Evolution Of Extreme Sports

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Evolution of Extreme Sports

Thesis Statement

The evolution of Extreme Sports in western culture has greatly helped foster creativity and innovation in people.


Asport commences on a very small provincial level. The early adopters participate in the games for the love of doing it. These early adopters furthermore propel all of the merchandise innovation and logistical sport innovation. New methods and techniques continue to develop over time and the games grows and grows.

Sports have been intertwined with American ideals of (and fears about) masculinity since achieving cultural prominence in the late nineteenth century. For much of the twentieth century, a “rough” model of sports masculinity prevailed, largely defined by forceful physical contact or hand-to-hand competition. Although this model remained powerful in the late twentieth and the early twenty-first centuries, it was challenged by critics because of its perceived hyper masculine excess. Such challenges both illustrated and influenced broadening concepts of American sports masculinity.

Discussion and Analysis

Masculinity and Organized Sports

Before the mid-nineteenth century, most white Americans defined manhood through work and spirituality, rather than through leisure activity and physical prowess, and mainstream American society generally considered game-playing incompatible with true manhood. Sports existed in recognizable forms, but they were not highly organized.

During the late nineteenth century, however, organized sports grew in America amid an increasing cultural emphasis on the physical aspects of manhood. (Brymer 450) As Darwinian theory encouraged Americans to equate life with physical struggle, and as industrialization and urbanization prompted concerns that the work of American men (particularly middle-class men) had become insufficiently vigorous, cultural spokespersons began emphasizing the importance of athletics to the moral and physical dimensions of healthy manhood. Advocates of “muscular Christianity” urged organized sports programs for American males, and proponents of a “strenuous life” ideal likewise encouraged men to pursue challenging outdoor activity. These impulses prompted the incorporation of sports into the activities and facilities of the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA); the formation of sports programs for men in the nation's colleges and elite high schools; the promotion of sports and outdoor activity by such boys' organizations as the Boy Scouts of America (established in 1910); and, especially in cities, a national proliferation of professional sports teams. (Wile 380)

Although many Americans hoped that sports would foster the physical vigor and moral virtue they considered essential to ideal middle-class manhood, many professional athletes themselves demonstrated a model of sports-related masculinity more akin to urban working-class models grounded in boisterousness. John L. Sullivan, for instance, a descendant of Irish immigrants and the most famous bare-knuckle boxing champion of the late nineteenth century, was renowned as much for his prodigious drinking as for his exploits in the ring. To the delight of middle-class sport advocates, Sullivan began advocating temperance after his boxing career, warning boys that alcohol undermined, rather than demonstrated, manliness. (Wile 380)

Early-twentieth-century developments encouraged growing numbers of American men to participate in sports. Reduced working hours, a growing alienation from factory and office work, and a burgeoning consumer culture encouraged them to define their masculinity through leisure activities and consumption ...