Professional Sports in North Carolina

free essayIn North Carolina, sports has become an integral aspect of the community in terms of bringing people together and enhancing human potential, collective effort and individual achievement. Athletics, in particular, began to gain momentum at schools due to the need for ensuring students’ development in all aspects of their lives. It was critical for people to change along with the constant changes of the society as well as gain a rightful position based on their worth. Besides, athletics offered people an opportunity to cope with the transformations in the society by redefining identities, reconfiguring political debates and shifting economic and social opportunities. Athletics was also used as an arena for contesting inequalities that had become a common element of the society. There was a hierarchy of law, separation of men from women, urban dwellers from rural dwellers and industrialists from farmers. Athletics broke such division by ensuring that social position was determined by the competitiveness in sports.

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Men’s College Athletics (1880-1901)

During this era, athletics was spreading since there was the need to ensure that the efforts made by various stakeholders were not jeopardized. It is important to note that people in the society began fighting for their rights and voice out their concern to the relevant authorities. For instance, in African-American college located in Salisbury, some individuals wanted to use a section of land set aside as athletics field to plant tulips (Grundy, 2003). Concerned members of the school held protests as a way of raising voice to protect their rights. Athletics, therefore, played a central role in helping people fight for their rights and air their concerns about the inequality in the society.

During this time, athletics was significant in shaping the characters of young people to respond to the rapid transformation that was happening in North Carolina. The competition was an essential element of ensuring that each and every person became successful in their respective areas of specialization. The spirit of competition made the students realize that they needed to strive to become better people every day by directing their energy toward positive things, precisely for a constructive cause (Grundy, 2003). Sports in this era were useful in ensuring the development of individuals with a sound mind and sound body. Mental and physical capabilities of the individuals would help in the transformation of the society in the future. The transformation that was taking place in North Carolina at the time required people with an outstanding strength of mind as well as that of the body. Sports provided young people with the platform to develop and practice various roles for social and economic prosperity.

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White Men, Competition, and Structure of the Society (1919-1936)

Players in North Carolina, during this period, had an additional advantage in coping with different aspects of the community at large. For instance, community baseball players had the qualities of toughness and strength, which helped them relate effectively with the farming economy of the society. The skills people acquired from various sports were useful in their daily societal activities. Enos Slaughter (Grundy, 2003) stated that the skills he acquired from baseball played a critical role in preparing for the contests in the society as well as in hunting rabbits in the fields. He stated that his prowess to catch balls using bare hands and running barefooted were useful in making him handle floods, droughts and other challenges that farmers would face. His experience represented resilience to the various challenges that would affect the society. The Society of North Carolina needed people who would stand out and make a significant impact in their field of specialization (Grundy, 2003).

Sports also influenced the economic aspect of the community in the sense that many publications sold many copies because of the sports news they reported. Increased purchase of such copies helped build the economy of the community in some aspects as well as transform sports into a professional job for some of the individuals (Grundy, 2003). Moreover, sports and virtue associations became important aspects of the college life and state society. In the 1920’s, college sports had spread across the whole country. Most of the game fields were full to maximum capacity forcing the opening of other fields. These games attracted politicians, sportswriters, scouts and the community members at large, which showed the extent of popularity of college sports. The college life changed leading to the attraction of men to enroll in various programs, which were essential in a rapidly growing industrial economy.

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Athletes, Cheerleaders, and Civil Rights (1938-1971)

During 1938-1971, sports helped enhance racial integration as people of different races have gained support from the stars. One of the players that ensured such transformation was Charlie Scott. He was a talented player, who ignited rivalry among his supporters and competitors. Some people supported him due to his outstanding talent, while others hailed insults at him because he was black (Grundy, 2003). Despite all the insults he got from his enemies, Scott showed that racial discrimination could be breached and became one of the most talented players of his time. He also pursued a career after his graduation, which made him set an example to others that one can be successful in spite of their skin color.

Sports in North Carolina influenced the society in terms of integration and desegregation. Most of African-Americans had viewed sports as one of the significant ways to reduce the cases of racial segregation and ensure that both blacks and whites were viewed as one rather than judged by their skin color. It was a worthy cause because different coaches could sign both black and white players in their teams despite the racial domination of that particular team. There was a belief that talent was critical in encouraging the spirit of competitiveness rather than solving racial issues. Mushrooming of teams integrated both black and white players, which played a crucial role in enhancing integration of the society. Sam Cunningham, a black player, is an example of a player that brought integration by being constituted in a white-dominated team (Grundy, 2003).

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Conclusion

Sports in North Carolina had a significant influence on the society from the late 19th to late 20th century. The most important aspect ensured that the students were prepared to assume various roles in the society, which required skills and knowledge in various specialties. Moreover, it enhanced integration among members of the society; hence, reducing prejudice and racial segregation. Sports, therefore, helped the community grow greatly by addressing various social and economic challenges.