The original use of the term "All-America" seems to have been in reference to a list of college football players who were regarded as the best at their respective positions. The first "All-America" team was the 1889 College Football All-America Team selected by Caspar Whitney and published in This Week's Sports in association with Walter Camp.[
I don't know if Walter Camp invented the term when he self nominated the first class of football All Americans, or if he derived the term from someone other than himself. It seems that in our day and age we are prone to glorification of individuals for many reasons. We use the word 'hero' attributing it to soldiers, firemen, and a few other random individuals who by someone's definition calls them by that moniker. It seems throughout history that whenever we want to sell an idea or a potentially unpopular event like a war, we have to create a few heroes to get public buy in or to get a war weary public to continue to buy in. Only recently our government decided to award medals fifty years late, because some heroes did not fit the racial or ethnic standards of our nation in that period. I had an uncle who served in the Battle of the Bulge who told me a black soldier took a bullet for him, but that soldier was never awarded anything for his act. I also believe that Paul Robson, an African American, was named to one of Camp's early teams and had that honor revoked later in his theatrical and operatic career when he made known his leftist sympathies.
First Known Use of ALL-AMERICAN
Definition of ALL-AMERICAN
Wikipedia gives the standard for college track and field All-American.
It looks as if the USTFCCA sets the standards.
My Question. If a relay team composed of a Jamaican with an American mother , a Burundian , a Jordanian born in the U.S. but who has retained his Jordanian citizenship through his parents, and an American citizen born in Barbados but with the voice of an Irish tenor finishes third in the DIII Distance Medley. Are they all four All Americans?
My other question. Should someone lose his/her All American status if they are later to commit a felony, or be expelled from school for cheating, or maybe for doing some other dastardly deed? Paul Robson certainly did.
Just thought of another question. If a runner breaks an American record or has an extraordinary series of performances during the season but is injured and cannot compete in the NCAA meet or is injured in the meet or is DQ'd, should they be an All American?
Anyway, here is the discussion between two of my friends about the matter. I'm sure this will elicit some strong opinions from our readers, and we encourage them to chime in. Let me also state that neither I nor the other two chaps are All Americans. Not to say we aren't nice guys.