Why Do People Play Sport?
“Sport” is the definitive buzzword for UK society today. “Sport” is a word that can encompass many different activities. “Sport” is also a broad term that encompasses any activity deemed to be practiced for fun, as part of a competition, or as part of training. Sports are often viewed as the domain of elite athletes and those with high budgets. In contrast, “non-sport” is a term that is used frequently by low budget organisations and people who want to take up recreational sports. “Non-sport” can also be used in place of “sports” to describe any recreation that people do on their own, such as horse riding, clay shooting, paintballing, mountain climbing, canoeing, hiking, rock climbing and running.
“Sport” has therefore become an increasingly vague term with the growth of “all sporting activity”. “All sporting activity” includes participation in contact sports, but excludes non-sport activities. “Athletic activity” is used to describe any kind of physical exertion, even if the activity does not involve contact. It is this expanding use of the term that makes Sport refer to any type of physical exertion. Sport can therefore include activities such as swimming, tennis, bowling, golf, rugby, soccer, horse riding, basketball and hockey.
The idea that there is some inherent skill or level of skill required to participate in certain sports goes back to the origin of the sport itself. “Darts” is a classic example of a sport where skill is not necessarily required; skills are acquired through the competition of aim and dexterity. The sport of darts began in the 1820’s as a contest between two men, James Naquet and Arthur Woolf. The first recorded game of darts was won by Naquet.
While skill is an important aspect of sporting activity, the spirit behind it is paramount. The aim of the sport is not merely to win, but to have fun. It is true that sport involves physical exertion and may cause injuries, but the spirit behind it is not to suffer in the name of sportiness. There is a reason why many of us enjoy watching the antics of athletes at the gym. It is not because we want to build muscle mass. In fact, the gym is a source of great enjoyment for many people, and we can certainly benefit from training in order to build our muscles without using sport as an excuse.
Many would say that competitive nature is necessary for enjoyment, but this is not necessarily true. Competitive nature may make certain games more fun to play, but it does not necessary necessitate ability. For instance, when you play a sport such as chess, or a game such as bingo, you do so with the hope of winning. Winning is important because you get to tell other people that you conquered the game. However, most people who play such competitive games are doing so because they enjoy the mental challenge that the sport provides and do not really expect to win.
It may be argued that sport encourages competitiveness, but this should not really be the case. On the contrary, I would argue that the opposite is really true: sport encourages teamwork and mutual trust. When you play a sport you develop your skills in order to increase your chances of winning, but you also develop friendships that last a lifetime and share the experience of overcoming challenges.