A sport is an activity that keeps us physically engrossed along with nurturing ones physical skills while deriving a source of recreation for both the players and the spectators back in the gallery. If you ever happen to look at the medal tally of the Olympics, then one country that undoubtedly has carved out the top slot for itself is USA. Sports organizations in the country strive to work towards excellence and inculcate the spirit of competitiveness and sporting culture. Heavy emphasis is laid on engrossing students in one sport or the other right from the school level. The Americans play a wide variety of sports, both individual ones and those that need the cooperation of a team. With the advent of media houses, watching sports has become a common domain of pastime for many across the country. Be it Michael Phelps breaking records upon records, or Lance Armstrong blazing along the roads, a tennis grand slam or the Olympics, people flock in large numbers to watch the players sweat it out thus displaying their skill and uplifting the status of the game while ensuring fair play. The Americans are one of the top Olympic medal achievers in the world and it is worth looking into the variety of sports they play and are broadcast all over the world.
Although in terms of media broadcasting and public viewership, soccer is not a very popular sport in the U.S as in Europe, it still enjoys a high amount of participation at the college and university level competitions and championships. It is a team sport and statistics has it that nearly 13 million people in the states play soccer as a sport of their interest. Both men and women show equal enthusiasm in participating in all major events although the Men’s team showed more success in the World Cups. Some well-known American Soccer players are Kyle Rote and Shep Messing who found a place in the National Soccer Hall of Fame.
Another common team sport, Volley ball sees a lot of participation from the student community in all sports fests and Inter-college competitions. Though both men and women take part, there is a lot of hype and supported sponsorship for the women’s version of the game. Volleyball competitions among women is a common sight in all national championships. Also volleyball is one of the favourite pastimes of Americans, especially at beaches where it’s called Beach Volley. Karch Kiraly and Logan Tom are among the notable volleyball players of USA.
8. Pro wrestling
Pro wrestling or simply wrestling is the short form of professional wrestling. This sport has garnered popularity among the masses since the 19th century. Although it appears like a combat sport with high risks, the game has pre –arranged outcomes in-order to excite the entertainment level of the game. The individual contenders have a word of mutual cooperation before they virtually attack each other while still maintaining sport ethics. The WWE today is an entertainment industry that capitalises millions of dollars due to the hype and craze that has brought this game of mimic, theatre and perfect execution to public acceptance.
7. Ice Hockey
The National Hockey League (NHL) is one of the four major sport leagues of America. Ice Hockey has increasingly become popular in America after the 1980 Winter Olympics when the American team went on to win gold thus claiming a “Miracle on Ice”. Ice Hockey basically originated in Canada and is among the other team sports that see huge crowds cheering up the teams. It was played in Midwest and Northeast America due to cold climate that facilitated natural open ice hockey grounds for people to play on. However, thanks to its popularity, its even played in closed artificial grounds that attract large number of spectators during fiercely fought professional matches. Chris Chelios and Michael Thomas are some famous ice hockey players who were also influential in popularizing the game among the public.
Who perhaps is unaware of the name “Tiger Woods”? Golf is one of the most followed and played sports in America. Its an individual sport that requires exceptional skills in accurately estimating the grip and power of each shot. Due to its popularity and gentle approach, the game is even famous among gentlemen and top professionals. With more than 17,000 golf courses, it is not hard to say the reach of this sport that speaks volumes of its popularity. The men’s major championships comprises of The Masters, The US Open, The British Open and PGA championships.
Probably, one of the most popular sports in the world, Tennis occupies a unique position in the hearts for Americans with famous players like the William sisters and Andy Roddick bringing fame to the country. The US Open Grand Slam is one of the most hardcore Tennis championships followed by the people. Tennis has both singles and doubles events. The Bryan brothers are the leaders of the doubles event in the world pouring in several accolades. The United States Tennis Association (USTA) is the governing body of tennis in USA and is dedicated towards the promotion of Tennis in the country.
4. Motor racing
Motor sports are a craze among the local population as is evident from the numerous national and regional motor racing championships. Sports car racing and motor cycle racing are the two mainstream racing categories that act as a powerful magnet in attracting widespread media attention and spectators. The high speed racing with close encounters and uncertain terrains combined with risky driving conditions is thrilling to watch. One of the internationally reputed racing tracks is the Indianapolis Motor speedway. Although the popularity of world championships like MotoGP and F1 are still on a low compared to other nations, the number of local competitions by far outnumber the reach and publicity these international tournaments have in the USA. Drag racing is another kind of eye-catching motorsport.
A game that has transcended public expectations is the Basketball, invented by James Naismith in 1891. He was a physical education teacher. Ever since the game has witnessed a staggering increase in the number of national players registered across the country and local competitions held at every nook and cranny. The National Basketball Association (NBA) is the premier major basketball league in the world that sees 30 teams battling a season comprising 82 games from October to June. These are high range nail biting games with people glued to their TV sets all across the country. The Championships attract immense viewership. Some famous players are Wilt Chamberlain , Bill Russell, Bob Pettit, etc. Even the schools and colleges have interesting and widely followed inter-collegiate competitions for which they are extensively trained. The first row seats of a professional basketball game sees a mad rush of occupancy and is a testimony of its grandeur.
Perhaps, another of the sports that appeals to a large category of people is the baseball, one of the oldest games that has evolved to earn such wide fame and recognition. Once upon a time, it was considered the ‘national pastime’ of USA. It was in the latter half of the 19th century, that this team sport turned into a professional game. One of the legendary icons of the game is Babe Ruth who altered the very nature of the game. However, the first half of the 20th century saw the game declining in public’s eyes, thanks to World War II and the increasing acceptance and acclaim of football and the rise of television that telecast many a programs. Walter Johnson and Ted Williams are some other great players of this game.
Apparently, a game that has the maximum reach among the American populace, this game is consistently ranked the No: 1 sport of the country. There are teams representing local schools, colleges and other associations with several accolades for the winning team. This is one sport that people connect with and identify themselves with. Steve Young and Jerry rice are among the best the game has ever seen. The game requires strength and coordination equally distributed among the members of the team. A variant of rugby, American football was developed by Walter Camp in the mid nineteenth century. The Super Bowl is the annual football competition where teams gather to seek the winner of the National Football League.