Whether or not you love sports, you should understand why they are important. They can promote physical health, improve players’ ability, and enhance spectators’ enjoyment of a game. They can also illustrate national identity politics.
Sports are defined as competitive physical activities that are governed by rules and customs. They may be organized or impromptu. Some sports involve multiple winners, while others are single-sided contests.
In the modern era, sports became autotelic physical contests for adults, in place of traditional pastimes. Some sports embodied national character, while others represented national interests. These were often tied to the fortunes of male athletes.
In the late 17th century, the concept of a sports record was developed. This system of comparable measures and scoring was introduced in England.
The concept of a sport was applied to a wide range of physical activities, including swimming, track and field, and golf. A number of sports are still considered to be sports, such as cricket and volleyball.
In addition to physical exertion, sports require participants to learn skills and manage their emotions. As a result, they can be characterized as rewarding or depressing. Losing can be a disappointment, while winning can cause pressure to perform better in the next match.
Sports can be used to undermine national identity, as exemplified by the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe. The Soviet Union suppressed reformist efforts in Hungary and Czechoslovakia in 1956 and 1968. They also suppressed reformist efforts in South Africa in 1975, when the “Cape Coloureds” won the right to participate in sport.