Historical and Sociocultural Foundations of PE and Sports Essay

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Sports in America have many different levels of competition, each with a particular purpose that correlates to their philosophical position. However, I believe that the overall philosophical trend of the sports construction in America is one of Social Darwinism. Social Darwinism is an extension of the theory of natural selection made famous by Charles Darwin. The idea is that the fittest individuals are the ones that are be capable of leaving the most amount of offspring, in turn having an impact on the future direction of the particular species. This is where the mantra of “only the strongest survive” originates from. While it is true that at the younger competition levels this philosophical idea does not hold well to sports, however, consider the following analogy: A large pool of athletes in the younger age groups are like the starting population size of a species. However, as the age groups rise, like to high school, college, and maybe to professional leagues, the pool of athletes becomes vastly depleted. This is very similar to individuals in a species dying out to various causes, the idea is that only the strongest survive. Athletes competing at the professional level are so competitive that sometimes they will seek to circumvent the rules of the sport in order to survive and thrive. That is why the philosophical construct of sport in America is that of Social Darwinism. Professional athletes are at the top of the food chain and are under fierce competition and scrutiny from their fellow athletes, and the ever watchful eye of the media. The result is athletes tend to treat their sport more as a game of survival and compete ruthlessly in order to be the best instead of playing for a pure love of the game.
Social D...

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Pfister, G. (2009). The role of german turners in american physical education. The International Journal of the History of Sport, 26(13), 1893-1925.
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Whitner, R. (2013, Apr). Athletics for all. Retrieved from
Winter, T. (2003). Muscular christianity: manhood and sports in protestant america, 1880-1920. Journal of Religion, 83(4), 636-637. Retrieved from
Wood, W. (1913). The playground movement in america its relation to public education. Board of Education, 27, Retrieved from

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