Sports are defined as a “physical activity that is governed by a set of rules or customs and often engaged in competitively” (“Sports“). The English have played sports since the 1400’s, but not exactly as sports are now defined. They did not always have rules to govern their play; they had guidelines basically (Singman 5). These guidelines could be changed until the sport was not just competition, but a fierce battle. Sports were a method of releasing violent emotion. This style of play caused many injuries, and sometimes the injuries were fatal (“Tudor” 1). The players became tough, which helped during fights in the street (Singman 1). Brawls were common because the law was not well enforced. In addition to the intensity of the sports, the English had fun while they played. If it were not fun, sports would not still be around today. Since the 1400’s, sports in England have served as a way for people to let out anger, toughen up, and have fun.
During the Tudor Times (1400-1600), there was an abundance of sports because most of the ones played were carried over from medieval times (Maxwell 1). In general there were less elaborate rules for the sports then than now (Singman 5). People playing sports like hurling (which is like rugby) and football (soccer) took full advantage of this in their attempts at winning (3). They would cheat and take cheap shots at other players. This allowed them to let out their anger, but at the cost of pain. Other sports were just dangerous by nature, like jousting and fencing (Maxwell 1). There were some friendly fun sports, however. The rich mainly played tennis because it was expensive but it was good-natured (Singman 3). Archery was also a fun, friendly sport but it was also used in war (Maxwell 2).
The most popular sport was football (or soccer in the United States) (Singman 2). Football was very popular with the lower classes and it was always “traditionally violent, loud, and dangerous to bystanders as well as players” according to Singman. This was probably why the lower classes liked it; it was exciting. In the 1400’s football was basically the same as now but there were not as many rules. The ball was also different; it was made from a farm animal’s bladder. The object of the game was to kick or throw the ball into the opponent’s net (“Tudor” 1). Loew has written that, football had no lines on the field for boundaries and there was no limit to the number of players on a team (4). “Tudor Sports and Pastimes” reports that goals posts were one mile apart. People were often hurt or even killed while playing football because it was highly competitive and violent (1). People often used football to vent anger. Because of this, Henry VIII banned the sport since the hurt men could have been used in the army. Loew says football was called “a friendly game of fight.” A Tudor writer is quoted as saying, “Football is more a fight than a game…sometimes their necks are broken, sometimes their backs, sometimes their legs…football encourages envy and hatred…sometimes fighting, murder, and a great loss of blood” (Loew 1). “Football playing…may rather be called a friendly kind of fight, than a play of recreation; a bloody and murdering practice, than a fellowly sport or pastime,” once said Puritan social critic Phillip Stubbes (“Tudor” 1). These quotes all show how dangerous and intense football was back in the 1400’s.
According to Singman, hurling another one of the violent sports (3). There were 15-30 people on a team (Loew 4). The object of hurling was to get a ball across open land into the opponent’s goal by any means possible. This could mean cheating, fighting, and in some cases using a horse to get an advantage over the opponent (Singman 3). Players would get seriously hurt playing, as was expected. It is surprising that such a violent sport could withstand the test of time, but Loew says this sport evolved into rugby, which is only slightly less brutal (4).
One of the most popular sports was jousting, though unlike football and hurling, it the concept of it was dangerous (“Jousting“ geocities 1). The object of jousting was to knock the opponent off his horse charging at them with a lance (Maxwell 1). The lances were bolted to the armor, which was also very dangerous. The idea of this now sounds absurd, but the sport was quite popular in its day. Jousting tournaments were a good opportunity for the rich to show off their horses, clothes, and armor because many people came to watch. However, the joust would often be decided before the bout even took place (“Jousting” geocities 2). This parallels to today’s TV wrestling; the matches were not about skill, they were about show, and pleasing the audience. At the height of its popularity, jousting would rival “a state fair, Super Bowl, rock concert, and Octoberfest all rolled into one” (“Jousting” scotfest 1). Jousting tournaments were made for the audience to have fun. The tournaments were popular from 1200 to the late 1400’s. By the late 1500’s, the jousters wore up to 120 pounds of armor, which often made the horses fall down. As one can see, it became too much about showing off and that led to the sport’s demise. It was also very dangerous because of the extreme weight of all that armor, which is why no one was jousting by the 1600’s.
People also liked to watch and participate in fencing (Singman 1). Fencing, like jousting, was also dangerous by nature. Fencers wore padded jackets and sometimes held a shield for protection. Also, as another precautionary measure, the weapons did have “blunted edges and round ends” according to Singman. Unfortunatley, this did not help much and people were still commonly hurt fencing. The most frequently used weapon was a rapier. It was a lot heavier back then than it is now, but it was still the lightest weapon back then. A fencer could hold two rapiers, one rapier, one rapier and a shield, or one rapier and one dagger for weapons. Since a rapier is Italian, English traditionalists used a sword instead. Some fencers even use wooden swords. Fencing was viewed as a recreational enjoyment sport.
Archery was another fun sport played during Tudor Times (Maxwell 2). There were laws requiring all citizens to practice archery regularly. This was due in part of 6,000 English soldiers shooting down 85,000 French soldiers during Henry V’s reign. The British were severely outnumbered during a battle against the French, but because the British were skilled archers, they were able to shoot the French soldiers from afar. The French did not have long range weapons and could not get close enough to the British to cause any damage. Though the law was not strictly enforced, people still liked to practice archery. The arrows were made of a wooden shaft and iron head, which was a new innovation, and made them more accurate. Archery was more fun than it was competitive.
An early version of tennis was also played during Tudor Times (Singman 3). Imported from France during the Middle Ages, tennis was a pleasure sport. It was fairly expensive and therefore only the rich played it. The frames of the rackets were made of wood and the string of cow gut. The balls were made of fabric scraps, white fabric, and string put together. These items were expensive, but a court was also needed which was even more expensive. This was probably the most athletic of all the sports played by the rich. From tennis a version of badminton evolved called shuttlecock.
Different class of people played and watched these sports and for different reasons. Universally, everyone gambled on all sports and games (Singman 6). Even children gambled with little trinkets and many aspects of the sports could be bet on. Also, men were the only ones who played sports. Women did not have much chance to play, as they did not have as many rights during Tudor Times as they did later on.
One unique group of people who played and watched sports was the common folk. Martial arts and sports were good for commoners to practice. The laws were not well enforced so the people used sports to learn self-defense. Hurling and football were the most popular sports for commoners (Loew 4). These were the two roughest sports, which in turn prepared the commoners for street fights. These sports also gave them a chance to release anger. The commoners took every opportunity to participate in sports because they did not have many chances to play because the government thought work was more important for them to spend their time on (“Tudor” 1). In 1512, Henry VIII banned games like tennis, dice, and cards from the commoners because the authorities were afraid of fighting and riots between the people because of the sports and games.
The royalty, rich, and upper class also enjoyed sports. Henry VIII enjoyed jousting and fencing (“Henry” 1). These sports, especially jousting gave him a chance to show off. His showboating did go too far once, and led to a jousting accident (Cavendish 1). Henry had new armor made and was boasting about it with his visor up (so his face could be seen and recognized by all). The Duke of Soffolk could not see because his visor was down and he hit Henry in the head with his wooden lance. The lance shattered and Henry was seriously hurt and had to stop jousting. Tennis was a royalty exclusive sport because it was so expensive (Singman 3), and it gave them a chance to flaunt their higher rank, however, it was also the most athletic sport played by them.
The military also used sports to their advantage. During the Middle Ages, 6,000 English soldiers used their archery skills to shoot down 85,000 French soldiers at Agincourt during Henry V’s reign (Maxwell 2). This led to the law the required commoners to regularly practice archery (Singman 1). The law was not strictly enforced, however most people still enjoyed archery. Sports also toughened people up so they would be better in the army, but sports were banned for a time because so many people were getting hurt (“Tudor“ 1). Henry preferred that his men be killed in the army rather than playing sports.
The 1700-1800’s brought great change in the area of sports. New sports like cricket, camping, and derby were played (Olsen 2). Football remained popular and it was still rough (3). Equipment was becoming better, especially for football and cricket. Rules started to become more refined and organized teams were formed. Tennis was gone because the government had banned it. Hurling, archery, fencing, and jousting had lost popularity and were not played nearly as often. The biggest advancement was that women were now playing sports like cricket (2). The 1700-1800’s brought many good changes to sports in England.
Cricket became the new popular sport in England. The rules are not explained very well, but it is similar to US baseball in ways. A cricket match could last up to five days and each team would have two innings (turns) at bat. Though cricket may sound boring being able to last five days, everyone loved it. In fact, 20,000 came to watch one professional match. Women were even playing, at a highly competitive level as well. The supposedly best cricket match ever was between two women’s teams. Schools played cricket too (“Cricket 1). Every year they would have a game between the students and the semi-pros. To help establish cricket as a sport, the first cricket club ever was started during the 1760’s in Hambledon, Hampshire. This club helped establish rules and techniques of the game still used today, and they also helped promote cricket.
Though cricket was the craze, football was still very popular (Olsen 3). Hundreds of people gathered for Shrove Tuesday, which is a Christian holiday, and inter-parish games. The rules still varied somewhat from town to town, but most versions of football emphasized kicking and throwing. Some versions allowed carrying of the ball. Also, the ball was changed. It was now either a hard, small ball or leather covered bladder. The leather-covered bladder is closest to what is now used. Olsen has said: “If cricket involved everyone and emphasized fair play, football was emphatically a game for the masses and emphasized whatever worked.” Once again, football is portrayed as a man’s sport, being rough and gritty. Women were not playing football at this time as one could imagine.
Camping was another new sport played during the 1700-1800’s. It was basically the East Anglian version of football, which was also like rugby. Goal posts were set 150-200 yards apart and a cricket-sized ball was used. Teams consisted of 10-15 people. The object of camping was to run with the ball or pass it to a teammate so as to get the ball in the net. If a played was touched while he had the ball, his team lost a point. Games were typically played up to 7-9 points and they lasted about 2-3 hours. Other versions of camping involved boxing, but most only allowed kicking and wrestling. This was one of the more physical sports played.
Derby was yet another new game similar to football. It seems more like an organized riot than a sport. Goals were set two miles apart and up to 1,000 people would be on the field at a time. As expected, this game was very physical. Players would even brawl in the Derwent River and not just on the field. Cheating was also involved, and since there were so many people it was easy to get away with it. Smuggling of the ball in their clothing was a popular choice of getting the team advantage. Derby was nothing but sheer pandemonium.
These sports had an impact on the people of the 1700-1800‘s. The common people were allowed to play sports again because the new king brought a new set of rules. This gave them chances to vent their emotions and have fun (2). Women even began to play sports, including cricket. They were finally getting some rights. Organized teams were formed and this paved the way for sports today. Cricket even had an affect on the line of succession. Prince Frederick, who was heir to the throne, was hit in the head by a cricket ball. The blow caused him to die in 1751, and then his son George III became the new heir and eventually King of England. The sports of 1700-1800 brought great change from Tudor Times and evolved into today’s sport in England.
Today’s sports in England are not nearly as fierce as they were in the 1400‘s and 1700‘s, but they are still very competitive (Robert 1). There are now written rules for all sports and organized play is emphasized. People of all types and ages play sports, too. Camping and derby have since evolved into present day rugby (2). Tennis is not longer banned (3). New sports like golf and basketball are also played. Cricket and football have withstood the test of time and are still popular sports (1). The English fans are one of kind, being incredibly passionate (and sometimes rowdy) about their teams (Sym 1).
Football has been and remains the most popular sport in England (Robert 2). The rules have been standardized, the ball must be kicked in the opponent’s net and no one is allowed to touch the ball with the hands. The game is still physical, but not as physical as it once was. There are a total of 92 professional clubs just in England. People of all ages like to play for fun and on teams. Football has spread throughout the world and it is probably the most popular sport in Europe.
Cricket is England’s official national sport, though many people believe football should be (1). The rules of cricket have changed since the 1700-1800’s. Eleven players are on a team. The ball used is a little smaller than a baseball and a paddle shaped bat is used to hit the ball. The object of cricket is to hit the ball and run back and forth between wickets to score runs. It sounds short and simple, but matches can last days. Cricket is played professionally in England and it is almost as popular as football. Cricket has spread to other parts of the world including Africa and India, but it has not yet caught on here in the United States.
From camping, derby, and hurling, rugby evolved (2). Rugby is another one of the more popular sports in England. Rugby is very similar to football. The differences are that it is played with an oval ball and one carries it instead of dribbling it with one’s feet. It is more physical than football in that players tackle to obtain the ball. Rugby was originally exclusive to the upper class but now everyone can play it. Football in the US is based on rugby.
England is the center for one of the world’s biggest tennis tournaments (3). Wimbledon is the oldest and most famous of all the grand slam tennis events. One of the reasons is that it is the only one played on grass courts. Wimbledon is played during late June when the weather is best in England, though it always seems that a few days of the tournament are rained out. A Wimbledon tradition is that spectators eat strawberries and cream while they watch the matches.
The last two semi-popular sports played now are golf and basketball. “Scotland is traditionally regarded as the home of golf,” says Robert. Scotland has over 400 golf courses so naturally British people would be able to find time to play and enjoy golf. Lastly, basketball has been gaining in popularity and over three million people play. No one knows if it will even gain as much popularity as in the US because of how popular other sports in England are.
People today play sports for different reasons. Robert says, “Sports play an important part in the life of the Englishmen and is a popular leisure activity.” People play sports to relieve stress and have fun. Others play sports for fitness and to stay healthy. Professionals play sports as their job, but they play for these other reasons too.
The English like to attend sporting events, too. England is world famous for its football fans, often called hooligans (“Soccer Violence” 2). One of the biggest reasons they are so rowdy is that they are fueled by alcohol. Police officers are needed at all football games because the fans can get so out of control (Hoge 2). In preparation for Euro 2004 (which is a football tournament) in Portugal, they are setting aside a lot of money to buy riot gear so they will be able to deal with the English Soccer fans (Sym 1). This shows how serious the matter is. Even with all the precautions, the fans still reek havoc. During a game between England and Germany, over 850 people were detained and 56 people injured (“Soccer Officials“ 1). According to Hoge, “In 1985, violence by backers of Liverpool at the Heysel Stadium in Brussels caused a crowd stampede that killed 39 supporters of the opposing Italian team and led to a five-year ban on English clubs playing on the continent” (2). While English football fans are loyal to their teams, they can be ruthless to the opposing team.
There are similarities between the sports played in England during Tudor Times, 1700-1800’s, and now. In reference to sports played, football was played during all the time periods at it was also the most popular sport played. Versions of rugby were also played during all the time periods. There were also a few violent sports played during each time period. Football was played during all of them, almost all the sports played during Tudor Times were dangerous, derby and camping were dangerous during the 1700-1800’s, and rugby is still dangerous today. Tennis was played during Tudor Times and is played now. Lastly, new sports were added and old ones abandoned during each time period.
With respect to the rules of the sports, during Tudor Times and the 1700-1800’s, the rules were often up to interpretation. They were not standardized and varied from town to town. The rules of the sports stayed basically the same between these two time periods, though new versions of the sports evolved.
Lastly, everyone played and watched sports for basically the same reasons. During all the time periods, people played sports to relieve anger and stress, to get stronger, and to have fun. This is a striking similarity between all the time periods. Also, people watched sports for entertainment and pleasure.
There are also differences between the sports played during each time period. The same set of sports was not played during each time period. Some sports became outdated and new ones replaced them. During present times, the sports are not nearly as brutal as they were in previous periods. There are not too many differences between the sports played.
The rules of the sports changed during the present times. Rules are now formalized and they do not vary from town to town. This avoids anger debates during matches which in part takes away some of the violence.
The people who played and watched sports do not have many differences. One is that the fans now are extremely rowdy. This could be due in part that the sports are less violent now, so they make up for it. Lastly, some people play sports for a living, to make money.
The sports of Tudor Times and the 1700-1800’s helped shaped the sports of today in England. The sports played back then have been for the most part modified and carried over to modern times. Football, rugby, cricket, and tennis were all played during those time periods in one form or another. The violence of sports back then has been somewhat carried over to today. Sports now are very competitive and that is a product of the violence back then. The hooligans also show the primitive nature of humans. Lastly, the formation of a cricket club and school teams in the 1700’s paved the way for organized teams which are the biggest part of sports today.
There are pros and cons of sports today. The bad things about sports today in England are the violent fans and how much money goes into sports. The football fans can ruin the games sometimes with their rude behavior. It is something that needs to be fixed but is hard to because of the number of people that cause problems. It’s hard to stop all of them. The other problem is money. The athletes are overpaid at times and there are more important jobs that are paid much less.
The good thing about sports is that they are generally a fun thing to do. Going to sporting events is enjoyable unless there are a few bad hooligans there. Sports also help people learn skills like working with other people. Lastly, sports in England have served as a way for people to relieve stress, exercise, and have fun.
Sports in England have come a long ways since the 1400’s. They are not nearly as brutal as they used to be, though they are still rough. Rules are now official and they are more or less the same around the world. Though many things have changed since Tudor Times, people still play sports for the same reasons. Since the 1400’s, sports in England have served as a way for people to let out anger, toughen up, and have fun.
Cavendish, George. “Henry the eight has a jousting accident.” 1524. 18 Feb. 2004 <http://englishhistory.net/tudor/h8joust.html>.
George Cavendish is a firsthand witness to the jousting accident of Henry VIII. He describes the event and how it happened. This was a useful source because it described the event well. It is the only source I have that talks about the event. It is somewhat biased because it was a bystander. This source fit in when I talked about how royalty play sports.
“Cricket in England.” 19 Feb. 2004 <http://www.britainexpress.com/History/pastimes/cricket.htm>.
The article talked about the history of cricket. It was a somewhat helpful source. It helped me when I talked about the cricket in the 1700-1800’s. The information was reliable as it went along with other information I found.
Hoge, Warren. “As Europe Tenses, England Moves to Leash Soccer Thugs.” New York Times 11 June 2000: 1. Proquest Newspapers. Proquest. 24 Feb. 2004 <http://www.bellhowell.infolearning.com/proquest>.
Warren Hoge talks about the English football fans. It was a useful source because it gave me some arguments for proving how bad the fans can be. It was one of my better articles. The information seems reliable as it is just stating facts. I used the information for my sections about football hooligans.
“Jousting.” 18 Feb. 2004 <http://geocities.com/area51/1567/jousting.html>.
This article talked about jousting. It was pretty useful in giving me information. The information seems a little biased because the person must have liked jousting to make a website about it. This article gave me information for my jousting section during Tudor Times.
“Jousting.” 18 Feb. 2004 <http://www.scotfest/com/jousting.html>.
This is different article that talked about jousting. It was pretty useful in giving me information. The information seems a little biased because the person must have liked jousting to make a website about it. This article gave me information for my jousting section during Tudor Times.
Loew, Steve. “Elizabethan Entertainments and Pastimes.” 18 Feb. 2004 <http://www.springfield.k12.il.us/schools/springfield/eliz/sportsandentertainment.html>.
Steve Loew writes about Elizabethan entertainments and pastimes. The sports section mostly covered football and hurling. It was a somewhat useful source, but it did not have a lot of information. Just a few tidbits of information. The information was reliable. I used the information about football and hurling for my sections on those topics during Tudor Times. It helped me demonstrate that football was the most popular sport back then.
Maxwell, Gretchen Elaine. “Elizabethan Sports.” 18 Feb. 2004 <http://www.springfield.k12.il.us/schools/springfield/eliz/sportsandentertainment.html>.
Gretchen Elaine Maxwell writes about Elizabethan sports. It was somewhat useful, because it had specific information. It was not a great article, but it helped. It gave me information on jousting and archery in Tudor Times. It helped me demonstrate that sports helped the military.
Olsen, Kirstin. “What Joy Was Mine!: Entertainment.” Daily Life in 18th Century England. Daily Life Through History Online. Greenwood Press, 2002. 18 Feb. 2004 <http://www.gem.greenwood.com>.
Kirstin Olsen writes about entertainment during the 18th century in England. It was an incredibly useful source because it gave me a lot of information about the sports played during the 18th century. It was probably my best source. The information is reliable and it does not seem biased. I used the information for my sports section in the 1700-1800’s. It was basically all the information I had for that section.
Robert. “Sports in England.” 20 Feb. 2004 <http://www.woodlands-junior.kent.sch.uk/customs/questions/sport.html>.
Robert talks about the sports currently played in England. It was a very useful source because it gave me lots of information. It was one of my better sources. The information seems slightly biased because it is coming from an English person, so he could put his own opinions in with the facts. This source gave me a lot of my information about the sports played today in England.
Singman, Jeffrey L. “Entertainments — Elizabethan Pastimes.” Daily Life in Elizabethan England. Daily Life Through History Online. Greenwood Press, 2002. 18 Feb. 2004 <http://www.gem.greenwood.com>.
Jeffrey L. Singman writes about entertainment during the Elizabethan era. It was a very useful source because it gave me a lot of information. It was probably my second best source. It seemed like a very reliable source. It gave me much of my information about the sports played during the 1400-1600’s.
“Soccer Officials Threaten to Expel England From Championships.” New York Times 19 June 2000: 1. Proquest Newspapers. Proquest. 24 Feb. 2004 <http://www.bellhowell.infolearning.com/proquest>.
This article talks about the rowdy English football fans. It was somewhat useful, but it could only be used for one small section of my paper. It was a reliable source as it came from a newspaper. It gave me some key information in my section on hooligans.
“Soccer violence an international problem.” BBC News Online: World: Europe 19 June 2000. 26 Feb. 2004 <http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/low/world/europe/797601.stm>.
This article also talks about football violence. It was useful in giving me information on the topic. It seems reliable as it came from a news site. It seemed a little biased against the football fans. This article gave me information on the hooligans. It helped me show that alcohol fuels them.
“Sports.” 11 May 2004 <http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=Sports>.
This is a short article that has the official definition of sports. It was useful because I was able to use it in my introduction. It wasn’t a great source, but it did help me prove my thesis. The only problem was that it had limited information. The information seems reliable, as it is only a definition. This article helped me prove my thesis.
Sym, Jennifer. “Euro-Crackdown on Soccer Thugs.” PA News 15 Feb. 2004: 1. 24 Feb. 2004 <http://news.scotsman.com/latest.cfm>.
This is yet another article about the hooligans. It was useful in giving me some specific information. It was a reliable source. It gave me some intriguing facts about precautions made for the English fans.
“Tudor Sports and Pastimes.” May 2002. 18 Feb. 2004 <http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/tudor_sports_and_pastimes.htm>.
This article talks about Tudor sports and pastimes. It was a fairly useful source because it gave me some good information on football during Tudor Times. The information seems reliable and unbiased, as it was not written when everything happened. It gave me information on football which helped me show the intensity of the sport.