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Native American Inflence On Sports Essay

980 words - 4 pages


Foundations of HPE 8:00

Native American Influence on Sport

Looking at today's sports it would be hard to guess that Native Americans had any type of influence on sports and recreation. The famous sports today make it hard to notice any type of culture mix other than a large debate about mascots. The larger and better known sports (football, baseball, basketball) all have hardly been influenced by Native Americans. Although, there are many ways the Native Americans have influenced recreaction we participate in and spectate today.

The little effect has usually come from elite athletes with a strong Native American background. Jim Thorpe was naturally athletic and excelled ...view middle of the document...

The largest debate is over high school teams and whether they should be able to keep their names due to this argument (Sport Experience,1999). The NCAA already banned schools from participating in the national tournament if their mascot is affiliated with Indian culture. There are some programs that try to help the cause, such as the Atlanta Braves pledging over one million dollars to support a campaign to educate people about Native American culture (Sport Experience, 1999).

One of the largest growing sports in the interscholastic world is lacrosse. It is also the sport that was most influenced by early Native Americans. Possibly invented by Native Americans, it has been known that early Europeans picked up on the game and participated in it(Vennum,2009).Lacrosse is a game used with a stick to carry a ball at the end of the stick where there is some kind of net. It is usually played on a field but records have shown Native Americans spreading the goals apart up to three miles. The time it took to play the game also varies dramatically; Native Americans recorded playing from sunrise to sunset. Old lacrosse games were taken extremely seriously including pre-game rituals, mental preparation, and very large spectating crowds. To start the game, a ball was tossed into the air as the two teams fought to retrieve it.(History of Lacrosse, 2011) Medicine men usually acted as a coaches and women brought water to the game for the players. Pre-game rituals were similar to preparation for war; players would paint their bodies and decorate their game sticks. The medicine man would do rituals on players and their equipment. Bets were well known to happen before the start of each game. Sometimes players would only wager knives or clothing but it they were also know to bet women and children (History, 2011). After a...

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