in the American Sport Scene
Thomas A. Tutko
San Jose State University
The growing significance of athletics in this country has reached staggering proportions. Attendance figures at athletic contests reach new highs, leagues are expanding with franchises in every corner of the country, new leagues are formed and although some fail, surviving teams from bankrupt leagues join the old and established groups. Sports previously thought to be foreign, such as soccer, are slowly but surely becoming part of the American scene.
These are not the only signs of the growing prominence of athletics. Within each major sport, the seasons have grown longer and there are more "exhibition" games than ever before. In professional football, for example, training camp begins in July and the final game, the Super Bowl, is in January; the season lasts a period of 7 months. Professional basketball begins in September and the final play-off games continue as long as June, a remarkable period of 10 months. There are periods during the year when professional baseball, football, basketball, and hockey are being played simultaneously. This is not to mention golf, tennis, and several other sports also being played at the same time.
A true sports fan can spend every hour of the waking day keeping track of the various teams and the thousands of athletes involved. At the same time this craze is taking place in professional athletics, it is being matched, if not superseded, by the fanaticism on the college level. The collegiate system is so close to the professionals that the average person can barely determine the difference between the two.