Jessie L. Embry begins a study of women's sports in the Church by placing it in the larger context of women's sports in America beginning in the 19th century, with some emphasis on basketball. Sports for women in the Church began in the 1860's, when Brigham Young put a gymnasium in his home and encouraged all his children to exercise. Later, ward cultural halls were converted to gymnasiums, and the Deseret Gym was built. Certain days of the week were made into "women only" days at this gym. The concept of women's sports in general and in particular in the Church were similar--that sports for men taught lessons about character, while sports for women were to make friends and enjoy physical activity. Starting in the 1950's the Church provided many more opportunities for women to compete in volleyball, softball, and basketball. The article goes on to examine later recreation manuals published by the Church for girls and women. Sports on a Church-wide level tapered off a bit in the 1980's, partly because some wards did not have the resources, and partly because many people no longer had the time. Currently, sports programs in the Church for both men and women do not receive the emphasis they once did, and are subject to local and regional influences.