This week, week four, our class is looking at the early history of American sports. The reading I had, for group A, was called The Triangle of Empire: Sport, Religion, and Imperialism in Puerto Rico’s YMCA, 1898–1926, I will be looking at two quotes that I believe sum up and really represent what this article entails.

This reading focused on the history of Puerto Rico’s YMCA, where it started, how it was originally run, and how it changed and evolved through time. The first quote I want to mention really lays out the whole article and is the main point, “This article will demonstrate that along with a military and missionary invasion, a new approach to play and recreation—known as sports—became an imperial tool in the attempt to transform Puerto Ricans to fit American values”. At the beginning of the article it talks about how Puerto Rico’s YMCA, standing for Young Men’s Christian Association, was originally established to encourage the Christian faith along with healthy physical education. The article talked about how the YMCA organization was committed to and associated fitness to a Christian’s way of life. In its beginning it was a very enclosed society that was known for being a little bit racist. Women along with black and mulatto young men were excluded from the YMCA. White elite women however were allowed and became popular in sports like basketball in Puerto Rico. Religion was another big thing looked at in this article and how it had a hand in Puerto Rico’s YMCA organization. In the reading it talked about how when the United States was involved there was a stronger push for Christianity. As Puerto Rico’s YMCA grew bigger and bigger it became a lot more than just somewhere to exercise with other Christians. The YMCA started offering educational help, a bigger social life environment for one to join, Bible studies, and as always the gymnasium. However, during and after the 1898 invasion and the Spanish American War, Catholic-Protestant dynamics fought back against the Christian teachings and tests within the YMCA. Considering a majority of the population was Catholic the YMCA pulled away from more Christian values and teachings. After all this turmoil between religions the YMCA sort of took a step back from pushing religion and focussed on sports. This is exemplified here, “Noting the popularity of sports and the lack of interest in Bible classes, the YMCA gave emphasis to physical fitness and sport”.