Sociological Perspectives: Functionalism.
Functionalism is a macro concept of institutions, practices, and entire societies as they are created, maintained, and evolved in regards to the members within each. Within each sect, typical numbers (often large) of problems are expected to occur and be handled by utmost efficiency to survive. Expected issues for any society would be those of basic life sustaining necessities: food, shelter, defense, etc. This constant problem-resolution factor depicts the Functional idea of stability and positively integrated parts. Inside the perspective are tasks and functions of each institution or practice. Manifest functions are those that are goal oriented; something the institution wants to achieve. Latent functions are those that normally are unnoticed by the general population, but exist because of previous actions of the institution in trying to achieve an objective. .
The institution of sports is a fine example of functionalism currently in our time period. The area of sports is a socially interactive institution, beginning as recreation, comprising of members who perform in competition to gain greater recognition. As sports became more popular with the general public, an economic decision was made to evolve a recreational institution into one that also commands business objectives. American Football is a great example of "Big Business" in the sporting section. Super Bowl Sunday is one of the most watched television broadcasts all year. Advertising companies pay the millions of dollars for a 30 second ad between plays. Merchandise, from jerseys to "booble-head" players are sold in millions of units at mall shops and department stores. Players make millions of dollars playing only one season a year. .
Fame and glory are two very important ideas for many sports fans. Alternatively, schools and youth recreation centers have adopted huge sports programs to "train" young athletes into professionals.