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Sports in American Culture

EHS courtyard


General Description

Prerequisite: None

Today sports virtually dominate American culture. From fantasy leagues and 24-hour a day news shows to business decisions and off-the-field troubles to the games themselves, sports entertain Americans at the same time as they define American culture and social norms. This course will look at the growth of the sport industry in the 20th Century. It will examine the lives and importance of athletes, coaches, politician and citizens, as well as the economic, social, and medical impact of the games we watch.


Students will explore how unorganized and impromptu athletic activities were transformed into spectator sports at the collegiate and professional level, and the ways in which sports reflected and informed issues of race, class, gender, ethnicity and international politics. Specific topics include: the transformation of “blood sports” into acceptable athletic pursuits, such as boxing; amateurism and the rise of athletic clubs; baseball’s popularity during the first half of the twentieth century; sports heroes of the 1920s and 1930s; women’s sports; racial segregation in sports; athletic rivalries during the Cold War; and the globalization of American sports. Students will also examine important events in sports history, including the racial integration of major sports leagues, the creation of free agency, the establishment of Title IX, and the American-led boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympics. The course will consist of films, readings, lectures and discussions.

Theory of Action

Enumclaw High School Social Studies Teachers are passionate about the wide-ranging subject matter that we teach. We believe History, Psychology, Civics, Contemporary Issues and the various interest-based classes we offer promote an informed citizenry ready to participate in the future of our country. The Social Studies Department is committed to developing authentic learning experiences in our various curricula designed to engage students through promoting a deeper understanding of the world around us.