“There was a pagan delight in display of muscle, in the strongman stunts, the braggadocio, and even scanty costumes of wrestlers that offended the nice people”

Works-In-Process

As Morton and O’Brien explain, about the Victorian era,

Burly sports did not fit into the selectivity of the gentleman’s athletic club, early YMCA exercise programs or fledgling collegiate sports. There was a pagan delight in display of muscle, in the strongman stunts, the braggadocio, and even scanty costumes of wrestlers that offended the nice people, those who advocated muscular Christianity in the schools and promoted Victorian team sports in public. Also wrestling and boxing as immediately intelligible contests quickly attracted the immigrant hordes as participants and spectators. The new arrivals were changing both the ethnic mix and the labor force in America. For all these reasons the ruling set saw wrestling and boxing as manifestations of forces in America they disliked [and] feared. (32)

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