Boys' Sport Uniforms: Country Trends


Figure 1.--We notice Japanese boys in a variety of athletic uniforms, but we are not always sure just what sport is involved. Notice the caps have chin straps, but not all the boyswear them.

Some sports like football (soccer) seem almost universal. Other sports are very specific to certain countries. Many athletic competitions were developed by the ancient Greeks in the Olympic competitions. No country is more important to the development of modern sports than England. Many sports have English origins (rugby footbal, soccer, cricket, and hockey). These sports were spread around the world because of the importance of the British Empire so that now England often looses international competitions to its former colonies. Cricket is very popular in South Asia and the Caribbean, Rugby is very popular in Ne Zealand and Fiji. American has developed some important sports, some based on English influences (baseball and football) and others entirely unique (basketball). Canada originated ice hockey, based on the English sport of hockey. France played an important role in tennis. Scotland played a major role in golf. Only Australians play Australian rules football or "footy". We are developing country sports pages in the activity area of each country section. Currently we only have separate pages on America and Canada, but we are working on several other country sports pages.

Africa

We have very little information about sport in Africa. Sport is very popular in Sub-Saharan Africa, although poverty is a limitation. In North Africa, there appears to be less intrest as is commonly the case in Muslim countries. Sport seems mostly an activity in which boys participate and in North Africa it is almost exclusively a boys' activity. The popular soports are all European imports. Soccer or football is by far the principal sport that interests boys. In some countries football is about the only sport the boys play. There are many soccer teams orgajnized throughout Africa at many levels as well as boys playing for fun in unorganized games. Many talented African footballers play on European teams. We also note a special interest in long-distance running in East Africa. While footbal is by far the most important sport, there are other sports. We also notice other sports. Rugby is played in several countries, especially South Africa. We note a rugby team in Guinea. We do not have many counntry sport pages. We do have a South African page.

America--Latin


Brazil

Sports especially outdoor sports are very popular in Brazil and because of the climate can be practiced year round. We do know that sport is dominated by soccer (footbll), almost to the exclusion of many other sports. Futebol is more than a sport in Brazil, it is a cultural phenomenon. We see boys kicking balls all over the country. And of course, the country is a perenial favorite in World Cup competition ever since Pele led Brazil to victory in the 1950s. He is considered by many to be the greates player of all time. The only sport majny Braziliab boys want to play is football and thete is no seasonal shift as is the case of America and Europe. There is no cultural divide as well. All other major sports pale in popularity to football. This is reflected in the Olympics competition where Brazil does poorly in relation to its popularity. One other sport in which Brazil does excel is volleybazll, probably because of the popularity of beach volleball. And Braziliazns have combibed their interest in football and volleyball to create futvolley. A factor in Braziliab sport has been the endemic poverty of a large part of the population. The country's increasing economic success may change this in the future. Hopefully Brazilian readers will tell us more about sport in their country.

America--North


Canada

The most popular sport in Canada is ice hockey and many Canadian boys play the sport. The Canadians maintain that ice hockey actually originated in Canada. Despite the fact that Canada was a British colony, Canadians appear to have pursued American sports like baseball, basketball, and football more than British sports like cricket and soccer. We notice both French-Canandian as well as nglish-Canadian boys playing sports like baseball. A Canadian reader writes, "Notice, that even at the height of the British Empire, Canada had North American sports." We do not know if there was any difference between the French and English community as to sports. We do not know if experiences such as Little League Baseball and beginning in the 1970s soccer leagues were also common in Canada.

United States

American has developed some important sports, some based on English influences (baseball and football) and others entirely unique (basketball). Canada originated ice hockey, based on the English sport of hockey. Sports are probably more important in America than in other country. American sports like sports all over the world have been influenced by the sports developed in Britain, in part at public (exclusive private) schools. American sports, reflecting the relative isolation of the United States in the 19th century, developed in a different direction than in most other countries. As a result, soccer is not a major proffessional sport in the United States--although since the 1970s it is commonly played by children. The principal sports played in America Baseball, basketball, and football) are exclisuively played in America or in a small number of other countruies. The one important American professional team sport played internationally is Canada. American teams, however, mostly play other American teams or Canadian teams.

Asia


Japan

We have only limited information on sports in Japan. We know that baseball is very popular. But we have little information on other sports. Japanese scgools have a very academic focus, thus sports are not promoted in the school as is the case for America. We notice Japanese boys in a variety of athletic uniforms, but we are not always sure just what sport is involved. Hopefully our Japanese readers will povide us some insights on sports in Japan.

Sri Lanka

Sports are popular in Scotland. The sports played are the ones introduced by the British during the colonial era. Youth sports are primarily played at schools. Most schools provide the opportunity for students to participate in various sports as extra-curricular activities. This is especially true of the private schools which are better finnced. When performing these sports there are specific types of clothing and gear worn. The types of clothing for each sport are same among all the schools except the colour of the uniforms. The most popular boys' sports are: cricket, basketball, volleyball, badminton, tennis, and rugby.

Tajikistan

We know very little about sporys in Tajikistan. We have no information at this time about traditional sports. We do notice that football appears to be a passion among Tajik boys. No matter where you go, you can always observes boys playing football or at least kicking a fooball around. As soon as boys get hoime from school the footballs come out. We rarely see them playing any other sport. This seems to be almost entirely a boy activity. Rately do you see girls with soccer balls.

Europe


Austria

Soccer is the most popular sport in Austria, as in the case for the rest of Europe. The sports picture is dominated by soccer. Many European boys, including Austrian boys, are happy to play soccer all year round. There is some interest in ice hockey during the winter. The Europeans do not have seasonal team sports like Americans. We are not sure when boys begn playing soccer in Austria. We first notice images after World war I in the inter-war era. Winter sports like skiing and skating are very popular in Austria. A German reader tells us that there is an Austrian style of wrestling known as Rangeln. Rules are similar to Olympic Gamess or U.S. colleges, but "holds can be taken on the clothes and rangglers wear a tough canvas shirt and cotton trousers, which make spectacular throws easier." There are competitions at Hundstein. A variant of it is called Hosenlupfen (trousers wrestling) Since 1947 the Salzburger Ranglerverband was founded that standardised the rules." Modern Ranggeln bouts last 6 minutes. There are no points, only a fall counts and a rolling fall or to bridge is counted as a fall. Submission holds and strangles are forbidden and there are no draws; a drawn bout eliminates both competitors. Therefore bouts are fast and furious since the wrestlers must gain a pin to survive into the next round. " It is thought to be an accient competition held by the Celts to honour Lugh. Caesar wanted rangeln held only for him and the Christians didn't like it either.

Czech Reublic

We have very limited information about sport in Czech Republic or before the creation of the Czech Republic, the former Czechoslovakia. As in most countries, football (soccer) is by large margins the most important sport. We see youth teams playing games with other Czech teams as well as foreign teams, especially Germany. We are not sure how these teams are organized. They appear to sports clubs rather than school teams. We also notice that gumnastics is very popular in the Czech Republic. Agains it seems to be organized primarily through sports clubs.

England

No country is more important to the development of modern sports than England. Many sports have English origins (rugby footbal, soccer, cricket, and hockey). These sports were spread around the world because of the importance of the British Empire so that now England often looses international competitions to its former colonies. Cricket is very popular in South Asia and the Caribbean, Rugby is very popular in New Zealand and Fiji. Cricket may well be the most destinctively English sport. The leisuely way in which a match is played make in more of an event than a game. as in most of Europe, however, it is football soccer that has captured the imagination of English boys. Unlike America, girls do not seem nearly s captivatd by it. Rugby is much less widely played. Social class has had a major impact on sport in Britain. Football was one seen as a working class sport. ome public (exclusive private) schools once banned football in favor of rugby.

France

France played an important role in tennis.

Finland

Finnish children, as in other countries, enjoy a range of sports. A wide range of sports and athletics are plasyed in Finland. The sports program as is common in Europe is not as school-based as the United states. Often children joined clubs to participate in sports, rather like the way American children participate in swimming competitions. Here we see a range of Finnish sports activities like athletics. As in other countries, the most ppoular sport is football (soccer). Climate plays an important role in Finnish sports. The most destinctive feature of Finnish sports results from the climaste. Finland is one of a handful of countries located at extreme northerly lattitudes. Thus because of the climate, Finns are abkle to enjoy enjoy cold weather sports like skating and skiing. And ice hockey is very popular with the boys.

Germany

We have very little information on German sports until after World War II. We have no information on organized youth sports in Germany during the first hslf of the 20th century. We do not boys engaged in athletics, track and field. As far as we can tell this was not widely organized through the schools. German schools seem to have tsaken a very scademic approch with little emphadsis on sports. We have no indication yet that there were inter-scool or intra-mural sports competitions in Germany. We do believe that there were sports clubs. I'm not sure but I believe that before World War II this involved youths and not boys. Even in the 1950s, most photogrsaphs show German boyds playing sports in their regular clothes rather than uniforms. In term of sports, we not many images of German boys playing football (soccer), but few playing other sports.

Greece

Some sports like football (soccer) seem almost universal. Other sports are very specific to certain countries. Many athletic competitions were developed by the ancient Greeks in the Olympic competitions.

Italy

Football dominates Italian sport as is the case throughout most of Europe. We do not have an Italian sports page yet. We do have a page on Italian swimwear.

(The) Netherlands

A HBC reader tells us, "I can't resist mentioning the game of korball that originated in the Netherlands just one hundred years ago. I have never seen a game and I didn't even know it existed until a recent television documentary on the occasion of the game's centenary.

Russia

We do not know a great deal about Russian sports at this time. We do nknow that the Russians have a passion for hockey. This is, however, a game that can not be played without expensive to maintain arenas making it difficult for children to participate. Rather soccer appears to be the game most popular with Russian children. There are many clubs that the children can join to play sports for. Some of the popular sports for Russisn children are hockey, soccer, skiing, skating, chess, and gymnastics. We have little acrual information, but it seems that the opportunities for children to engage in sports are far more limited uin Russia than in the West. Certainly the resources once lavished on sports have been subtantially reduced. The Soviet Union was a sports giant at international competitions. Russian newspapers today lament the lack of success of Russian athletes in international competitions. Even during Soviet times, the demphasis of sports were to demonstrate the glories of the state and thus focused on identifying and training superior atheletes no on providing recreational activities for the average child. We have little information on current trends in Russian sports, but hopefully our Russian leaders will provide some insights.

Scotland

Scotland played a major role in the development of golf. Scotland adopted the popular sports that developed in England furig the 18th anbd 19th centurues, namely cricket, football (soccer), hockey, and rugby. We also notice gymnatics

Spain

Football (futbol) dominates Spanish sports. Unlike the United States and Britain where there are several major sports played on a seasonal basis, Spanish kids are obsessed with football (soccer) and play it world round. Footbsll is a passion in Spain. And Spain is as a result now a perenial football power house. Real Madrid and Barca are footbsll dynasties. Sport was not very important in Spamnin until after World War II. Spanish boys mostly play football through clun teans rather than school programs. One exception is bull fighting which has long been a popular sport. We do not see too many Spanish sports starts outside of football, except for somne star tennis players. We are not sure, however, how commonly tennis is played. Football is, however, played in virtually every corner of the country all year found. Basketball has grown in popularity during recent years and Spanish players have ben to appear in the Nationsl Basketball Associatiion. Baskerball dors not, however, compare with the popularity of football. There are some popular golf courses, but this is not a sport many boys play. The Pyranees provides seasonal skilling. Iberia is a peninsula. Thus there are many popylar warwer sports, including sailing. The America's Cup will be hosdted in Valencia. Cycling is alsdo popular. The Tour of spain has been growing in popularity. We do not know to what extent girls have beguin to play sports in Spain.

Oceania


Australia

We do not have a lot of information on Australia yet. We know that both football (soccer) and rugby are popular there. Only Australians play Australian rules football or "footy". Another popular sport is tennis.

New Zealand

Sport is a major activity in New Zealand. This is of course the case for boys in most Western countries. It is especially the case in New Zealand. But in New Zealand many girls are also sports conscious. The schools have strong intra-mural program which incourage a broad base of programs. Like other former-British colonies, the British team sports are especially popular. Rugby is the national sport, even more popular than football (soccer) which is the principal sport in most countries. Despite the country's small populstion, it commonly does very well in international rugby competition. Footbal and cricket are also popular. New Zealand is one of the ten Full Members of the International Cricket Council. Girls play netball rather than basketball. Since World War II, American influences also developed so we also see boys playing baseball, mostly softball. Basketball is growing in importance. Americ's Cup sailing attract wide interest.







HBC






Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing Web Site:
[Return to the Main sports page]
[Return to the Main uniform page]
[Introduction] [Activities] [Biographies] [Chronology] [Clothing styles] [Countries]
[Bibliographies] [Contributions] [FAQs] [Glossaries] [Images] [Links] [Registration] [Tools]
[Boys' Clothing Home]




Created: October 12, 2003
Last updated: 11:47 PM 6/11/2013