Cultural Comparison: Canadian Ice Hockey vs. American Football, Part II
Vincent A. @ ELC Research International
The American Revolutionary War and Developments of College Athletics
American football has been developed in the U.S. as part of college athletics. The greatest factor in the success of college athletics in the U.S. is that America won the Revolutionary War (1775-1783) against Britain. Actually, if America fell to Britain in the Revolutionary War or, alternatively, if the Revolutionary War itself had not happened, it is very doubtful that there would be American football as we see it today.
The significance of America winning the Revolutionary War is quite great. The influence thereof was not confined to the political arena. Rather, it deeply influenced the whole American society and peoples’ lives. One example is the success of college athletics in American universities, and American football was developed as a leading sport of such college athletics.
The Declaration of Independence promulgated in America in 1776, the year after the Revolutionary War began, declares that human beings are created equal and endowed with rights the of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. But, in addition to this, it definitely asserts that, although the power of the government should be respected, it applies only when the government functions to protect these people’s rights. If the government becomes oppressive and ignores the people’s rights, people have a right to establish a new government. The spirit of the Declaration of Independence, which completely denies the British monarchy and which asserts that all human beings are equal and able to pursue happiness, gradually spread through American society after the United States won the Revolutionary War.
The “wind of freedom” blowing in American society then blew into American universities, and it bewildered university authorities and faculties a great deal. This was primarily because most American universities in those days were founded by religious denominations and almost all the trustees, presidents and faculties were church ministers.
Essentially, university authorities and faculties deemed students to be ill-natured, and they were devoted to educating the students so they became decent-living human beings by imprinting good behaviors on them and erasing evil behaviors. To this end, they used an educational method comprised of imposing strict duties and restricting undesirable behaviors. So, self-study hours were obliged in addition to class studies. As regards religion, attendance to religion classes and also to worship in the morning and evening was required. In addition, a wide variety of behavioral restrictions were put on every aspect of students’ dormitory life: drinking, smoking, dancing, card playing, physical activity for fun, and leaving without permission, among other things, were prohibited. Violators were punished severely. In addition, the class studies of the university were mainly based on recitation of Greek and Latin, which meant that leaning things by heart was crucial. For students, college life was therefore oppressive, choking up their breath.
Then, the “wind of freedom” blew into the universities. Students were awakened to the worth of freedom and indispensable nature of human rights, and they begun to rebel against the faculties who had suppressed them with obligations and restrictions. In fact, many disturbances happened among the student bodies of various American universities and students begun to carry out their activities by themselves, particularly extracurricular activities after school. Although more “gentle” extracurricular activities such as intellectual work or social activity started even before the American Revolutionary War, after America won, sports making full use of the body begun to attract the students’ enthusiasm. This was the origin of college athletics.
Copyright ©2013-2018 Japanese Canadian Community Organization of Victoria
This article is a revision of the article entitled “In-Depth Cultural Comparison, No. 1: Comparing Canada and America; Ice Hockey vs. American Football” printed in Japonism Victoria, vol. 8 no.2, 2013 published by Japanese Canadian Community Organization of Victoria.