Sometimes the difference between a true fan of a sport and just a surface one is how much you know about the history of your team, your league, or even the sport in general. When people get together around games, they can always talk about what’s going on in the present, but the true fans are aware of the history enough to know where the present developed from.
So, a few sports for you fans out there to dive into the histories of, if you haven’t before, might include horse racing, American football, NASCAR, baseball, and soccer. You can always work your way through the rest, but these histories have a good baseline to consider.
1. Horse Racing
If you’re a fan of the track, horse racing can be a real riot. Beautiful horses, great crowds, excitement, skill, intrigue, and even money changing hands all over the place. But to truly appreciate the whole culture, you should look into the history of horse racing from an academic standpoint, just so you can see how it developed over generations of owners and crowds. There are gorgeous pictures of racing events that are always a part of this history as well, and many aficionados appreciate the visual cues.
American football has some of the most steadfast fans in the world, and some of the biggest stadiums with the most money going to players, events, and related activities. And because pro football has only been going on since 1892, it’s history is relatively fresh compared to sports that have been around for hundreds of years. It’s quite amazing to see where all of the excitement and traditions have come from since then.
Though racecar driving as a sport isn’t necessarily everyone’s cup of tea, the people who go to races, follow the racers, and understand the history of the sport get much more out of it than the casual observer who occasionally watches the big races on TV. It’s worth a read to see where the sport came from.
And baseball fans definitely are all about the history. Where did the teams come from, and why are certain rivalries in place? Why is there the constant rift between American League and National League teams? When you know the answers to those questions, the game means much more.
And if you live anywhere other than the United States, soccer is going to be high on the list of passions, and there is so much history behind the traditions of going to games and supporting your teams that it would be impossible to truly appreciate a contest without digging into the historical context.