Sports (or physical sports) is any forms of generally competitive physical activity that, though not necessarily competitive, aim to utilize, exercise or enhance specific physical abilities and traits while providing enjoyment to participants, and sometimes, spectators. While most people automatically think of popular sports like American football, baseball, basketball, tennis, golf and soccer when discussing the word “sport,” other sports have long since developed their own dedicated fan base and professional leagues in countries like Japan, China, South Africa, Australia, and the United States. This article will not discuss those sports individually, but will instead discuss them in their respective contexts so as to provide insight on the sport of your choice.
Physical exertion is often the key factor behind why sporting activity is widely accepted as a social activity throughout the world. Most sports involve some sort of exertion or challenge to the body; whether it be through sprinting to complete the given course, lifting weights, throwing the ball, or even running up and down a set of stairs. The exact amount of exertion needed, however, will vary from sport to sport, and is usually expressed in terms of time or intensity. For example, football players expend a great deal of energy when playing soccer, tennis players will need to engage in a consistent amount of hitting and serving during an entire game, and athletes engaged in intense bodyweight exercises will require a great deal of physical strength to perform the above activities. Similarly, the exact amount of effort exerted will also differ for different sports; for example, professional cyclists may only need to exert a small amount of force to pedal quickly and accurately, whereas Olympic divers may spend several seconds at a time under pressure at the bottom of the pool. Therefore, it can be said that physical exertion is the common defining feature of many sports.
Although most sports involve some sort of competition between competing teams or individuals, there are a number of sports that place greater emphasis on individual performances than competition, or even mass media exposure. These are typically known as autotelic sports, which literally means “with oneself”. Athletes in these types of sports generally engage in physical challenges with themselves, rather than engaging in competitions with other competitors, where the goal is simply to win. For instance, many swimmers will spend considerable time running backwards in order to boost their swimming speed, and mountain climbers may spend long periods trekking up and down rocks and boulders in pursuit of the mark or variety.
Another example of a sport that places an emphasis on skill rather than brute force is table tennis. Table tennis is a sport where players take turns striking each other with a tennis ball (called a tennis racket) with a paddle or spike. Although players utilize a similar form of skill throughout the game, there is also considerable skill required to hit the ball with precision, with the spike being primarily used for scoring points and stopping the opponent from scoring. Table tennis is currently the most popular spectator sport in the UK and Europe.
The arena in which sport takes place may differ depending on the type of sport you’re referring to. A sport that places a great deal of skill on physical challenges such as boxing can also be staged as a contest between two trained fighters using only their hands. This is commonly seen in televised “shoot” style competitions between professional boxers, or in street-style contests pitting fighters from differing disciplines against one another. These displays of skill are designed to entertain, while promoting combative skills that are necessary for modern combat.
There is no debating that modern society largely rewards participation in any number of competitive activities. From chess to skiing and from track and field to curling, nearly every form of sport has been commercialized and made available to the masses. As a result, competition has increased both within and outside of the sporting arena. As a result, there are more opportunities for spectators to watch not only professional matches, but even obscure high school and college games, amateur bouts, or local events that individuals may wish to follow. All of this is helping to promote a strong sense of community and promote athletic activity.