Sports

Girl's basketball team, Milton, North Dakota, 1908. Library of Congress.
Anselmo's Baseball Team,Custer County, Nebraska.1892. Library of Congress
Football team, Tulalip Indian School, 1911. Library of Congress
Girl's basketball team,
Milton, North Dakota, 1908.
Library of Congress
Anselmo's Baseball Team,
Custer County, Nebraska.1892.
Library of Congress
Football team,
Tulalip Indian School, 1911.
Library of Congress

Sports occupy a central place in contemporary society. Our cities spend hundreds of millions of dollars on stadiums. Our newspapers devote a large proportion of their pages, and television dedicates much of its programming, to sports coverage. Our civic identity, and many of our conversations, revolve around sports. Our vocabulary is filled with sports metaphors.

Thus it comes as a great surprise to discover that modern sports are less than 200 years old. Competitive team sports and professional sports, with clearly defined rules and carefully-maintained records, are a relatively recent innovation.

Key Questions:

1. When and why did modern sports originate?

2. How did sports evolve as a business? How has the business of sports changed in recent years?

3. What has been the changing relationship between sports and race and sports and gender?

4. What cultural myths have been associated with sports? Are these myths as strong today as they were in the past?

Copyright Digital History 2016