Some may say that sport is not important enough to be described as part of a nation’s culture and heritage. Still, it is certainly a question for debate. At its most basic, culture may be seen to be an artistic endeavor or something of historical note. However, if the subject is an immensely popular one, draws people together and reflects a country’s interests, then surely that is a definition of culture?
There are many international sporting events which bring together a nation in a rush of patriotic pride. US fans are known to be particularly passionate about their football, baseball and basketball, and follow their teams all over the world. Sport is undoubtedly appreciated for its own sake and has a distinguished history. Think of the Olympic Games, now a worldwide event, yet it had humble beginnings as part of Greece’s culture.
Sports Culture in the USA
The top four sports in the USA are the National Hockey League, the Major League Baseball, the National Football League, and the National Basketball Association . What values do playing and watching these sports bring to American society? Teamwork is the most obvious, followed by a sense of fair play. Playing as a team encourages racial integration, which is an essential aspect of a country’s culture. Spectator sports bring fans together of all gender, races and religions.
So, if culture is said to be part of human behavior, a shared interest which brings people together, then sport certainly ticks all the right boxes. Sports stories are passed from one generation to the next, with tales of bravery which live long in the memory. Who can forget such as American heroes as Michael Phelps, Mark Spitz and Carl Lewis? They are ingrained in the sports culture of the USA and play no lesser part than great works of art.