Elements of religion have been a part of organized sports for more than 100 years. While watching a sporting event it’s common to see a player point to the sky, thanking God for allowing them to score a touchdown or to hit a game winning home run. Some athletes bring their faith onto the field such as former Philadelphia Eagles player Reggie “the minister of defense” White and current Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow. Some athletes use their fame to promote their religious beliefs and generate controversy about whether it is appropriate to do so.
In this edition of That’s History, Jonathan Zimmerman discusses the relationship between religion and sports and the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA). The Historical Society’s collections include information on the YMCA and both amateur and professional sports organizations. Please visit the library at 1300 Locust St. or search our collections online.
YMCA building at 15th and Chestnut St. c. 1901
Scenes of sports and other recreational activities at YMCA