Throughout the world, sports have played a significant role in human societies. They offer influential representations of individuals and communities, and contribute to racial, national and societal integration. Sports also play a role in character formation and influencing thoughts and feelings.
A sport is a competitive physical activity. It is usually governed by a set of rules and customs. These rules ensure fair competition. They also allow for consistent adjudication of the winner.
The origin of sports dates back to ancient times. The Egyptians enjoyed sports such as wrestling and javelin throwing, while the Persians had a martial art called Zoorkhaneh. Throughout the Middle Ages, archery matches were staged with considerable fanfare. Archery companies marched behind the patron saints of archery.
Sports have been a social glue for societies. They transmit values of justice, fair play, teamwork and equality. They also contribute to the invention of traditions and communities.
Sports have also been a catalyst for liberal nationalist political struggles. In the 19th century, the Slavic gymnastics movement known as Sokol was in the forefront of the struggle for independence from Austria. In the 1930s, the Uruguayan national football team won the first World Cup. The Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia also played an ice hockey match, which was seen as a testament to national identity.
Athletes train systematically to attain the physical maximum. They then follow coaches’ scripts. During a competition, they may be subjected to penalties and handicaps. The rules of sport govern the way they handle their emotions.