National Geographic : 1988 Jan
merica's only national religion, as sports has been dubbed, was win ning converts by the score in the 1880s. The "safety" bicycle with wheels of the same size helped make cycling the most popular outdoor sport. Football was for ruffians until Yale's coach Wal ter Camp helped devise lasting rules. His championship team of 1888 (group portrait) in cluded end Amos Alonzo Stagg (bottom), who would coach for 71 years. Baseball's ball and strike hand signals were devised to help William "Dummy" Hoy (upper right), who was deaf. Emigrating Scots and Ameri cans returning from holidays in Scotland popularized golf. Though judged as "ridiculous folly" by some, the game spread so quickly that both men's and women's amateur champion ship tournaments were held in the U. S. in 1895. John L. Sullivan demonstrated the art of pugilism with theatri cal groups and offered first $100, then $500, to any oppo nent who lasted four rounds. Sullivan went 75 rounds before besting Jake Kilrain in the na tion's last bare-knuckle bout in 1889 in Richburg, Mississippi.