Sports and their states - Five USA states with the biggest influence on sport
From surprise origin stories to big movie influences, discover more about how five states became hubs for a variety of sports in the USA.
Basketball in Massachusetts
Fact: Massachusetts is the home of basketball.
It was in December 1891 when PE teacher James Naismith pinned up peach baskets in his Springfield gymnasium as a way of keeping his students active during the long winters.
This proved to be the birth of basketball, and some 128 years later it is among the most popular sports in the world.
And having invented the sport, Massachusetts has continued to play a key role in its growth. The Basketball Hall of Fame attracts visitors to Springfield, while many also head to the state to catch a glimpse of the Boston Celtics – one of the eight original National Basketball Association teams.
With 17 NBA Championships, the Celtics are the most successful basketball team in the USA – a proud record for a state that is not only hooked on sport, but used to winning as well.
This is evident beyond the Celtics, with the Boston Red Sox winning nine baseball Word Series titles, the Boston Bruins six Stanley Cups in ice hockey, and the New England Patriots a joint-record six Super Bowls in American football.
Visiting Massachusetts is a sporting pilgrimage to watch the very best USA has to offer.
Climbing in Wyoming
What do you get when you’re the 10th largest state by area, but the smallest in population?
A whole lot of room for adventurous activities.
Wyoming is one big playground for climbers. With mountain ranges scattered all over the state, there is no shortage of summits to sound out– and of course several ways for thrill-seekers to reach them.
The International Climbers' Festival heads to Wyoming every July, with Lander Area staging the event which celebrates the global community climbing has gathered.
Climbers can also get stuck into the pockets of Ten Sleep – a limestone paradise for sport climbers – or the cracks of Devil’s Tower, a stunning butte made of igneous rock which stands at 867 feet from base to summit.
If that wasn’t enough, there’s also the alpine mountains of Grand Teton National Park. You could easily think you’re in Switzerland or New Zealand, when in fact you’re cragging and climbing your way around the beautiful range in northeastern Wyoming.
Baseball in Iowa
“If you build it, he will come.”
So go the words from the classic 1989 film, ‘Field of Dreams’, where an Iowa farmer is urged by a voice to build a baseball diamond on his land before ghosts of baseball legends gone by head to his field to play the sport.
The iconic sports movie was nominated for three Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and has compelled fans to visit the site in Dyersville, Iowa – an hour’s drive north-east of Cedar Rapids – ever since.
Such is the impact ‘Field of Dreams’ has had on baseball and American culture, Major League Baseball announced the New York Yankees and Chicago White Sox will be playing on the Dyersville site in August 2020.
“'Field of Dreams' is an iconic, generational baseball story built upon a deep love of the game that transcends even the most impossible of circumstances," said White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf.
"The filmmakers tell a beautiful story that resonates to this day. It is an incredible honour for the White Sox franchise to be the home team against the Yankees in a special setting that will capture everyone’s imagination just like the movie does.
“It seems very fitting that 30 years after the film’s debut, MLB will build a ballfield in an Iowa cornfield where we will come to play a game so that baseball fans can create their own memories to be cherished for decades.”
Surfing in California
If you have almost 900 miles of coastline stretching alongside the Pacific Ocean, it makes sense to put it to good use.
Californians do just that, surfing their troubles away and riding the rolling waves until the sun goes down beyond the sea.
For many, surfing is a way of life, while the pastime presents itself as the perfect escape from the bustling cities of Los Angeles, San Diego or San Francisco.
As you would imagine, 900 miles of coastline means plenty of hot surfing spots.
Windansea Beach in La Jolla offers year-round surf, with waves reaching up to 10 feet, while Huntington Beach Pier carries the trademark Surf City USA – a handy nickname for a location which challenges surfers the world over.
Tennis in Ohio
Ohio is a hub for tennis, and has been for 120 years.
Supporters arrive in their thousands to descend on the Cincinnati Masters every year.
It is the oldest tennis tournament still played in its original city in the USA, and its significance means the world’s best players head to the city year after year.
The hard-court event is one of nine Masters 1000 tournaments on the men’s ATP Tour, while it’s one of five Premier 5 titles to be won on the women’s WTA Tour – both just a level down from the Grand Slams.
The tournament has helped the sport of tennis flourish across Ohio, with the Olympic Indoor tennis club in Columbus among the locations hosting tennis lessons and tournaments for all ages.