Mansfield Fox

Law student. Yankees fan. Massive fraggle. Just living the American dream.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Anglo-American Athletic Invention Dominance

This post got me thinking about soccer, which in turn got me pondering the subject of globally popular sports. And I realized: all of the popular sports in the world are of British or American invention. Think about it: soccer, baseball, rugby, cricket, basketball - every one of them invented in either the United States or Great Britain. Seriously, what's the most popular non-Anglo-American sport? Hockey? Polo? Bocce? Maybe chess, if one considers that a sport.

Why is this? You might say it's a byproduct of imperialism, and that's obviously part of the story (baseball isn't popular in Cuba, nor cricket in Pakistan, by accident). But it's also true that soccer, for instance, is wildly popular in places (such as Latin America and Europe) where the British had no imperial presence. Moreover, the French had a substantial global empire. Are there any native Gallic games that are popular even in the Francophone world (or even in France itself) let alone globally? There's got to be more to the puzzle than just Cecil Rhodes and his ilk trotting the globe, sowing a love of Parliaments and soccer and putting a "u" after the "o" in words like "color".

Seriously, what's going on here?