Chapter 4

The Globalization of Sport

Modern sports spread throughout the world from the West as a result of individual enthusiasm, Christian missionary work, sport governing groups, military occupation, and the Olympic Games. These elements make up the main topics of this chapter. Sports were a part of the cultural baggage carried by Westerners abroad in their quest for empire, trade, and influence. Their ideas about sports were transferred both with deliberation and by casual circumstance to others who adapted and emulated the habits of the foreigners. It was not all one-way, and some sports such as polo and judo, after acquiring the attributes of modern Western sports, found their way into the global sports network.

There has been a high degree of standardization because as the nineteenth century sports groups discovered, if there was to be fair competition between teams, schools, individuals, or nations there must be an agreement about rules. Thus, international governing bodies with their bureaucracies, ambitions, records, regulations, and championships arose to enforce the same rules for everyone. And consequently, homogenization occurred. By far the most important organization has been the International Olympic Committee which projected global modern sports for the Olympic Games. With the agreements to conform on such items as standard distances in events, legal moves, length of contests, and acceptable equipment came also the hope for equality for all competitors. That has been the great promise of international sport.


Enthusiasts and baseball

After Alexander Cartwright established baseball in New York City in 1845 he moved to Hawaii in 1849. As the "New York Game" caught hold in the United States Cartwright in 1852 enthusiastically laid out a diamond and proceeded to teach the islanders to play the game. In 1873, advocate Horace Wilson, an American teacher at Tokyo University, demonstrated baseball to his students, and in 1882 Hiroshi Hiraoka, a Japanese engineer who

-63-

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Sports in World History
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • Chapter 1 - Introduction 1
  • Chapter 2 - The Athletic Imperative and the Reasons for Sport 9
  • Chapter 3 - The Emergence of Modern Sports 31
  • Chapter 4 - The Globalization of Sport 63
  • Chapter 5 - The Significance of Global Sports 91
  • Index 119
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