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Games (Living the Twenties #AtoZChallenge 2020)

G AtoZ Challenge 2020

Games became a craze in the 1920s. Board games and especially sports were a new mode of being together, especially for young people. 

Young men and women wanted to share their life and their spare time and did spend a lot of time doing activities together. 

A new way of spending time together

The new companionate couple changed the way young people spend their spare time. 

Up to before the war, men and women would seldom share time in the same activities. They usually engaged in different activities in different places. 

modern youth in the 1920s
Games became a craze in the 1920s. Board games and especially sports were a new mode of being together, especially for young people #history Click To Tweet

This changed when young people started to want to spend time with people of the same age, also in the view of choosing a life partner. In order to choose, they needed to be together and see the person acting and reacting with other people. Although dances and parties were the most popular events where youths engaged with each other company, sports and sports events became increasingly popular. 

The rising popularity of sports

Being in the sun had been avoided for a long time. In the 1800s, people, especially women, did all they could to protect themselves from the sun. 

rugby 1920s

But around the 1920s, doctors started to support the idea that being in the sun was actually very healthy. Young people began to be in the open air a lot more often, and one of the best things to do in the sun was sports.

Going to the beach became a favourite activity for young people. Getting tanned became fashionable after being shunned for decades as the mark of heavy labour. 

The beach allowed to show more bare skin. Bath suites became their own attire and for the first time, showing naked legs and arms became acceptable (though there were outcries against it and even police patrolling to check the shortness of the bathing suits). 

womens basketball team, Los Angeles 1920s
womens basketball team, Los Angeles 1920s

As women dresses became lighter and the corset ever more unpopular, there was very little that could shape the body of a woman. But the desirable silhouette was thinner than ever. This made dieting and physical activity extremely popular. The modern young person was a person involved in sports. 

Besides, sports events also created the opportunity to be together. Team sports, like soccer or football, often supported by colleges, became all the rage. It gave the opportunity to young men to show off their physical prowess and to women to cheer for them. 


AtoZ Book Series Banner Living the Twenties

RESOURSES

Fass, Paula S., The Damned and the Beautiful. American Youth in the 1920s. Oxford University Press, New York, 1977

Kyvig, David E., Daily Life in the United States 1920-1940. How Americans Lived Through the ‘Roaring Twenties’ and the Great Depression. Ivan R. Dee Publisher, Chicago, 2002


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AtoZ Challenge 2020 Living the Twenties Games

27 Comments

  • Birgit
    Posted April 8, 2020 at 04:07

    I didn’t realize sports didn’t really take hold u til the 1920s. I guess this means for women more.i would be interested what kind of board games were around. I have a feeling a version of Sorry was around. I think Monopoly came in in the early 30s

    • Post Author
      jazzfeathers
      Posted April 8, 2020 at 07:03

      Yes, sports seems to have become a true social ‘thing’ from the twenties, when men and women started to attend together. It’s a concept of ‘sports’ more like the one we understand today.
      Ah, I’m sorry for the board game. My intention was to inglude Mah Jong, wich was a craze in the 1920s, apparently. But then I realised I needed a lot more research. So I think I’ll inlcude that int he book 😉

  • Kristin
    Posted April 8, 2020 at 05:56

    I was wondering about board games too.

    • Post Author
      jazzfeathers
      Posted April 8, 2020 at 07:06

      I originally wanted to include a section on board games too, but I realised a research on the net would not be as useful as I thought. Need to research that on books.
      But I know that Mah Jong became a craze in the 1920s, a simplified version of the Chinese board game. And – though not really a borad game – Ouija Boards were also very popular.

  • Tarkabarka
    Posted April 8, 2020 at 10:49

    I didn’t know they had women’s basketball that early on! 🙂 How fascinating.

    The Multicolored Diary

    • Post Author
      jazzfeathers
      Posted April 9, 2020 at 09:00

      Me neither. But I’ve discovered that women had started ‘doing things’ a lot earlier than we think. Sometimes it wasn’t common, at least not so much back in time, but they still did it.

  • Tasha Duncan-Drake
    Posted April 8, 2020 at 11:40

    I’ve never been very good at sports (can’t run), but always used to enjoy just having a go. It’s hard to imagine a time before they were prevalent. Of course, these days some get taken far too seriously. There is no need to beat someone up because they support a different team to you.
    Tasha
    Virginia’s Parlour – The Manor (Adult concepts – nothing explicit in posts)
    Tasha’s Thinkings – Vampire Drabbles

    • Post Author
      jazzfeathers
      Posted April 9, 2020 at 09:02

      Yes, it is really hard to think at a time wheren sports weren’t as commonly enjoy as today. But learning of such times is one of the gift of history to us.

      And yes, I agree. Sports should bring people together to share a passion, not to foster insensible hate.

  • Anagha Yatin
    Posted April 8, 2020 at 12:02

    I am surprised to know that people from gone by era did not go out or like to go out in Sun! Thank God, things changed for the better. Sports and Sun are the two most important things one should do to keep self healthy and sane.
    I love board games. In this current lockdown situation, the board games are a great respite. I also have enough opportunity to bond over with my children over the board games.

    • Post Author
      jazzfeathers
      Posted April 9, 2020 at 09:04

      I understand there was aversion to the sun for many centuries, more for a ‘class’ factor, since being tanned meant you spent lots of time in the fealds, which meant that you needed to work on the fields, which meant that you weren’t wealthy.
      One might think the history of fashion to be shellow. It alcually says a lot about the people who follow that fashion. And that is indeed fascinating.

  • Nilanjana Bose
    Posted April 8, 2020 at 16:03

    That’s so interesting – so the ‘tennis parties’ did not exist prior to WWI? My g-word is games too but of a different kind… 🙂

    • Post Author
      jazzfeathers
      Posted April 9, 2020 at 09:05

      Apparently, up to WWI, men and women engaged in very different ways and in separated places.

  • Carrie-Anne
    Posted April 8, 2020 at 17:20

    I don’t think I’ll ever be a sporty person, though I enjoy playing basketball, tennis, and badminton for fun. I also love swimming, and hope I can finally learn how to skate properly when I’m back in an area with a year-round rink.

    • Post Author
      jazzfeathers
      Posted April 9, 2020 at 09:06

      Can’t say I’m a sporty person either. Though I do some exercises (I’ve discovered yoge a couple of years ago and I love it), and I do enjoy following some of the sports.

  • msjadeli
    Posted April 9, 2020 at 03:47

    So strange to think that before the 1920s men and women didn’t engage in social activities together outside.

    • Post Author
      jazzfeathers
      Posted April 9, 2020 at 09:07

      True, isn’t it? But before the 1920s (and even after) there were a lot of things that were considered ‘unladylike’ and best avoided by women.

  • Shweta Suresh
    Posted April 9, 2020 at 10:42

    I’m surprised to know that women did all they could to prevent exposure to the sun in 1800s. Good that it changed! Couldn’t believe about the “moral” policing to check the shortness of skirts and all. It’s a good thing that sports became quite the rage.

    • Post Author
      jazzfeathers
      Posted April 10, 2020 at 10:05

      Ture, eh? thinking abotu some of this things today, it seems impossible. Things that we do without even thinking about it, had to be conquered by our ancestors.

  • Anne Nydam
    Posted April 11, 2020 at 00:14

    Of course the obsession with tanning led in its turn to skin cancer, and now we are once again trying not to get too much sun… while make-up companies try to sell us products to give us that tanned looked anyway. Fashion is indeed shallow. But I’m glad we can all play games together now!
    (Click the Blog link on the second row) : G is for Gotham

    • Post Author
      jazzfeathers
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 09:24

      I suppose that too much of anything – even of a good thing – becomes bad. Besides, promoting being in the sun, solved a few health problem back in the 1920s.

  • Steven Malone
    Posted April 13, 2020 at 17:00

    Loved this post, Sarah. I have a picture of my aunt and her high school baseball team. While their coach wasn’t watching, the girls rolled up the shorts to show more leg. Don’t know what the photographer thought or was aware of but he took the shot. I still grin whenever I see that pic. My father was the youngest of seven. Five sisters. All made five made sure they had a good education. And all spent most of their lives earning their own living while married and raising their children. Survived the Great Depression and the trials of WWII. Life was an adventure to these strong, independent ladies, children of the 1920s.

    • Post Author
      jazzfeathers
      Posted April 14, 2020 at 09:37

      Steven, thanks for that story about the photo. It’s priceless!!!! I’d love to see it.

  • The Dream Girl
    Posted April 13, 2020 at 21:13

    If sports didn’t exist then I don’t know how I would gotten through my childhood!

    • Post Author
      jazzfeathers
      Posted April 14, 2020 at 09:37

      I know. The XX century really made a different for women on that field.

  • Ronel Janse van Vuuren
    Posted April 15, 2020 at 16:21

    “It gave the opportunity to young men to show off their physical prowess and to women to cheer for them.” Well, that hasn’t changed 🙂

    An A-Z of Faerie: Gancanagh

  • Ella
    Posted November 25, 2020 at 06:26

    Things that we do without even thinking about it had to be conquered by our ancestors. It gave the opportunity to young men to show off their physical prowess and to women to cheer for them. I also love swimming and hope I can finally learn how to skate properly when I’m back in an area with a year-round rink.

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