American Football

The sport of American football derived from rugby. Football (soccer) has also been noted as a cousin to American football. The sport came to America in the mid-1800s and was played by many northeastern colleges, like Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and Columbia. In 1876, Harvard and Yale Universities met together in Massachusetts to formalize the rules of American football. The object of the game was to move an oblong-shaped ball across a goal line by kicking, throwing, or running with it. The team that can get the most points in four quarters wins. The game is played between two teams, each with eleven players. In American football, the teams can be rotated in and out of the game, which is different than football (soccer) and rugby.

In the beginning of the Professional Football League in the 1920s, there were no rules regarding the equipment players wore. Teams only provided players with long-sleeve knitted wool jerseys, and socks in team colors and logos. Many players used the equipment that they acquired at university (if they went). To protect the head from contact, players wore soft, pliable leather "head helmets" with nose guards, while some players felt that long hair was good enough. Pants were knicker-length and were made of brown cotton canvas (reminiscent of the original Levi's). Players also wore cleats to enhance traction when running, especially in the mud (McDo-nough et al. 1994, p. 31,). Throughout the 1900s elaborate equipment was developed for the player, including pads made with high-density plastics and foams for the neck, thighs, hips, groin, ribs, knees, shoulders, and sometimes the forearms. Over the protection, the player usually wears a knitted jersey, knee-length pants, and socks, in team colors and made of synthetic fibers that provide durability and thermal comfort. Like in many other sports, jerseys contained the name and number of the player and team logo for on-field identification. Many of the equipment developments during the last century were created by players themselves or by equipment managers. Players in the early 2000s wear proper, durable helmets with face and mouth guards (McDonough et al. 1994, p. 110). Lightweight cleats are worn for different field environments like grass or synthetic turf. Gloves are sometimes worn for warmth and to provide a better grip on the ball. Even the ball has gone through a series of changes, making it more durable, aerodynamic, and easier to handle.

See also Sneakers. BIBLIOGRAPHY

Bowman, John, and Joel Zoss. The Pictorial History of Baseball.

New York: Gallery Books, 1986. Dunn, John, et al. How to Play Cricket: Australian Style. Hong

Kong: Souvenir Press, 1975. Farmer, Bob. How to Play Cricket. New York: Hamlyn, 1979. Langton, Harry. 1000 Years of Football: FIFA Museum Collection.

Berlin: Edition Q, 1996. McDonough, et al. 75 Seasons: The Complete Story of the National Football League 1920-1995. Atlanta, Ga.: Turner Publishing, 1994.

Miers, Charles, and Elio Trifari. Soccer! The Game and World

Cup. New York: Rizzoli International, 1994. Wolff, Alexander. 100 Years of Hoops: A Fond Look Back at the Sport of Basketball. New York: Bishop Books, 1991.

Internet Resources

Hickok Sports. 2004. Sports History: The Ancient Olympic Games. Available from

<>. Mar, David. An Explanation of Cricket: Rules and Game Play

Described for Novices. Available from <http://www.cricinfo. com/db/about_cricket/explanation/explanation_of_cricket .html>.

Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, Inc. Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame: History. Available from <>. National Baseball Hall of Fame. Dressed to the Nines: A History of the Baseball Uniform. Available from < exhibits/dressed_to_the_nines.htm>. Trueman, N. Rugby Football History: Timeline. Available from <>.

Susan L. Sokolowski

UNISEX CLOTHING The term "unisex" as applied to dress was coined in the late sixties to denote clothing suitable or designed specifically for both males and females. Prior to this, fashion most traditionally contextu-alized stood for the clear demarcation of the sexes through the reaffirmation of gender identity. Simply put: women wore skirts, and men wore pants. Although historically there were of course experiments in appropriation, the decade that produced the Youthquake solidified the idea of universal dress.

Denim jeans and T-shirts, popularized in the 1950s by Hollywood cinema, inaugurated the democratization of clothing. Up until that point, they had served as working-class garments that signified a particular niveau in society. For the burgeoning younger generation, the seductive charm of young actors like Marlon Brando and James Dean, combined with the powerful vehicle of motion pictures, transformed jeans and T-shirts not only into fashion phenomena, but perhaps the first truly accepted unisex articles of clothing.

The seeds of youth revolution, planted in the 1950s, fully blossomed the following decade. The 1960s were a period of extraordinary change—one in which conventional notions of age, gender, and class were completely redefined. In an environment conducive to experimentation, the era pushed designers to incorporate new definitions of youth and universality into their work. The idea of unisex, in particular, gained currency precisely for its implications of multifaceted freedom. In the obvious sense, unisex meant liberation from gender, but more importantly, its association with the future in its disavowal of traditional hierarchies and old-fashioned attitudes made it a major driving force for fashion.

American Football 101

American Football 101

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