Writing about cricket in particular, John Leech (2005a) has explained the role of "Puritan power, the "English Civil War, and "the Restoration of the monarchy in "England. The "Long Parliament in 1642 "banned theatres, which had met with Puritan disapproval. Although similar action would be taken against certain sports, it is not clear if cricket was in any way prohibited, except that players must not break the Sabbath". In 1660, "the Restoration of the monarchy in England was immediately followed by the reopening of the theatres and so any sanctions that had been imposed by the Puritans on cricket would also have been lifted." He goes on to make the key point that political, social and economic conditions in the aftermath of the Restoration encouraged excessive gambling, so much so that a Gambling Act was deemed necessary in 1664. It is certain that cricket, horse racing and boxing (i.e., prizefighting) were financed by gambling interests. Leech explains that it was the habit of cricket patrons, all of whom were gamblers, to form strong teams through the 18th century to represent their interests. He defines a strong team as one representative of more than one parish and he is certain that such teams were first assembled in or immediately after 1660. Prior to the English Civil War and the Commonwealth, all available evidence concludes that cricket had evolved to the level of "village cricket only where teams that are strictly representative of individual parishes compete. The "strong teams" of the post-Restoration mark the evolution of cricket (and, indeed of professional team sport, for cricket is the oldest professional team sport) from the parish standard to the county standard. This was the point of origin for major, or "first-class, cricket. The year 1660 also marks the origin of professional team sport.
A number of the "public schools such as "Winchester and "Eton, "introduced variants of football and other sports for their pupils. These were described at the time as "innocent and lawful", certainly in comparison with the rougher rural games. With urbanization in the 19th century, the rural games moved to the new urban centres and came under the influence of the middle and upper classes. The rules and regulations devised at English institutions began to be applied to the wider game, with governing bodies in England being set up for a number of sports by the end of the 19th century. The rising influence of the upper class also produced an emphasis on the amateur, and the spirit of ""fair play". The industrial revolution also brought with it increasing mobility, and created the opportunity for universities in Britain and elsewhere to compete with one another. This sparked increasing attempts to unify and reconcile various games in England, leading to the establishment of the Football Association in London, the first official governing body in football.
For sports to become professionalized, coaching had to come first. It gradually professionalized in the Victorian era and the role was well established by 1914. In the First World War, military units sought out the coaches to supervise physical conditioning and develop morale-building teams.
The British Empire and post-colonial sports
The influence of British sports and their codified rules began to spread across the world in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, particularly "association football. A number of major teams elsewhere in the world still show these British origins in their names, such as "AC Milan in Italy, "Grêmio Foot-Ball Porto Alegrense in Brazil, and "Athletic Bilbao in Spain. "Cricket became popular in several of the nations of the then British Empire, such as Australia, South Africa, India and Pakistan, and remain popular in and beyond today's "Commonwealth of Nations. The revival of the "Olympic Games by Baron "Pierre de Coubertin was also heavily influenced by the amateur ethos of the English public schools. The British played a major role in defining amateurism, professionalism, the tournament system and the concept of fair play. Some sports developed in England, spread to other countries and then lost its popularity in England while remaining actively played in other countries, a notable example being "bandy which remains popular in "Finland, "Kazakhstan, Norway, Russia, and Sweden.
Baseball (closely related to English "rounders and French "la soule, and less clearly connected to cricket) became established in the urban "Northeastern United States, with the first rules being codified in the 1840s, while American football was very popular in the "south-east, with baseball spreading to the south, and American football spreading to the north after the Civil War. In the 1870s the game split between the professionals and amateurs; the professional game rapidly gained dominance, and marked a shift in the focus from the player to the club. The rise of baseball also helped squeeze out other sports such as cricket, which had been popular in Philadelphia prior to the rise of baseball.
American football (and "gridiron football more generally) also has its origins in the English variants of the game, with the first set of intercollegiate football rules based directly on the rules of the Football Association in London. However, Harvard chose to play a game based on the rules of "Rugby football. "Walter Camp would then heavily modify this variant in the 1880s, with the modifications also heavily influencing the rules of "Canadian football.
World-wide, the British influence certainly includes many different football codes, lawn bowls, lawn tennis and other sports. The major impetus for this was the patenting of the world's first lawnmower in 1830. This allowed for the preparation of modern ovals, playing fields, pitches, grass courts, etc.
The 21st century has seen a move towards adventure sports as a form of individual "escapism, transcending the routines of life. Examples include "white water rafting, "paragliding, "canyoning, "base jumping and more genteelly, "orienteering.
Women's sport history
Women's competition in sports has been frowned upon by many societies in the past. The English public-school background of organised sport in the 19th and early 20th century led to a paternalism that tended to discourage women's involvement in sports, with, for example, no women officially competing in the 1896 Olympic Games. The 20th century saw major advances in the participation of women in sports, although women's participation as fans, administrators, officials, coaches, journalists, and athletes remains in general less than men's. The increase in girls’ and women’s’ participation in sport has been partly influenced by the "women's rights and "feminist movements of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, respectively. In the United States, female students’ participation in sports was significantly boosted by the "Title IX Act in 1972, which forbade gender discrimination in all aspects of any educational environment that uses federal financial aid, leading to increased funding  and support to develop female athletes.
Pressure from sports funding bodies has also improved gender equality in sports. For example, the "Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) and the "Leander Rowing Club in England had both been male-only establishments since their founding in 1787 and 1818, respectively, but both opened their doors to female members at the end of the 20th century at least partially due to the requirements of the "United Kingdom Lottery Sports Fund.
The 21st century has seen women’s participation in sport at its all-time highest. At the "2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, women competed in 27 sports over 137 events, compared to 28 men’s sports in 175 events. Several national "women's professional sports leagues have been founded and are in competition, and women’s international sporting events such as the "FIFA Women's World Cup, "Women's Rugby World Cup, and "Women's Hockey World Cup continue to grow.
Stadium through the ages
The "Olympia stadium
The Huntington Avenue Grounds during the "1903 World Series, United States
"Rogers Centre, the first functional retractable-roof stadium, Canada
"London Olympic Stadium, United Kingdom
The Grand Ballcourt of "Chichen Itza
- "Sport in the United Kingdom § History
- "Sport in England
- "History of sport in Australia
- "History of sports in Canada
- "History of sport in the United States
- "Nationalism and sport
- "Sociology of sport
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