Sport and recreation in the United States — страница 15

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recreation in the successful rehabilitation of individuals with disabilities. When first faced with the reality of a disability, many experience a loss of confidence, depression, and believe their lives have ended. They are often alienated from family and friends because there are no shared positive experiences. Sports and recreation offers the opportunity to achieve success in a very short time period; to use this success to build self-confidence and focus on possibilities instead of dwelling on what can no longer be done. The ability to participate in a sport, such as cycling; skiing; and sailing, to name a few, provides the opportunity to reunite with family and friends in a shared activity. As an extension of the rehabilitation process, Disabled Sports USA offers competitive

programs in summer and winter sports. Competition improves sports skills. It allows individuals to experience the excitement of competition and the thrill of victory, as well as the agony of defeat. These experiences help prepare individuals after rehabilitation to face the adversity of a disability in their lives and to learn to bounce back in the face of challenge and change. As a member of the United States Olympic Committee, DS/USA sanctions and conducts competitions and training camps to prepare and select athletes to represent the United States at the Summer and Winter Paralympic Games. The Paralympic Games are the Olympic equivalent competitions for individuals with disabilities and are recognized by the International Olympic Committee. For those who want to achieve their

highest potential, opportunities are available for national and international competitions in alpine and Nordic skiing, track and field, volleyball, swimming, cycling, powerlifting, and other sports. The highest achieving athletes in each sport can qualify for the Paralympics [12,]. Women in sports Women's sport in the United States, which has a population of 268 million, reaches far beyond its borders and has had an enormous influence on women's sport around the world. Two sports that originated in the United States, basketball and volleyball, are now among the world's most popular sports. In addition, the United States has become a major training center for athletes from many nations and Title IX, the 1972 U.S. legislation that has been credited with

encouraging much of the growth in women's sports in the United States, has also helped to influence thinking about women's sports elsewhere in the world. U.S. companies are also major producers of sports equipment and clothing. Women's experiences in the sporting life of the United States defy neat historical generalizations. In part this is because women never constituted a single group, and their behaviors and attitudes never conformed to a single general pattern. Women's roles also varied across time, connected as they were to the broader ideological and economic contexts. Sometimes women were active participants (in the modern sense) in a sport, while at other times they were behind-the-scenes producers or promoters. Occasionally as well, women were consumers of sports, or

spectators, and there were times when perceptions of women's physical and moral "natures, affected sporting values, codes of conduct, rules, and even whether an activity was a sport or not. Indeed, the perceptions of women as the "weaker sex" helps to account for both the designation of bowling as an "amusement" when women engaged in it in the nineteenth century and the development of the divided court in basketball. Even today fans and the press persist in requiring basketball to be preceded by "women's." Women play women's basketball, while men simply play basketball [13, ]. Women and traditional sports and games Women were far more visible in American sporting life across time than the portraits of them in many

histories would suggest, and for no period is this statement more true than in the years before the mid-18th century. About 1600, before Europeans colonized the land that would become the United States, the earliest American sportswomen were Native Americans whose style of life must be characterized as a traditional one in which sports and other displays of physical prowess were embedded in the rhythms and relations of ordinary life. Religious ceremonies, for example, called on women, and men, to dance for hours at a time, while rites of passage from maidenhood to womanhood included physical displays and tests. Ball games occurred in the context of women's daily tasks, and the outcomes could affect one's place in the family or the village. Even equipment and items for wagering,