Roosevelt as Symbol.
More than any athlete of the 1900s, Theodore Roosevelt epitomized the sporting character of the decade. In 1900, the year before he became the twenty-sixth president of the United States, he encouraged Americans to act aggressively and confidently but with a sense of fair play: "In life, as in a football game, the principle to follow is: Hit the line hard: don't foul and don't shirk, but hit the line hard." Roosevelt believed that participation in "vigorous, manly sports" was so important in the development of character and the preparation of young men for leadership roles in business and politics that he called Ivy League presidents and athletic officials to the White House in 1905 to discuss ways to reduce the high rate of injury and death in college football. Although Roosevelt's football summit did not lead to immediate reform of the game—as injury and death continued to haunt the college game throughout the decade—it did lead to the formation of organizations such as the National Collegiate Athletic Association. The NCAA and other governing bodies legislated sportsmanship within college sport and took other measures to insure the safety of football and other sports.
The Boxing Paradox.
Throughout the decade sports culture promoted a conflicted character that was both aggressive and gentlemanly. No sport...
(The entire section is 1224 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of 1900's Sports Summary. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!