Baseball : A Stage And A Mirror

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Baseball: A Stage and a Mirror Throughout the years, sports have played two roles in society. They have acted as a stage for historical events as well as a mirror for American History. Athletics acted as a mirror for critical chapters in American History, such as the Great Depression. In other aspects of history, sports have become the stage. These events include issues of gender roles in society. Sports acted as a mirror of the Great Depression. During the Depression, individuals used baseball (as well as other recreational activities) to escape the difficult economic times they were facing. Sports have been consistently known as one of the healthiest ways to escape from reality for a little while. Following 9/11, Herald and News released an article regarding sports as an escape from tragic events. The psychological evidence cited in the article, while applicable now, would have also been applicable at the time of the Great Depression. The psychologists quoted in the article make it clear that sports have always been an escape. "Sports have always been one of the main ways that we, as a people, have escaped reality…. It is one of the healthiest ways in which we, men especially, can release frustration and anger in a positive way.” (Matthies, 2001) Looking at it from a psychological perspective, it would initially seem as though the Great Depression would help baseball to a small degree because more people would be following teams closer, trying to attend games when they could, just to have time away from the economic struggles they faced every other moment of the day. However, baseball became more of a mirror than anything else. Attendance to games fell 40%, the salary of players fell 25%, and almost every team l... ... middle of paper ... ...s. Women would take posed photos showing off their beauty while the photographs of men were often action shots showing of their athleticism. Woman swimmers were often referred to as mermaids instead of athletes. (Matthies, 2001) This view of athletic women kept the divide between women and men. It helped to keep men superior at a time when many women wanted equal rights. This viewpoint of women helped to create the role that women should play for decades to come. Throughout history sports have played important roles in society. Whether it’s acting as a mirror the economic state of the country during difficult times such as the Great Depression or it’s becoming a stage for redefining gender in society, setting a ideal that would last decades, sports have the ability to display the current state of American and create a changing societal state at the same time.
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