Sports & Recreation
Physical contests and recreational games have long played a part in human society. In both team and solo sports, the human body has been pushed to its limits in the name of improving athletic performance and in order to break record upon record. The ancient Olympic Games are an early example of the contests in which humans have engaged to showcase physical prowess. In modern times, sports and games have evolved into a lucrative and competitive industry, while other leisure activities, such as card and video games, can be competitive or just serve as a way to unwind or socialize.
Featured content, May 16, 2022
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Although baseball has traditionally been seen as America’s national pastime, gridiron football has made its own indelible impact on the American sports landscape. Decades of informal, student-organized collegiate games ultimately gave rise to a thriving college football scene and to the hugely popular professional version of the game. Despite early and continued concerns about the game’s violence, gridiron football eventually became the United States’ leading spectator sport, and it has achieved a degree of international popularity through television.
Although the United States can be credited with developing several popular sports that were adopted internationally, it is baseball that Americans have traditionally recognized as the “national pastime.” Baseball’s early history was interwoven with and reflective of major social and cultural cleavages, but the sport also proved to possess great unifying power, as the experience of playing, watching, and talking about baseball became one of the nation’s great common denominators. Additionally, we have baseball to thank (or point fingers at) for the continued status of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” as one of the best-known songs among Americans.
Basketball, game played between two teams of five players each on a rectangular court, usually indoors. Each team tries to score by tossing the ball through the opponent’s goal, an elevated horizontal hoop and net called a basket.
Ice hockey, game between two teams, each usually having six players, who wear skates and compete on an ice rink. The object is to propel a vulcanized rubber disk, the puck, past a goal line and into a net guarded by a goaltender, or goalie. With its speed and its frequent physical contact, ice hockey has become one of the most popular of international sports.
Football, also called association football or soccer, game in which two teams of 11 players, using any part of their bodies except their hands and arms, try to maneuver the ball into the opposing team’s goal. Only the goalkeeper is permitted to handle the ball and may do so only within the penalty area surrounding the goal. The team that scores more goals wins.
Olympic Games, athletic festival that originated in ancient Greece and was revived in the late 19th century. Before the 1970s the Games were officially limited to competitors with amateur status, but in the 1980s many events were opened to professional athletes. Currently, the Games are open to all, even the top professional athletes in basketball and football (soccer).
Games, Hobbies & Recreational Activities
This general category includes a selection of more specific topics.