America's love of sports goes back a long way. Baseball, basketball, and football all came of age in America of the 1800s. While men like Abner Doubleday may not have invented these sports, they did much to popularize them as rules were officially standardized and national-level organizations were founded. Amateur (and, later, professional) teams sprang up in towns, factories, and schools across America and rooting for the home team built strong community bonds and stimulated (usually) friendly rivalries. From horse racing to boxing to competitive target shooting, Americans would watch, cheer for, and bet on just about any contest of strength and skill. The growing class of Americans with leisure and money to spare discovered tennis and golf and polo, and women for the first time participated in competitive sports. Long before the World Series and the Super Bowl, Americans were idolizing their favorite athletes, while they played and watched sports with enthusiasm.
Like people all over the world, Mexicans enjoy playing and watching a wide variety of sports. Some of these sports are familiar to Americans, such as soccer (which Mexicans call fútbol) and baseball. Others are not as well known, such as charrería, a form of rodeo that is unique to Mexico. Mexicans enjoy many other sports, such as handball, bullfighting, jai alai, swimming, and long-distance running. This book provides an overview of many of the most popular sports of Mexico, along with biographical information about some of the country's greatest athletes.