The English Sports: Gentlemen and Players

  • Richard Holt
Part of the St Antony’s Series book series

Abstract

In considering the development of gymnastics in early twentieth-century France, it became clear that this form of physical exercise was steadily losing its appeal in the face of competition from the new athletic activities and team games which came from England. The author of one of the first surveys of the rise of football in France noted that ‘association football is taking over almost everywhere from traditional gymnastics’. In comparison to the puerile festive games they replaced, gymnastic exercises had been physically exhilarating. But the routine apparatus work and formation exercises, which made up the core of gymnastic programmes, were too repetitive and inflexible to hold their own against the allure of more complex and less predictable team games like rugby and football. These sports combined to a remarkable degree a sense of the importance arid freedom of the individual player with a belief in the value of team work. Very little in the way of equipment was needed, and these games were safe and economical in their use of space and time. Not only did the English sports tend to offer a wider variety of physical and psychological satisfactions to participants, their speed and spontaneity were also more attractive to the spectator than regimented gymnastic displays.

Keywords

Idealistic Amateur Income Expense Petrol Cane 

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Copyright information

© Richard Holt 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard Holt
    • 1
  1. 1.University of StirlingUK

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