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Paul Sparks - Online English Lesson Plans, Lesson Material and Ideas for "Culture of English Speaking Countries Lessons" for Xiangtan Normal University...




American Sport


Source of information: , and 


SPORT IN AMERICA: Sport plays a big part in American life. Although many people do not take part in sport, they do watch sport either on television or at a sports stadium. College students are normally required to take part in sports events as part of their education. A report in 1996 showed that over 60% of American adults do no regular sport, exercise or fitness.

BASEBALL:The first professional Baseball League began in 1871. By the beginning of the 20th century, most large cities in the eastern United States had a professional baseball team. The teams were divided into two leagues, the National and American, today the leagues are now subdivided. The American and National leagues are now known as "Major League Baseball" and at the end of the season the best 4 teams from each league go forward to the "World Series". The World Series winners are known as the World Champions.

Baseball is played mainly by men and has been an Olympic sport since 1992. Baseball became very popular in the 1920s, when a famous player, "Babe Ruth" (1895-1948) led the New York Yankees to several World Series titles and became a national hero on the strength of his home runs (balls that cannot be played because they have been hit out of the field).

In the 1950s, baseball expanded its geographical range. Until the 1970s, because of strict contracts, the owners of baseball teams also virtually owned the players; since then, the rules have changed so that players are free, within certain limits, to sell their services to any team. The results have been bidding wars and stars who are paid millions of dollars a year. Disputes between the players' union and the owners have at times halted baseball for months at a time. If baseball is both a sport and a business, late in the 20th century many disgruntled fans view the business side as the dominant one. 

Baseball became popular in Japan after American soldiers introduced it during the occupation following World War II. In the 1990s a Japanese player, Hideo Nomo, became a star pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Baseball is also widely played in Cuba and other Caribbean nations.


BASKETBALL: Now played by more than 250 million people worldwide in organized events, and now America's most popular indoor sport, basketball originated in 1891 when a future Presbyterian minister named James Naismith (1861-1939) was assigned to teach a physical education class at a Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) training school in Springfield, Massachusetts. The class had been noted for being disorderly, and Naismith was told to invent a new game to keep the young men occupied. Since it was winter and very cold outside, a game that could be played indoors was desirable. 

The first professional basketball league was formed in 1898; players earned $2.50 for home games, $1.25 for games on the road. Not quite 100 years later, Juwan Howard, a star player for the Washington Bullets (now called the Washington Wizards), had competing offers of more than $100 million over seven seasons from the Bullets and the Miami Heat. 

AMERICAN FOOTBALL: American Football is a major sport in America, normally just called "football" within America, but called "American football" elsewhere. "The National Football League" (NFL) has 30 professional teams. The biggest event in American Football is the "Super Bowl"




OTHER SPORTS: There are many other popular sports in America, including Tennis, Swimming, Athletics, Volleyball, Golf, Boxing etc. One sport which has become increasingly popular is Ice Hockey.



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