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Sports can be an important part of a nation’s culture, and the United States offers many opportunities for engaging in such activities. Even before the American Revolution, team sports were part of the life of the Native American peoples. Several ball games were played among them, including what may be considered early versions of lacrosse. During the seventeenth century, European games were brought to the New World and were refashioned into what we know as typical American sports. Today, these sports are the most popular forms of recreation throughout the United States. In addition, various social rituals have developed around athletic contests.

As sports gained popularity, newspapers started to staff specialized sports desks with specialized journalists. These pages, often at the back of the newspaper, provided extensive information about athletes. These pages often featured atmospheric descriptions and anticipation of major sporting events. As a result, newspaper proprietors began to realize that many of their readers read the sports page before they turned to the rest of the newspaper for more serious news and information.

The first recorded games of modern times began in the late seventeenth century. These games began as games for children, but eventually evolved into autotelic physical contests for adults. Prehistoric art depicts hunters hunting their prey with joyful abandon. As the game evolved, it eventually became a major goal for ancient civilizations.