United States Boys' Clothes: Sports Chronology

Figure 1.--Here we see a football ebthuisast, probably in the early-1930s. Note the leather helmet without a face guard. That is probably his school in the background.

Sports are probably more important in America than in other country. We are not entirely sure why, but prosperity and economic afluence is one factor. People living at the subsistence level or just slightly above do not have the ability to pursue sports. Another factor is urbanization. American sports like sports all over the world have been influenced by the sports developed in Britain, in part at public (exclusive private) schools. But as America separate from Britain in the late-18th century, sports while having some similarity developed differet than in Britain and the rest of the British Empire. American sports, reflecting the relative isolation of the United States in the 19th century, developed in a different direction than in most other countries. Private schools did not play as important a role in America as they did in Britain. A variety od sports were played mostlybinformally in the early 19th century. Thus varied regiinally and was much more developed in the big northeastern cities than the rest of the country. This changed with the Civil War when the came spread all over the country. As far as we camn tell, itvwas mosrly baseball that was played at Civil War camps. Professional teams began to form. Football was not ininitally as pooular as baseball and developed more slowly. James Naismith, a Canadian physical education instructor, invented basketball (1891). Thus by the-turn-of-the 20th century, all three major American sports were established and growing in popularity. Baseball untill after World war II was the dominant American sport. Large numbers of boys played Little League and after some resistance, the girls were allowed to join in. In the post-War era, suburban kids began playing soccer. We also see basketball becoming increasingly important and large numbers of black boys wwre able to play the sport in thge resticted enviriment iof the inner city.


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Created: 5:16 PM 2/12/2011
Last updated: 5:16 PM 2/12/2011