The Definition of Sport
What today perceive to be sport can be different than what others of a century ago perceived to be sport. What was seen as sport back then might be viewed as completely different today; with youth participation in organized sports and recreational activities at all ages being commonplace. What is sport for one person might be considered totally lame by someone else. The idea of a sport is relative, dependent upon the observer’s point of view, something that might be seen as irrelevant by someone else. Sport has taken on many forms, what is regarded as sport in one case might not be in another, and is always constantly changing depending on societal trends, traditions, and other factors.
As with most things in life, people have a healthy mind and healthy body, and both play a role in the definition of sport. Sport, like most things that we enjoy, is usually a reflection of who we are and what we value. For example, people who participate in physical contact sports like football or boxing will generally have a healthy body. Likewise, those who take part in activities like yoga, martial arts, or dancing will have a healthy mind.
Sports can also be a way to measure success or a competition between individuals. Those who are highly skilled and competitive tend to be more happy than others who are not. For this reason, most people would agree that a person who participates in highly competitive sports are happier than others. And, the more physical and mental exertion a sport requires, the happier the participant.
A sport is often defined by its rules or structure. These are typically agreed to beforehand by the stakeholders (athletes, coaches, governing bodies) of the sport itself. The purpose behind a sport’s rules is to prevent competitors from using unfair advantages over each other and to eliminate unbecoming conduct, but the rules of sport often become a point of compromise. Frequently, there is a degree of dispute about the interpretation of a particular rule set; therefore, it is important for the sport itself and its stakeholders to find a common solution. Commonly, common interpretations center on what is considered to be unsportsmanlike or unfair conduct, rather than on what is viewed as necessary conduct.
A sport can also be defined according to its impact on the participants. This is very similar to the definition of a sport itself: the game has an effect on its participants, whether directly or indirectly. It may directly cause harm to participants, or cause indirect harm through the norms and values of the sport itself. Some have said that sports can provide a venue for social learning and development, which helps to reduce social problems in society at large. As well as this direct effect, many athletes and sports fans believe that they create a sense of loyalty among participants, creating an environment of team and individual support that is beneficial to overall health and wellness.
A sport can be described as an association with a group of people, where participants take part in a regular activity involving physical exertion and skill. The activities may take many different forms, including contact sports such as football or soccer, but can also include activities such as horse riding or ice skating. Often, sport involves competitive behaviour between rivals or groups; some examples are sailing or basketball. However, this definition does not encompass all possible forms of activity between people; in fact, the definition is very broad and encompasses any physical endeavour involving skill, strength and/or speed.