GAME ON! DEALER MARKET • OCTOBER 10-12, 2018
Sports play an important role in American society. They fascinate Americans. Only in the United States do banner headlines announcing World Series scores force international crises down to the bottom of the front page. Even The New York Times devotes more space to sports than it does to art, books, education, television or the theater. It devotes more space to sports in its daily edition than to all these subjects combined. Sports permeate our language, our art, and our politics. They also permeate our economy. Americans spend $100 billion a year on sports, $56 billion on sporting events alone.
But what exactly is sport? The simple definition of sport is a physical activity, pastime, a diversion, something to do. When people have time, they do things. They read, watch television, and entertain themselves. Sports in America grew with the increase of leisure time due to technology. The swift rise of sports between 1875 and 1900 paralleled the immense changes in American society. The Golden Age of Invention saw the appearance of the telephone, electric light, Linotype, Kodak camera, portable typewriter and the zipper. Simultaneously, but not coincidentally, it also saw the first running of the Kentucky Derby, the introduction of lawn tennis from England, the first Harvard-Yale football game, the founding of baseball’s National League, the introduction of polo, the reign of Heavyweight Boxing Champion, John L. Sullivan, the first ski club, the first playground, the start of the sports page, the founding of the United States Golf Association, the introduction of ice hockey from Canada, the first American automobile race, the opening of Madison Square Garden, the founding of the Western Conference (the Big Ten), and the start of Davis Cup play. But perhaps there is no better numerical index to the sweep of sports than the story of A. G. Spalding & Bros. Inc., which was begun in 1876 with a capitalization of $800. By the turn of the century, Spalding’s gross sales were $5 million annually. Today, they enjoy gross sales of over $300 million annually.
Team sports were a part of life in colonial North America. Native Americans played a variety of ball games including some that may be viewed as earlier forms of lacrosse. The typical American sports of baseball, basketball and football, however, arose from games that were brought to America by the first settlers that arrived from Europe in the 17th century. These games were re-fashioned and expounded in the course of the 19th century and are now the most popular sports in the United States. Various social rituals have grown up around athletic contests. The local high school football or basketball game represents the biggest event of the week for residents in many communities across the United States. Fans of major university and professional football teams often gather in parking lots outside stadiums to eat a “tailgate” picnic lunch before kickoff, and for parties in front of television sets in each other’s homes during the professional championship game, the Super Bowl. Thousands of baseball fans flee the snow and ice of the North for a week or two each winter by making a pilgrimage to training camps in the South and Southwest to watch up-close their favorite players prepare for the spring opening of the professional baseball season.
Sports enjoy tremendous popularity, but more importantly, they are vehicles for transmitting such values as justice, fair play, and teamwork. Over history, sports have been the “social glue” that bonds the country together. Bonding was done by all when we met in the Greenbriar Room on Wednesday, October 10 at 2:45 p.m. for an all-team tailgate party to kick off the fall 2018 “Game On!” Dealer Market. Together, we enjoyed all kinds of delicious hors d’oeuvres and other traditional tailgate food as we supported our favorite sports teams by dressing up in their team colors. Games were played and prizes were given to the winning teams! People weren't afraid to get all decked out in their team’s craziest ensemble! A nice bag full of gifts was given to the first 100 attending customers! And most importantly, those in attendance took advantage of the Kickoff Savings, including 50 or more items that were available on Wednesday only!