If you are a footballer in the United Kingdom and for some reason or the other you have to move to the United States, you won’t be a footballer any more. Rather you will start playing soccer over there and perhaps become a soccer player. Football is exactly what they call the sport in the UK and in most of the countries all over the world, but in the United States, they call it soccer. Soccer is widely played all over the United States together with a range of other outdoor games that include baseball, volleyball and basketball.
One of United States’ most celebrated and highly viewed sports is basketball. Since the time the first ‘soccer ball’ in the form of basketball was dribbled in 1891, in the indoor training ground of the Springfield College Massachusetts, the sport has gained tremendous popularity and gradually has been accepted all over the world. Basketball is a sport that requires agile pace and stamina combined with the techniques of passing, dribbling and shooting.
Almost all colleges and elementary schools in the United States nurture their own basketball team and prepare them for varsity competition. The popularity of basketball is exceedingly high in both urban and rural areas and according to the National Basketball Association (NBA), 1,002,797 students have participated in the interscholastic basketball contest on behalf of their schools.
While basketball reigns in high schools and colleges, a large number of people in the USA are baseball fanatics. It has been recognised as the national sport in the United States since the late nineteenth century. Baseball is extremely popular all over the North American continent, Central America and a bit of South America as well. Some parts of the Caribbean and East Asia have also begun playing baseball.
Baseball is played among 18 people in two teams, nice in each. It needs a bat and ball to play and it is in some ways analogous to cricket played in England and the Indian Subcontinent. A pitcher throws a ball, hard and covered with leather towards the batter who in turn tries to hit the ball all over the ground with a cylindrical wooden bat. The teams only score runs by batting and the bowler tries to bowl the batters out. Once the batter succeeds in hitting the baseball, he runs around the four markers arranged at the corners of a 90-feet diamond shape and advances his players.
The Americans also love football. Outside the United States, it is known as gridiron or the American football. Though all Americans love to watch their football, few are courageous enough to venture into the colossal field and play the sport. This sport is well known for the physical roughness that comes along together with the highly strategic tactics of the players.
In order to win, a team must advance with the specially designed prolate spheroid ball used in football, either by carrying it all by himself or by passing it onto a teammate. Points can be scored either by kicking the ball through the post on the oppositions side or by carrying the ball past the goal line. According to many surveys, it has been seen that football has been the favourite sport in the US till the year 1972. The popularity of football has risen to such an extent that it has even overtook baseball, America’s national sport, in terms of popularity.
For example, football’s professional championship known as the Super Bowl is considered to be one of America’s chief occasions for community gatherings. It is considered as such a big event that the American’s think of it as an unofficial public holiday.
The American football has also gained popularity in numerous countries outside of the US like Mexico, Europe, Korea, Japan, Australia and a few countries from South America. American Football’s governing body, The International Federation of American Football arranges the American Football World Cup once in four years with the first two held in 1999 and 2003. Ironically the winner’s of the first two were Japan!