“Sport” is the generic term for any sport that people play or participate in. In the United States alone there are hundreds of recognized sports. Some popular sports include American football, baseball, basketball, golf, hockey, motor racing, rugby, tennis, speed skating and sailing. Professional sport is generally considered to be professional wrestling or mixed martial arts.
“Sport” can also refer to an event in which an individual competing uses physical skill to meet an objective. “Sport” can also mean skill, desire, or even luck. In other words, sport includes all types of human exertion, which through organised or casual competition, aim at improving or expressing physical fitness, mental health and/or social interactivity, forming social bonds or achieving objectives. Organised sport may include professional competition, such as running, swimming, tennis, golf, basketball, softball, football, sailing, hockey, softball, motor racing, gymnastics, wrestling, motorbike racing, horse riding and motorcycling.
Professional sport involves a marked degree of skill on the part of the participants. Whether deliberately aiming to gain an advantage over another participant or participating with a view to compete, skill is necessary. Many would argue that skill alone is what distinguishes sportspeople from the crowd and, if skill alone were the only defining criterion for being successful in sport, then the audience for sport would be composed of people who could hardly read a sports report or attend a sporting event without being able to identify the winner. Therefore, even though the objective of winning may exist, the subjective element of skill ensures that the result is subjective.
The basic definition of sport is “the sporting activities in which humans compete to win a trophy” (Webster’s Fourth Collegiate Dictionary, Third Edition). The most important criteria for defining sport is its ability to be defined. Competitions may be physical or non-physical, competitive or non-competitive. The outcome of a competition is determined by the strength of both an individual’s individual skills and the team’s combined skills.
The second most important criteria for the definition of sport is the interaction of the sport with others. Humans need to exercise and compete so that our physical and psychological processes can be optimally undertaken. In sport, the outcomes are determined by the exertion of skill and so the definition of a sport requires a clear understanding of the relationship between skill and action. Individual skill and the group skill of the team are essential components of any sport.
In sport, the outcomes are generally dependent on physical exertion, especially of the competitive nature. In international sports competitions, the very success of the sporting event depends largely on the intensity of physical effort of the competing teams. In a well established event like the Olympics, each country has a number of athletes with different strengths and abilities, and the event is often won by the team with the best combined ability, which is also often a combination of sports abilities.