can be explained by the

size and variety of the country. Another reason of the popularity of sports

is the people’s love of competition of any kind. One more reason is that

Americans use sports activities for teaching socials values, such as

teamwork and sportsmanship. All this explains why Americans have

traditionally done well in many kinds of sports.

Every high school offers its students many sports, such as wrestling,

rowing, tennis and golf. There are no separate “universities” for sports in

the USA. Students of any higher educational establishment are trained in

different kinds of sports. Many colleges and universities are famous for

their sports clubs. There are sports facilities at every school.

Some americans like active games, and others like quite games. I think that

quite games, as golf and crocket, intend for rich elite people. Most

popular games in the USA is hockey, american football, baseball,

basketball. Popular among americans are NHL games. In NHL games play our

compatriots: Feudorov, Yashin, Bure brothers. They are ones of the best

players in NHL.

American football is like a rugby with kicks. Every player can beat another

one. I think american football is one of the rudest games in the world.

Baseball is played with wooden bat and hard ball. It's called "typical"

american game.

Basketball is one of the most spectators game in the USA. It's my favourite

game too.

Some unusual kinds of sports originated in America. They are windsurfing,

skate-boarding and tradition. Triathlon includes swimming, bicycling racing

and long-distances-running. Now these are becoming more and more popular in


Sports is a part of life of an average American.


Whether they are fans or players, the millions of Americans who participate

in sports are usually passionate about their games. There is more to being

a baseball fan than buying season tickets to the home team's games. A real

fan not only can recite each player's batting average, but also competes

with other fans to prove who knows the answers to the most obscure and

trivial questions about the sport. That's dedication. Dedication short of

madness is also what inspired hundreds of thousands of football fans to

fill Denver's stadium in dangerously freezing temperatures, not to watch an

exciting game but just to demonstrate team support in a pre-Superbowl pep

rally, days before the actual contest. And it is with passion that

Americans pursue the latest fitness fad, convinced that staying fit

requires much more than regular exercise and balanced meals. For anyone who

claims a real desire to stay healthy, fitness has become a science of

quantification, involving weighing, measuring, moni-toring, graph charting,

and computer printouts". These are the tools for knowing all about pulse

and heart rates, calorie intake, fat cell per muscle cell ratios, and

almost anything else that shows the results of a" workout.


The immense popularity, of sports in America is indicated by the number of

pages and headlines the average daily newspaper devotes to local and

national sports. The emphasis on sports is evident in local evening news

telecasts, too Every evening fox five to seven minutes of the half-hour

local newe show, the station's sports analyst, whose territory is

exclusively sports, reports on local, regional, and national sports events.

Television has made sports available to all. For those who cannot afford

tickets or travel to expensive play-offs like baseball's World Series or

football's final Superbowl, a flick of the television dial provides close-

up viewing that beats front row seats. Although estimates vary, the major

networks average about 500 hours each of sports programming a year.

Recently, the emergence of several cable channels that specialize in sports

gives viewers even more options. The foremost of these channels, ESPN, runs

sports shows at least 22 hours a day and is now received by 37 million

American homes, or nearly half of the 86 million homes with television



Opportunities for keeping fit and playing sports are numerous. Jogging is

extremely popular, perhaps because it is the cheapest and most accessible

sport. Aerobic exercise and training with weight-lifting machines are two

activities which more and more men and women are pursuing. Books, videos,

and fitness-conscious movie stars that play up the glamour of fitness have

heightened enthusiasm for these exercises and have promoted the muscular,

healthy body as the American beauty ideal. Most communities have

recreational parks with tennis and basketball courts, a football or soccer

field, and outdoor grills for picnics. These parks generally charge no fees

for the use of these facilities. Some large corporations, hospitals, and

churches have indoor gymnasiums and organize informal team sports. For

those who can afford membership fees, there is the exclusive country club

and its more modern version, the health and fitness center. Members of

these clubs have access to all kinds of indoor and outdoor sports;

swimming, volleyball, golf, racquetball, handball, tennis, and basketball;

Most dubs also offer instruction in various, sports and exercise methods.

Schools and colleges have institutionalized team sports for young people.

Teams and competitions are highly organized and competitive and generally

receive substantial local publicity. High schools and colleges commonly

have a school team for each of these sports: football, basketball,

baseball, tennis, wrestling, gymnastics, and track, and sometimes for

soccer, swimming, hockey, volleyball, fencing, and golf. Practices and

games are generally held on the school premises after classes are over.

High schools and colleges recognize outstanding athletic achievement with

trophies, awards, and scholarships, and student athletes receive strong

community support.


Football, baseball, and basketball, the most popular sports in America,

originated in the United States and are largely unknown or only minor

pastimes outside North America. The football season starts in early autumn

and is followed by basketball, an indoor winter sport, and then baseball,

played in spring and slimmer. Besides these top three sports, ice hockey,

boxing, golf, car racing, horse racing, and tennis have been popular for

decades and attract large audiences.


Although many spectator sports, particularly pro football, ice hockey, and

boxing, are aggressive and sometimes bloody, American spectators are

notably less violent than are sports crowds in other countries. Fighting,

bottle throwing, and rioting, common elsewhere, are not the rule among

American fans. Baseball and football games are family affairs, and

cheerleaders command the remarkably non-violent crowd to root in chorus for

their teams.


For many people, sports are big business. The major television networks

contract with professional sports leagues for the rights to broadcast


games. The guaranteed mass viewing of major sports events means advertisers

will pay networks a lot of money to sponsor the program with


for their products. Advertisers for beer, cars, and men's products are glad


the opportunity to push their goods to the predominantly male audience of

the big professional sports. Commercial businesses enjoy the publicity


brings in sales. The networks are glad to fill up program hours and


audiences who might perhaps become regular viewers of-other programs

produced by those networks, and the major sports leagues enjoy the


of dollars the networks pay for the broad-casting rights contracts. Many


get half of their revenues from the networks. National Football League


teams, for example, get about 65 percent of their revenues from

television. The

networks' 1986 contract with the NFL provided" each-of the 2g teams in the

league with an average of $14 million a year. -

"Just as in any business, investments are made and assets are exchanged.

Team owners usually sign up individual players for lucrative long-term

contracts. Star quarterback Joe Namalh was invited to play for the New York

Jets, one of the NFL teams, for $425,000 in 1965. Coveted baseball player

Kirk Gibson recently signed a three-year contract with the Detroit Tigers

for $4.1 million. More often in the past than now, team owners traded

players back and forth as items for barter.

Any business' operator hopes to get a good deal. However, the network

sports industries have not been faring well lately. They have experienced

financial setbacks mainly caused by the oversaturation of sports

programming on networks and compering cable channels. Networks claim they

are now losing money on once-lucrative telecasts. Ironically, the slump in

business is occurring at a time when sports shows are drawing larger

audiences than in recent years. Part of the problem is that advertising

costs got too high, and the industries mat traditionally Duy ads beer ana

car companies are not paying the high prices. Networks, dependent on

advertising for revenue, are hoping that the market will change before they

have to make drastic reductions ir sports programming.


The commercial aspects of American professional sports can make or break an

athlete's career. Young, talented athletes make it to the top because they

are exceptionally talented, but not in every case because they are the

best. In women's tennis, for example, an aspiring young tennis star must

not only possess a winning serve and backhand, she must also get corporate

agents on her side. Without agents who line up sponsors and publicity, a

player has a very difficult time moving from amateur to professional

sports. To get the endorsement of corporate advertising sponsors, a

talented young tennis player has a much better chance for success if she is

also attractive. Sales-conscious tennis sportswear companies pay large sums

of money to tennis pros who promote their products. Many top players earn

more money a year in product-endorsement fees than in prize money.

Competition and success in sports, then, is not only a matter of game

skill, but marketability as well.


College sports lost its amateurism years ago. Teams and events are

institutionalized and contribute to college publicity and revenue. Sports

bring in money to colleges from ticket sales and television rights, so

colleges like having winning teams. The better the team, the greater the

ticket sales and television coverage, and the more money the college can

channel back into athletics and other programs. Football and basketball are

the most lucrative college sports because they attract the most fans. Other

college sports, particularly women's sports, are often neglected and

ignored by spectators, the news media, and athletic directors who often

disregard-women's sports budgets and funnel money for equipment and

facilities into the sports that pay. On the other hand, top college teams

get a lot of attention. In 1986, the Division 1 college football programs

had a budget of nearly $1 billion, while entertaining millions of

spectators and television viewers.


To recruit student athletes for a winning team, many colleges are willing

to go to great lengths, providing full academic scholarships, to athletes,

and sometimes putting the college's academic reputatiori at risk. The tacit

understanding shared by college admissions directors as well as the

potential sports stars they admit is that athletes do not enroll in college

to learn, but to play sports and perhaps use intercollegiate sports as a

springboard for a professional career. The situation often embarrasses

college administrators, who are caught between educational ideals and

commercial realities, and infuriates other students, who resent the

preferential treatment given to athletes. Of late, some universities, such

as the University of Michigan, have initiated support programs to improve

academic performance and graduation rates of athletes.


Increasing commercialization of college sports is part of a larger trend.

American sports are becoming more competitive and more profit-oriented. As

a result, playing to win is emphasized more than playing for fun. This is

true from the professional level all the way down to the level of

children's Little League sports" teams, where young players are encourag'ed

by such "slogans as "A quitter never wins; a winner never quits," and

"never be willing to be second best." The obsession with winning causes

some people to wonder whether sports in America should be such serious


Sports: Colleges and Universities

The athletic programs of American

colleges and universities have come

in for a great deal of criticism

but there does not seem to be

a chance to alter the system.

James A. Michener gives background

information and comments on the problems.

First, the United States is the only nation in the world, so far as I

know, which demands that its schools like Harvard, Ohio State and Claremont

assume responsibility for providing the public with sports entertainment.

Ours is a unique system which has no historical sanction or application

elsewhere. It would be unthinkable for the University of Bologna, a most

ancient and honorable school, to provide scholarships to illiterate soccer

players so that they could entertain the other cities of northern Italy,

and it would be equally preposterous for either the Sorbonne or Oxford to

do so in their countries. Our system is an American phenomenon, a

historical accident which developed from the exciting football games played

by Yale and Harvard and to a lesser extent Princeton and certain other

schools during the closing years of the nineteenth century. If we had had

at that time professional teams which provided public football

entertainment, we might not have placed the burden on our schools. But we

had no professional teams, so our schools were handed the job.

Second, if an ideal American educational system were being launched afresh,

few would want to saddle it with the responsibility for public sports

entertainment. I certainly would not. But since, by a quirk of history, it

is so saddled, the tradition has become ingrained and I see not the

remotest chance of altering it. I therefore approve of continuing it, so

long as certain safeguards are installed. Categorically, I believe that our

schools must continue to offer sports entertainment, even though comparable

institutions throughout the rest of the world are excused from doing so.

Third, I see nothing wrong in having a college or a university provide

training for the young man or woman who wants to devote his adult life to

sports. My reasoning is twofold: 1) American society has ordained that

sports shall be a major aspect of our

national life, with major attention, major financial support and major

coverage in the media. How possibly can a major aspect of life be ignored

by our schools? 2) If it is permissible to train young musicians and actors

in our universities, and endow munificent departments to do so, why is it

not equally legitimate to train young athletes, and endow them with a


Fourth, because our schools have volunteered to serve as unpaid training

grounds for future professionals, and because some of the lucky schools

with good sports reputations can earn a good deal of money from the semi-

professional football and basketball teams they operate, the temptation to

recruit young men skilled at games but totally unfitted for academic work

is overpowering. We must seriously ask if such behavior is legitimate for

an academic institution. There are honorable answers, and I know some of

them, but if we do not face this matter forthrightly, we are going to run

into troubla.

Kinds of sports:


Baseball is a nine-a-side game played with bat, ball, and glove, mainly in

the U.S.A. Teams consist of a pitcher and catcher, called the battery,

first, second, and third basemen, and shortstop, called the infield, and

right, centre, and left fielders, called the outfield. Substitute players

may enter the game at any time, but once a player is removed he cannot


The standard ball has a cork-and-rubber centre wound with woollen yarn and

covered with horse-hide. It weighs from 5 to 5 1/4 oz. (148 g.) and is from

9 to 9 1/2 in. (approx. 23 cm.) in circumference. ... The bat is a smooth,

round, tapered piece of hard wood not more than 2 3/4 in. (approx. 7 cm.)

in diameter at its thickest part and no more than 42 in. (1.07 m.) long.

Originally, fielders played barehanded, but gloves have been developed over

the years. First basemen wear a special large mitt, and catchers use a

large, heavily-padded mitt as well as a chest protector, shin guards, and a

metal mask. Catchers

were at first unprotected. Consequently,- they stood back at a distance

from home plate and caught pitched balls on the bounce, but the

introduction of the large, round, well-padded mitt or "pillow glove" and

the face mask enabled them to move up close behind the plate and catch

pitched balls on the fly. Players wear shoes with steel cleats and, while

batting and running the bases, they use protective plastic helmets.

The game is played on a field containing four bases placed at the angles of

a 90-ft (27.4 m.) square (often called a diamond): home plate and, in

counter-clockwise order, first, second, and third base. Two foul lines form

the boundaries of fair territory. Starting at home, these lines extend past

first and third base the entire length of the field, which is often

enclosed by a fence at its farthest limits.

The object of each team is to score more runs than the other. A run is

scored whenever a player circles all the bases and reaches home without

being put out The game is divided into innings, in

each of which the teams alternate at bat and in the field. A team is

allowed three outs in each halfinning at bat, and must then take up

defensive positions in the field while the other team has its turn to try

to score. Ordinarily, a game consists of nine innings; in the event of a

tie, extra innings are played until one team outscores the other in the

same number of innings.

The players take turns batting from home plate in regular rotation. The

opposing pitcher throws the ball to his catcher from a slab (called the

"rubber") on the pitcher's mound, a slightly raised area of the field

directly between home and second base. ... Bases are canvas bags fastened

to metal pegs set in the ground.

The batter tries to reach base safely after hitting the pitched ball into

fair territory. A hit that enables him to reach first base is called a

"single," a two-base hit is a "double," a three-base hit a "triple," and a

four-base hit a "home-run." A fair ball hit over an outfield fence is

automatically a home run. A batter is also awarded his base if the pitcher

delivers four pitches which, in the umpire's judgement, do not pass through

the "strike zone" - that is, over home plate between the batter's armpits

and knees; or if he is hit by a pitched ball; or if the opposing catcher

interferes when he swings the bat. To prevent the batter from hitting

safely, baseball pitchers deliver the ball with great speed and accuracy

and vary its speed and trajectory. Success in batting, therefore, requires

courage and a high degree of skill.

After a player reaches base safely, his progress towards home depends

largely on his team mates' hitting the ball in such a way that he can

advance. ...

Players may be put out in various ways. A batter is out when the pitcher

gets three 'strikes' on him. A strike is a pitch that crosses the plate in

the strike zone, or any pitch that is struck at and missed or is hit into

foul territory. After two strikes, however, foul balls do not count except

when a batter bunts - lets the ball meet the bat instead of swinging at it

- and the ball rolls foul. A batter is also out if he hits the ball in the

air anywhere in fair or foul territory and it is caught by an opponent

before it touches the ground. He is out if he hits the ball on the ground

and a fielder catches and throws it to a player at first base, or catches

it and touches that base, before the batter (now become a base runner) gets


A base runner may be put out if, while off base, he is tagged by an

opposing player with the hand or glove holding the ball, or if he is forced

to leave his base to make room for another runner and fails to reach the

next base before an opposing player tags him or the base; or if he is hit

by a team mate's batted ball before it has touched or passed a fielder.

An umpire-in-chief "calls" balls and strikes from his position directly

behind the catcher at home plate, and one or more base umpires determine

whether runners are safe or out at the other three bases.


The History of basketball, a game that started with 18 men in a YMCA

gymnasium in Springfield, Mass., has grown into a game that more than 300

million people play worldwide. The man who created this instantly

successful sport was Dr. James Naismith.

Under orders from Dr. Luther Gulick, head of Physical Education at the

School for Christian Workers. Naismith had 14 days to create an indoor game

that would provide an "athletic distraction" for a rowdy class through the

brutal New England winter.

Naismith's invention didn't come easily. Getting close to the deadline, he

struggled to keep the class' faith. His first intention was to bring

outdoor games indoors, i.e., soccer and lacrosse. These games proved too

physical and cumbersome.

At his wits' end, Naismith recalled a childhood game that required players

to use finesse and accuracy to become successful. After brainstorming this

new idea, Naismith developed basketball's original 13 rules and

consequently, the game of basketball.

As basketball's popularity grew, Naismith neither sought publicity nor

engaged in self-promotion. He was first and foremost a physical educator

who embraced recreational sport but shied away from the glory of

competitive athletics.

Naismith was an intense student, collecting four degrees in the diverse

fields of Philosophy, Religion, Physical Education and Medicine. Although

he never had the opportunity to see the game become the astonishing

spectacle it is today, Naismith's biggest thrill came when he was sponsored

by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) to witness

basketball become an Olympic sport at the 1936 Games held in Berlin.

Naismith became famous for creating the game of basketball, a stroke of

genius that never brought him fame or fortune during his lifetime, but

enormous recognition following his passing in 1939.

For his historic invention, Naismith's name adorns the world's only

Basketball Hall of Fame, a tribute that forever makes James Naismith

synonymous with basketball.

Abner Doubleday, who didn't invent baseball, is probably a more widely

recognized name than Naismith, who did invent basketball. And even those

who know about him continue to learn more about the man who invented a

sport designed for offseason physical exercise, which began with his own 13

basic rules, but which has grown to become a game not for a specific

culture or nation or ethnic group, but for an entire planet to share and


Naismith is the only coach in University of Kansas men's basketball history

to own a losing record. Naismith was 55-60 from 1898 to 1907, which

mattered little to him only in that one of his most famous quotes was that

basketball was never meant to be coached, anyway, only to be played.

The new game was explained by 13 basic rules and was played with a soccer

ball, peach baskets and nine to a side. There have been major changes to

the game since that first contest, which is believed to have been played

Dec. 21, 1891.

But perhaps what is most amazing about Naismith's creation, other than the

fact that few sports that are purposely invented actually stand the test of

time, is that the essence of basketball-throwing a ball into an elevated

goal-has remained the focus from day one.

Today, Naismith would be universally recognized as a genius, a Bill Gates

of sport. And in all likelihood, the opportunity would exist for him to

become a multi-millionaire.

But if Naismith was The Basketball Man, he was not The Money Man, and life

in 1891 was far different than in 1991 or 2001.

But if Naismith's invention did not lead to profit, it did lead to huge

popularity for basketball. Even in the final years of the 19th century,

with communication and transportation that was primitive by today's

standards, the game's growth was palpable, immediate and widespread.

James Naismith had changed the face of sport, not so much for the 19th

century, but the 20th, and it is now clear, the 21st. All in an effort to

keep unruly students at bay.


America in Close up




Krasnoyarsk State University

“Law Faculty”

Comparative Law Department


Sports in the USA

Done by: Popov Dmitry

Law 17

Krasnoyarsk 2002


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