Sports in the USA



 Introduction    1

Introduction     3

Introduction     3

A SPORTS-LOVING NATION 4

MEDIA COVERAGE   5

PRIVATE AND INSTITUTIONALIZED ACTIVITIES     5

AMERICAN SPORTS  6

VIOLENCE AND SPORTS    7

COMMERCIAL ASPECTS     7

PROFESSIONAL SPORTS    9

COLLEGE SPORTS   9

STUDENT ATHLETES AND ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE    10

WINNING     11

Sports: Colleges and Universities 11

Kinds of sports: 13

BASEBALL    13

BASKETBALL  16

Sources     20
                                Introduction

      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 peoples 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
Europe.
Sports is a part of life of an average American.



                           A SPORTS-LOVING NATION

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.

                               MEDIA COVERAGE

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
sets.

                  PRIVATE AND INSTITUTIONALIZED ACTIVITIES

 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.

                               AMERICAN SPORTS

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.

                             VIOLENCE AND SPORTS

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.

                             COMMERCIAL ASPECTS

 For many people, sports are big business. The major television networks
 contract with professional sports  leagues  for  the  rights  to  broadcast
their
games. The guaranteed mass viewing of major sports events means advertisers
     will  pay  networks  a  lot  of  money  to  sponsor  the  program  with
announcements
for their products. Advertisers for beer, cars, and men's products are  glad
of
the opportunity to push their goods to the predominantly male audience of
the big professional  sports.  Commercial  businesses  enjoy  the  publicity
which
 brings in sales. The networks  are  glad  to  fill  up  program  hours  and
attract
 audiences who might perhaps become regular viewers of-other programs
 produced by  those  networks,  and  the  major  sports  leagues  enjoy  the
millions
of dollars the networks pay for the  broad-casting  rights  contracts.  Many
sports
 get half of their revenues from  the  networks.  National  Football  League
(NFL)
  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.

                             PROFESSIONAL SPORTS

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

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.

                  STUDENT ATHLETES AND ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE

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.


                                   WINNING

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
business.

                      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
stadium?
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

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
return.
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
there.
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.

                                 BASKETBALL

      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
enjoy.
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.
                                   Sources

America in Close up

http://www.students.ru
http://www.yahoo.com
-----------------------
                        Krasnoyarsk State University
                                Law Faculty
                         Comparative Law Department



                                   Report


                              Sports in the USA



                                                       Done by: Popov Dmitry
                                                                      Law 17



                              Krasnoyarsk 2002





"Sports in the USA"