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Chapter 1

APA 2302 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1: Jai Alai, Ladylike, Bear-Baiting

Human Kinetics
Course Code
APA 2302
N/ A

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Reading 1 – A Look at the Past: Does it help us understand sports today?
History of sport would look at the development and organization of physical activities and games
across all continents from each cultural group over time.
The material will focus on:
1. The Ancient Greeks
2. The Roman Empire
3. The Middle Ages in parts of Europe
4. The Renaissance through the Enlightenment in parts of Europe
5. The Industrial Revolution emphasizing the USA
Our understanding of sports depends on what we know about the social lives of the people who
created, defined, played and integrated them into their everyday experiences.
Most important piece of information = what sport activities tell us about relationships between
various groups at particular times/places.
Words that describe history moving forwards and improving:
-traditional or modern
-primitive or civilized
-underdeveloped or developed
-preindustrial or industrial
-modern and developed
-linear and progressive
*This makes some people feel superior as they deem themselves more modern, civilized and
developed people in history
History of sport is not progressive but instead a product of cultural experiences. Sports were shaped
due to:
-struggles over organization
-purpose of activities
-who should play them
-how they should be integrated into peoples lives
Gruneau (1988)  to say sports have evolved to fit a pattern of progress is to distort the life
experiences of people all over the world
Maguire (1999)  Sports are different today but it does not mean they are evolving to fit a grand
scheme of how sports SHOULD BE.
Importance of global power relations in sports  the process through which new events are added to
the Olympic Games. New events are added due to interest of groups that can influence the IOC
(sponsors, media, wealthy)
This is why games from Africa, Latin America and Asia are rarely included
Progressive things do happen but it is because people have MADE them happen at a particular time –
so progress is temporary.
Sports Vary by Time & Place
-physical activity is a part of ritual life
-few cultures have games that are characterized by:
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oformal organization
orule-governed competition
orecord keeping
Pre-historic era
-physical activity tied to challenge of survival & expression of religious beliefs
-Gutmann (1978)  religious games were seen as worship and more done because of
religious necessity not physical ability
First forms of organized games emerged from:
1. PHYSICAL challenges
2. RELIGIOUS rituals
These games were connected with:
-social structures
-social relations
-belief systems of society
-recreated & reaffirmed cultural practices
-sources of protest or opposition
Not everyone has a say in how sports are defined and organized. The people with the most power
have the greatest impact on how sports are defined, organized and played in that society. Represent
the interest of the powerful
Critical theory of sport history = Social inequality  wealth, political power, social status, gender, age,
race and ethnicity
Contests and Games in Ancient Greece (1000 BC to 100 BC)
-games were grounded in mythology and religious beliefs
-games held with festivals
-competitors in these games came from wealthy Greek families
-events based on interest of young males
-games  warrior sports, chariot racing, wrestling, boxing, javelin, discus throwing, foot
racing, archery, long jumping
-very common to have violence and injuries
-women, children and elderly sometimes played sports at festivals but NEVER allowed to
compete or watch the Olympics
-locations and dates linked to religious beliefs (ex. Olympia is a place where Greek gods were
-women held their own games at Olympia dedicated to goddess Hera, the sister-wife of Zeus
and grew from Greek fertility rites
-Heraean Games predated male Olympic Games
-Women in sports were questioned about their sexuality as strong women were not the
definition of heterosexual females back then
-Discrimination against women rooted in patriarchal family structure where women had no
legal rights
-Slaves were forced to become athletes by wealthy groups, and victories gave them cash,
living subsidies
-Baker (1988)  During 2nd century BC athletes organized guilds for rights & security
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find more resources at oneclass.com
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