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Development Of Sports During The 19th Century

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If it was possible to travel a bit more than a century in the past most of the sports that we know and cherish today would not exist. Even the sports that were around, today we would have a hard time recognizing. The development of organized sports in the 19th century possessed an extensive role in constructing culture during the 19th century. This period for sports made the sports themselves along with the culture what it is today. This theme was heavily depicted in both American baseball and European football. From the beginning of the French revolution in 1789 variations of the two sports that were around, baseball and European Football were not yet even referred to by those names. There were many names that were used for the “dribbling” of a ball trying to score into a “goal” as well as ball and stick games as well as townball. Both of the games stayed as an entertaining pastime for quite some time, however, baseball was not officially developed until 1845. For the development of the Football Association (FA) on the other hand, it was not until 1863 that the first match was played. A considerable factor when thinking about organized sports is the industrial revolution. The industrial revolution brought many people to the city mostly for job opportunities this made it much easier for sports to form because of the concentration of people compared to the countrysides. Another aspect of the industrial revolution is labor, many workers enjoyed playing organized sports during leisure time. Increasing leisure time not only allowed workers to participate in sports but as well as spectate them. Schools also started to teach some sports as a subject.

The first time that baseball was talked about in the United States was in 1791 in the town of Pittsfield, Massachusetts when a regulation was passed that banned baseball from being played 80 yards from the town meeting house. In 1903 the British sportswriter Henry Chadwick published an article speculating that baseball derived from a British game called rounders. Baseball executive Albert Spalding disagreed. Baseball, said Spalding, was fundamentally an American sport and began on American soil. To settle the matter, the two men appointed a commission headed by Abraham Mills, the fourth president of the National League of Professional Baseball Clubs. The commission, which also included six other sports executives, labored for three years, after which it declared that Abner Doubleday invented the national pastime. During the time before baseball was officially organized, there were many variations of the game that depended on a couple of different factors such as the size of the field and the number of players. There were many mentions of a bat and ball game with bases that dated far before the start of baseball.

Folk football through the 18th and 19th centuries Was essentially a game for large numbers played over wide distances with goals that were as much as three miles apart, as at Ashbourne. At Whitehaven, the goals were a harbor wall and a wall outside the town. Matches in Derby involved about a thousand players. In all cases, the object of the exercise was to drive a ball of varying sizes and shapes, often a pig’s bladder, to a goal. Generally, the ball could be kicked, thrown, or even carried. It is believed there were some places at which only kicking was allowed. Whatever rules may have been agreed beforehand, there was no doubt all of folk football was extremely violent, even when relatively organized. One form of kicking that was common was ‘shining’, the term for kicking another player’s legs, and it was legal even if the ball was hundreds of yards away.

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The transformation of football from an English folk custom to global popular culture began in the 1800s. Football and other recreation clubs were founded in the United Kingdom to provide factory workers with organized recreation during leisure hours. Sports became a subject that was taught in school. Increasing leisure time permitted people not only to participate in sporting events but also to view them. Several British football clubs formed an association in 1863 to standardize the rules and to organize professional leagues. The organization of the sport into a formal structure in the United Kingdom marks the transition of football from folk to popular culture. The word soccer originated after 1863 when supporters of the game formed the Football Association. Association was shortened to assoc, which ultimately became twisted around into the word soccer. Beginning in the late 1800s, the British exported association football around the world, first to continental Europe and then to other countries. In the twentieth century, soccer, like other sports, was further diffused by new communication systems, especially radio and TV. On the evening of 26 October 1863, representatives of several football clubs in the Greater London area met at the Freemasons’ Tavern on Long Acre in Covent Garden. This was the first meeting of The Football Association (FA). It was the world’s first official football body and for this reason, is not preceded with the word English. The first meeting resulted in the issuing of a request for representatives of the public schools to join the association. With the exception of Thring at Uppingham, most schools declined. In total, six meetings of the FA were held between October and December 1863. Committee member J. F. Alcock, said: ‘The Cambridge Rules appear to be the most desirable for the Association to adopt.’

Baseball reporters opened up a new aspect of spectating the sport of baseball. Improved reporters helped turn the game of baseball from a pastime into it being more valuable to watch o read the victory compared to playing a mediocre version of the game. Gentlemen started to seek out exercise and comradery through other games. Winning turned into an intensified urge to win due to the reporters and the spectators. The first enclosed stadium was built in 1962 by William H. Cammeyer. He was one of the first to take advantage of the business opportunity that was baseball. This was the first field to include a clubhouse. Four years earlier 1,500 spectators bought tickets for the price of fifty cents apiece to watch the first game of the 1958 championship series for the national baseball title. The struggle for the national championship intensified the drama of luck and skill, to give the spectators an eager look to see how victory exploited both. Commercialization and the development of professionals went hand and hand. Baseball was instantaneously seen as a new expressway to fame and fame as well as wealth. Skilled players were sought after as well as premium clubs, money and gifts were used as an incentive. This act violated the association rule for players to be paid or bribed.

The development of organized sports during the 19th century played a large role in constructing the 19th century culture into what it was. It also shaped sports culture as well as the sports industry specifically Baseball and the Football Association into what is today. When the sports first started there were various versions of the game but not yet a game that was compatible with personal interest because it was only games that people played for a pastime. Once the game was developed people were able to learn the game with set rules and regulations. The national championship for baseball and the world cup for soccer really pulled in the interest of the spectators because they would route for ‘their team or their favorite players and turned spectators into real fans who shared a love for the game. Once sports were developed they gave working men and women in industrialized citys something to look forward to and take their mind off of the laborious work in factories and got leisure time when games took place as well as time to play it. These factors were seen by young entrapenors that saw the potential for homerun And initiated a multibillion-dollar industry that lead to the common sports of Baseball and European Football. The sports we know and love today could have never taken off if it weren’t for the development that took place in sports during the 19th century.

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Development Of Sports During The 19th Century. (2022, February 26). Edubirdie. Retrieved November 25, 2022, from
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