Sport and Society

Race

There is undoubtedly a wide gap between white people and black people involvement in certain games or sports. As evident by recent study conducted by the U.S. swimming Association, nearly 31 per cent of white children between the ages of 6 and 16 cannot swim, in comparison to 60 per cent of African-American children who cannot swim (Baker, Cunningham & Zhang 2010).

Most studies havefound that African-American athletics are more physically suited than white-American athletics in sports or activities that required power and speed (Dawkins 2004).

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On the other hand, white-American athletics have been found to perform better in short distance races as compared to African-American athletics. Additionally, most African-Americans participate in basketball and football because these sports are seen to have most opportunities for athletics to excel in life (Dawkins 2004).

As evident in a study conducted in 1999 by the University of Arizona, the finding of the study shows that stereotype about racial inferiority and superiority in certain sports or games have been so entrenched in people’s minds that they have an effect not only which games or sports people participate in but also their performance in those games or sports (Baker, Cunningham & Zhang 2010).

Fan Identification

Study on sport fans has confirmed a positive relationship between self esteem and fan identification. There are interesting aspects on the level of degree of affiliation and involvement with sport team among the fans (Kennedy 2010).

Study suggests that fans are involved with their favorite team in many ways, including displaying bumper stickers on their vehicles, wearing team apparel, and celebratory behaviors that range from utterly destructive to fairly passive (e.g. cheering). Some fans have low level of involvement with their teams, while others have been found to have psychological attachment to their favorite teams or sports (Jeh 2010).

There are many reasons why fans decide to be identified with a particular sport or team. In fact the level of attachment to a particular team or sport range from extremely strong to quite weak. As evident is a study which identified why fans identify themselves with a particular sport or team. The results showed a number of reasons, including talent of the team player, parental interest in a team or sport, success of the team, geography and the influence of peers or friends (Jeh 2010).

Gender

Most sports are associated with men (or masculinity). In many societies, some sports have been considered inappropriate for women to participate in, and women who participate in these sports are perceived to be ‘tomboy’ or masculine (Guest & Cox 2009). In contrast, men who do not support or participate in certain sports may be labeled as weak or ‘unmanly’ (Hyatt 2007). Both men and women tend to participate in different types of sports or physical activity and their attitudes toward certain games or sports may be different.

Some sports or games have many barriers that prevent women to participate in them (Hyatt 2007), such as lack of appropriate sport facilities and safety, technical support, and lack of skills resources about specific sports. Furthermore, most women (specifically mothers) are faced with additional physical barriers or constraints that including lack of childcare facilities, and lack of time.

Sometimes women are exposed to verbal sexual harassment and/or physical harassment as well as other dangers due to their participation in games or sports programs, because of time of day and location (Kennedy 2010). Lastly, lack of a female role model in certain sports such as women coaches or leaders may have a negative impact in women who want to participate in certain sports (Guest & Cox 2009).

References

Baker III, T. A., Cunningham, D. P., & Zhang, J. J. (2010). An examination of immunity statutes regarding the liability of recreational youth sport organizations for the pedophilic actions of coaches, administrators, and officials. Journal of Research, 5(1), 54-59.

Dawkins, M. P. (2004). Race relations and the sport of golf: The African-American golf legacy. The Western Journal of Black Studies, 28(1), 327-331.

Guest, A. M., & Cox, S. (2009). Using Athletes as role models? Conceptual and Empirical Perspectives from a sample of elite women soccer players. International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching, 4(4), 567-581.

Hyatt, C. G. (2007). Who do I root for now? The impact of franchise relocation on the loyal fans left behind: A case study of Hartford Whalers fans. Journal of Sport Behavior, 30(1), 36-56.

Jeh, M. (2010). To be or not to be: Expectations of elite sports leaders as role models. Active & Healthy Magazine, 17(1), 19-20.

Kennedy, C. L. (2010). A new frontier for women’s sports (beyond Title IX). Gender Issues, 27, 78-90.

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