Before digital photos there were film photos. When photographers needed to photograph indoor sports in black & white, they could use Kodak Recording Film 2475. When printed, this film showed coarse grain, but viewers could consider such graininess as a special effect.
Kodak Recording Film 2475 had a very high, ISO rating—3200. As such, it was great for recording moving, sports figures (such as in basketball and hockey) indoors when the light levels were low or diffused. Photographers could use somewhat high shutter speeds (1/125 sec. or 1/250 sec.) to freeze action.
Photographers using this film usually developed it in their own darkrooms. Common developers were DK-50 and HC-110. Due to its thick, film base, this film was very difficult to load into small, ratchet type and spiral, developing reels so that the wound, film sections did not touch each other. (Developing fluid would miss some areas, causing uneven and incorrect development If the wound, film sections touched each other.)
Graininess in color prints was not generally accepted as artistic special effects. Such usually meant that the photographer chose the wrong film or the wrong film speed. Improper development could also be the cause of graininess in color prints.
Of course, to make grainy, sports prints more artistic and exciting, photographers needed to capture action at peak moments. A Chicago Bulls player knocking a basketball out of the basket would be such a peak moment. A broomball player being swept into the net would be such a moment. A Chicago Blackhawks player breaking his hockey stick would be such a moment.
Nowadays, it is nigh impossible to find any film, especially Kodak Recording Film 2475. Even if you had such film, you probably could not develop the film because photo supply stores would probably not stock or sell DK-50 or HC-110. Ah, film graininess as a special effect has become a lost or fading art.