How Children Become Involved in Sports.

Essay by CwallkinfellaUniversity, Bachelor's October 2003

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As a common cultural bond linking children together, sports bring thrills and exhilaration, enrich and make lives fuller. Many American values suggest that participation in a variety of sports and exercises at a young age is also important to acquire the necessary skills and experience to maintain regular exercise throughout life (Coakley, 2001). According to Coakley, "Sports help children develop physical skills, get exercise, make friends, have fun, learn to play as a member of a team, learn to play fair, and improve self-esteem" (2001, pg.110). American sports culture has increasingly become a money making business. There are many different reasons how children become attracted to sports, and it only takes one for one to become involved (Coakley, 2001).

During the latter half of the nineteenth century, people in Europe, and North America began to realize that the social environment influences the character and behavior of children. This encouraged many people to try to control children's' environment as much as possible and to organize their lives (Coakley, 2001).

Coakley also states that "The common understanding during this time period is that boys and girls would develop into productive adults in rapidly expanding capitalist economics" (2001, pg.288). It wasn't long before sport activities were organized for young boys in school, playgrounds, and church groups. The organizers hoped that sport, especially team sports, would teach boys from working-class families how to cooperate and work together (Coakley, 2001).

Availability is always an issue when a child wants to get involved in certain sporting activities. In all societies, social class and class relations influence who plays, who watches, who consumes information about sports, and what information is available in the mainstream media (Coakley, 2001). Involvement with sports goes hand in hand with money, power, and privilege (Coakley, 2001). Organized sports are a luxury item...