The United States is a sports-loving nation. Sports in America take a variety of forms; organized competitive struggles, which draw huge crowds to cheer their favorite team to victory; athletic games, played for recreation anywhere sufficient space is found; and hunting and fishing. Most sports are seasonal, so that what is happening in sports depends upon the time of year. Some sports are called spectator sports, as the number of spectators greatly exceeds the number playing in the game.
Baseball is the most popular sport in the US. It is played throughout the spring and summer, and professional baseball teams play well into the fall. Although no other game is exactly like baseball, perhaps the one most nearly like it is the English game of cricket.
Football is the most popular sport in the fall. The game originated as a college sport more than 75 years ago. It is still played by almost every college and university in the country, and the football stadiums of some of the largest universities seat as many as 80,000 people. The game is not the same as European football or soccer. In American football there are 11 players on each team, and they are dressed in padded uniforms and helmets because the game is rough and injuries are likely to occur.
Basketball is the winter sport in American schools and college. Like football, basketball originated in the US and is not popular in other countries. Many Americans prefer it to football because it is played indoors throughout the winter and because it is a faster game. It is a very popular game with high schools, and in more than 20 states, state-wide high school matches are held yearly.
Other spectator sports include wrestling, boxing, and horse racing. Although horse-racing fans call themselves sportsmen, the accuracy of term is questionable, as only the jockeys who ride the horses in the races can be considered athletes. The so-called sportsmen