History of Modern Sports

1040 Words Nov 6th, 2011 5 Pages
The period of 1865 to 1950 was critical to the formation of “Modern” sport that is recognized today. In an article by Allen Guttmann titled From Ritual to Record: the nature of modern sport, Guttmann outlines seven characteristics that played a central role in the development of sports. These concepts were created as a sociological history of sports and took into place both American and European competitions. Guttmann’s notions of secularism, rationalization, bureaucracy and quantification, among others, all advanced the culture of sports; yet the most important of the stated characteristics is equality. Equality in modern sports can be broken down into two meanings as defined by Guttmann, first that “everyone should, theoretically, have …show more content…
Perhaps Johnson’s most famous title defense was against former heavyweight champion Jim Jeffries in 1910. Jeffries had been retired for six years and had refused to fight Johnson before Jeffries retirement. The battle was labeled the “Fight of the Century” with a crowd of over 20,000 in attendance. Johnson’s eventual victory in the 15th round led to riots throughout the country as the last of the “Great White Hopes” had failed to salvage the title. The establishment of a colored heavyweight champion in boxing is much like the formation of the Negro league in baseball. The country would tolerate a stage on which African Americans could compete, as long as it did not challenge the superiority of the white athlete. Baseball and boxing are also similar in that both of their bans on African American participants were unwritten, thus explaining why the theoretical color barrier in boxing was broken first. It only required one person, the current champion, to allow a black man to fight for the title, whereas in baseball owners would be subject to the criticism of all the other owners in the league. Therefore, no owner wanted to be the first to integrate and break the unwritten agreement. The institution of fair and open competition supersedes all of the other characteristics defined by Guttmann of what comprises a sport. Without a level playing field the game is not truly a sport. Furthermore, without allowing
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