Majority of the sicknesses that people suffer from result from their failure to exercise their bodies. Although they are aware of this fact as well as the role that sports play concerning the immune system of their bodies, they have neglected sports based on claims of issues of gender and racism that dominate the world of sports.
Sports psychology has become increasingly interested in evaluating the differences in the sports enrollment and participation. Birrell notes, “…despite the recent increases in female sports participation, girls and boys still do not participate equally in the same sports (32).
Even in their most preferred sports, boys and girls differ in enrollment in sports depending on the nature of the sports. As Lever claims, “…boys are more likely than girls to engage in sports-related activities that involve teams, complex rule systems, and high levels of interdependency” (475). Racial differences significantly account for sports involvement differences.
To this respect, Jon points out that “While Asians comprise 57% of the world’s population, they “are virtually invisible in the most democratic world of sports, running, soccer, and basketball” (Para. 7). According to Jon, Africans who only represent 12 % of the population of the world dominate soccer, basketball and running.
From the above scholastic arguments, it stands out that differences in sports participation and enrollment exists along racial and gender lines. However, as opposed to what many believe, these discrepancies can be reduced to tolerable levels thereby attracting more people into joining sports and consequently boosting their immune system.
Gender differences in sports
The results from State Association Summary of 1989 on a study of 712 high schools of the large mid western state, found out that 42, 299 boys had the probability of playing foot ball, 26, 662 likely to pay basket ball while 19, 368 boys were likely to take part in base ball game. On the other hand, according to the State Association Summary, “…girls were most likely to play basket ball (17,011), volley ball (16306), and outdoor track field (13,478)” (45).
On one part this results are paramount in that they actually reflect the obvious scenarios on the ground. For instance, why do different people choose different sports activities from the numerous alternatives available on their table? Gender is one of the reasons.
Different genders possesses different motivational factors which solicit their decisions making process which are expected to be reflected in the decisions made about life indulgencies not only in other activities but also in choice of sporting activities.
The influence of self-concept is crucial in as much as explaining the gender instigated sports decisions making process is concerned. As Harold laments, “…self concepts of ability are critical predictors of performance and task choice” (10).
Self-concept is however, a determinant criterion of sport choice contributed largely by inculcation of myths and stereotypical arguments about existing abilities of humans based on gender.
In as much as it may appear to be true that soccer is principally dominated by men, women soccer teams have also been participating in female soccer competitions worldwide. Many would not agree that women world-cup games, in particular soccer, could attain the recognition and popularity as the male soccer world’s cup competitions.
All that matters are our willingness and enthusiasm to see the other side of the story. Gender inequality in sports choice is a problem of making especially by considering an example of boxing sports. For many years, women were secluded from this game.
The question is, with the incorporation of women boxing sports activities at international level, are there no boxing competitions as entertaining as those conducted by men are? The masculine traits correlation with boxing is actually a stereotypically formulated idea!
An argument may ensue that gender sports choice differences is fueled by the perceived differences in the capabilities of gender based criteria and since nothing can be done to ensure biological equity and the physical differences between females and males, the gender differences will persist.
Despite the facts that people are to the tasks that are moderately hard as opposed to very difficult or very easy tasks, as Harold argues, “ whether perceived tasks difficulty relates negatively or curvilinear to tasks choice should depend on individuals motivation orientation, goals and the value the individual attaches to creativity” (10).
Goals and values attributes are found not to be any way universal among a particular, gender but rather depend on personalities and talent endowments. In particular, essential to note is the fact that stereotypes of gender roles are salient issues, which are value free. “Women are stereotyped as less competent especially in intellectual and athletic domains even when they perform equally well” (Harold 12).
These stereotypical perceptions serve to discriminate rather than provide evidence of women incapacity to compete with men in sporting activities. According to Harold, “stereotypes influence children’s developing self concepts, then incorporation of these biased cultural gender role stereotypes could well result in girls having lower self concepts of their intellectual and athletic abilities than boys” (12).
Women consequently can amicably raise and dominate the sports activities historically perceived as province of men if these stereotyped minds are altered. The society teaches such beliefs at an early age through the way various genders interact and the way of doing gender roles differentiation (Deeter 89).
In the modern world, things have immensely changed. As a result, we have seen the generation of women who can equally bit men in athletics further giving evidence that gender based discrepancies on the sporting abilities of women and men is a mythical and self-making problem, which can easily change based on the general change of the way people perceive issues.
Racial based sports discrepancies
On a different angle, Jon suggests a model of explaining the differences in sports based on racial grounds. Through his work, he appreciates that gender is not a big determining factor in sports choice.
By citing race, he does not subdivide an individual capacity to participate in sports based on gender since within a given race two genders exist. Even though, the East African does well in long-range athletes, it is not imperative to classify the trend in various talents endowment in terms of whether one is black or white.
“The belief that black athletic ability is inversely proportional to black intellectual ability has been used to justify slavery, colonialism, and segregation” (Jon Para. 10). Furthermore, Jon tends to foster the much-opposed position that white men are associated with excellence in tasks that pay the biggest lamps of money.
For instance, he claims that athletes from Kenya come from a radius of 60 miles around Eldoret town and that the Kalenjin community focuses on athletics as a way of looking for an alternative way of refocusing their energy after objecting to comply with the colonial rule demands.
If this approach was something to concur with, ‘why then does the modern ardent global focus on athletics?’ Even though Jon’s approach does not entail gender-based segregation of the population, it is not acceptable.
A more acceptable way of rating the observable differences in people’s enrollment participation in various sports could be focused on environmental, social and geographical characteristics bearing in mind that different places or countries are characterized by different availability of sporting equipment and facilities.
Jon’s approach, though not entangling gender based analysis of differences in the sports enrollment and participation, uses a racial approach, which seems greatly fought against by people.
By taking into consideration the modern attempts to incorporate all genders equally at all sports both at national level and with willingness to change gender and racial stereotypical perceptions, the existing beliefs on dominancy of differences in the sports enrollment and participation can be eroded.
Birrell, Susan. The Psychological Dimensions of Female Athletic Participation: In M Boutilier & L. San Giovanni: The Sporting Woman. Champaign IL: Human Kinetics, 1983.
Deeter, Trevor. Re-Modeling Expectancy and Value in Physical Activity. Journal of Sports and Exercise Psychology 12.1 (1997): 86-91.
Harold, Rena. Gender Differences in Sports: Applying the Eccles’ Expectancy Value Model. Journal of Applied Sports Psychology 3.1 (1997): 7-35.
Lever, Janet. Sex Differences in the Complexity of Children’s Play and Games. American Sociological Review 43.4 (1978): 471-483.
State Association Summary. 1988-89 sports participation survey. Michigan high school: school athletics association, 1989.
Jon, Entine. Taboo: Why Black Athletes Dominate Sports and Why We Are Afraid to Talk About It? New York, NY: BBS Public Affairs, 2000.