U.S. Culture — страница 9

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States, along with its companion cosmetics industry, grew enormously in the second half of the 20th century and became a major source of competition for French fashion. Especially notable during the late 20th century was the incorporation of sports logos and styles, from athletic shoes to tennis shirts and baseball caps, into standard American wardrobes. American informality is enshrined in the wardrobes created by world-famous U.S. designers such as Calvin Klein, Liz Claiborne, and Ralph Lauren. Lauren especially adopted the American look, based in part on the tradition of the old West (cowboy hats, boots, and jeans) and in part on the clean-cut sportiness of suburban style (blazers, loafers, and khakis). Sports and Recreation Large numbers of Americans watch and participate in

sports activities, which are a deeply ingrained part of American life. Americans use sports to express interest in health and fitness and to occupy their leisure time. Sports also allow Americans to connect and identify with mass culture. Americans pour billions of dollars into sports and their related enterprises, affecting the economy, family habits, school life, and clothing styles. Americans of all classes, races, sexes, and ages participate in sports activities—from toddlers in infant swimming groups and teenagers participating in school athletics to middle-aged adults bowling or golfing and older persons practicing t’ai chi. Public subsidies and private sponsorships support the immense network of outdoor and indoor sports, recreation, and athletic competitions. Except

for those sponsored by public schools, most sports activities are privately funded, and even American Olympic athletes receive no direct national sponsorship. Little League baseball teams, for example, are usually sponsored by local businesses. Many commercial football, basketball, baseball, and hockey teams reflect large private investments. Although sports teams are privately owned, they play in stadiums that are usually financed by taxpayer-provided subsidies such as bond measures. State taxes provide some money for state university sporting events. Taxpayer dollars also support state parks, the National Park Service, and the Forest Service, which provide places for Americans to enjoy camping, fishing, hiking, and rafting. Public money also funds the Coast Guard, whose crews

protect those enjoying boating around the nation's shores. Sports in North America go back to the Native Americans, who played forms of lacrosse and field hockey. During colonial times, early Dutch settlers bowled on New York City's Bowling Green, still a small park in southern Manhattan. However, organized sports competitions and local participatory sports on a substantial scale go back only to the late 19th century. Schools and colleges began to encourage athletics as part of a balanced program emphasizing physical as well as mental vigor, and churches began to loosen strictures against leisure and physical pleasures. As work became more mechanized, more clerical, and less physical during the late 19th century, Americans became concerned with diet and exercise. With sedentary

urban activities replacing rural life, Americans used sports and outdoor relaxation to balance lives that had become hurried and confined. Biking, tennis, and golf became popular for those who could afford them, while sandlot baseball and an early version of basketball became popular city activities. At the same time, organizations such as the Boy Scouts and the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) began to sponsor sports as part of their efforts to counteract unruly behavior among young people. Baseball teams developed in Eastern cities during the 1850s and spread to the rest of the nation during the Civil War in the 1860s. Baseball quickly became the national pastime and began to produce sports heroes such as Cy Young, Ty Cobb, and Babe Ruth in the first half of the 20th

century. With its city-based loyalties and all-American aura, baseball appealed to many immigrants, who as players and fans used the game as a way to fit into American culture. Starting in the latter part of the 19th century, football was played on college campuses, and intercollegiate games quickly followed. By the early 20th century, football had become a feature of college life across the nation. In the 1920s football pep rallies were commonly held on college campuses, and football players were among the most admired campus leaders. That enthusiasm has now spilled way beyond college to Americans throughout the country. Spectators also watch the professional football teams of the National Football League (NFL) with enthusiasm. Basketball is another sport that is very popular as