In the USA many sports and sports activities attract millions of active participants. One reason of the popularity of sport in America may be the variety and size of America, providing Americans with a large choice of summer and winter sports. In addition, public sports facilities have always been available in great number for participants. Another reason might be that Americans like competition, by teams or as individuals, of any type. Others point out that American schools and colleges follow the tradition of all English-speaking societies in using sports activities as a way of teaching “social values”.
In the USA much attention is given to organized sports. Hockey, football, baseball, basketball and volleyball are the five major sports.
Football is the most popular spectator sport. What makes football in the USA so different from its European cousins, rugby and soccer, is not just the size, speed and strength of its players. Rather, it is the most “scientific” of all outdoor team sports. Specific rules state what each player in each position may and may not do, and when. There are hundreds of possible “plays” for teams on offence and defence. Baseball is now in second place among the sports people most like to watch. Baseball is still very popular as an informal, neighbourhood sport.
Baseball and football have the reputation of being “typically American” team sports. This is ironic because the two most popular participant sports in the world today are indeed American in origin-basketball and volleyball. Both games were invented and first played at a YMCA in Massachusetts. Basketball was invented as a game that would fill empty period between the football season and the baseball season. Today, of course, both basketball and volleyball are played everywhere by men and women of all ages. They are especially popular as school sports. Professional and collegiate basketball games in the USA attract large numbers of fans. Most of the important games are televised live.
Sporting activities are a part of daily American life. There are many other sports and sports activities in America which attract millions of active participants. Among them are golf, swimming, tennis, marathon, track-and-field, bowling, archery, skiing, skating, squash and badminton, rowing and sailing, weight-lifting, boxing and wrestling. 45% of all Americans take part in some athletic activity once a day. Swimming, bicycling, fishing, Jogging, callisthenics or gymnastics, and bowling are American’s favourite participatory sports. Skating and tobogganing are wide-spread activities, too. Fishing and hunting are extremely popular in all parts of the country and have been since the days when they were necessary activities among the early settlers. As could be expected, all water sports and – activities are very popular, including diving, sailing, white-water canoeing, water-skiing.
There are also several sports in the US which were once thought of as being “strange”, but have now gained international popularity. Among these is skate-boarding, wind-surfing and triathlon.