Discussion: American Culture and Sports
The role of sports in Americanizing immigrants has been written about extensively by historians and journalists. Professional boxing and baseball, both of which achieved heightened popularity at the dawn of the twentieth century, became important vehicles by which waves of immigrants marked their progress in American society. Historians have continued to argue that the United States has used sports as a way to “Americanize” immigrants. Why do you think sports are an effective way of integrating immigrants to American culture? Which sports do you think are the most American? Are there any other ways in which sports provide cultural value?
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link to the book
American Culture and Sports
According to the Pew Research Center, more than 40 million people living in the United States were born in a foreign country, (“Pew Research Center”). Some of them moved out of choice while others moved out of necessity. While being here in a foreign country, I believe the effective way to integrate immigrants to American culture is through sports. This is because sports opportunities bring people together where they interact, get to know one another, share the food, learn and America’s way of life is advanced through sports. Children play sports, meet other kids of their age, and learn the tactics like teamwork, which help them later in life. Sports acts as a link and actually a universal language between immigrants and host communities. The Immigrants develop relations with other members of society through sports, (“Grisanti”).
Out of the many sports games played, I think American football, basketball, baseball and ice hockey are American most common sports. The football I mentioned above should not be confused with European football or soccer. I come from Kenya where soccer and athletics are the most common sports and I am not yet fully assimilated to these American sports. Super Bowl is the most watched sporting event in the United States drawing many people including immigrants to their TVs, to watch an event that is distinctly American.
Since sports are an important aspect of American society, I believe there are other ways in which sports provide a cultural value. This is because sports provide a platform for people to come together and support their country. For example, when the US team plays FIFA World Cup, all Americans including immigrants cheer the US team together. This promotes unity, and a sense of camaraderie is developed among people who are total strangers by virtue of rooting for the same team. A lot of children have sports champions as their role models and most of them participate in various sports to get scholarships. My question that kept coming on my mind when I was reading this topic is; Is there a government body that regulates sports and culture either in Texas or at federal level?
Grisanti, Emanuele. “Sport and the Integration of Immigrants.” 17 Dec. 2012, www.sportanddev.org/en/
Radford, Jynnah. “Key Findings about U.S. Immigrants.” Pew Research Center, 17 June 2019, www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/
American Culture and sports
I think sports are an effective way of integrating immigrants to American Culture because of the many sports that are also in other countries, such as soccer–Soccer is played in Mexico, but it is called fútbol. When you look at professional level sports teams, you see many players come from other countries. With teams being made up people from so many different cultures, you have set up a way for all of the players to learn about their other teammates cultures. My nephew plays on a baseball team with teammates from Mexico and a coach from Argentina. Because of this, he has learned the culture of Mexico and of Argentina. Not only bring people of different cultures together, sports also bring people together emotionally. You meet life-long friends through sports.
In my opinion, I think the sports that are most American would be baseball and football. I think baseball is American in the fact that a lot of people call baseball “America’s ballgame.” It is played all over America and so many Americans look forward to the start of baseball season each year. As well as football, many people eagerly await the start of football season and “Friday Night Lights” in Texas specifically. Football and Baseball are the two most popular sports, in my opinion as well.
I think that sports provide cultural value in more ways than the one I listed above. Take the Olympics, for example. The Olympic games are held in a different country each time, with competitors from all over the world, representing their country. Those who compete in the Olympic games are subject to experiencing the culture of whatever country they are competing in, and the cultures of their opponents.
My question is: Sports has always been a way of life in America, but that has obviously changed since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Do you think this pandemic will change this? Do you think the current situation will prevent worldwide sporting events out of fear of another pandemic?