Social Change and Sport
“Sport” as used in the English language is used to refer to any form of bodily activity. “Sport” has developed from an anglo-swayed usage that meant “game of the foot”. The word “sport” was originally used to refer to any kind of competitive, sporting activity. “Sport” has become a widely accepted term in the United States of America and the United Kingdom.
“Sport” is also used as an adjective to describe any physical activity that exercises humans through sport. Sport refers to any type of physical activity that aims at developing physical strength, alertness, and stamina. “Sport” as an adjective is usually used to describe recreational sports such as skating, rugby, hockey, basketball, soccer, track and field, racing, gymnastics, and sailing. In other cases it can be used to describe highly physical, competitive sporting activities.
Sport in the United States in particular has become identified with professional sports such as American football, baseball, basketball, and softball. A sport is defined as any physical activity undertaken for the purpose of achieving some goal. Professional sport is generally defined by reference to a specific sport held by professional athletes. Other examples of professional sports include motorball, sailing, racing, and synchronized swimming and diving.
Chess is often considered a sport because the game requires strategic thinking, a logical approach, and the ability to evaluate and compare two different games. For many people, especially those who consider themselves to be more logical and “minded” than the average person, chess presents a challenge in terms of strategy and perseverance. Many people do not consider chess to be a sport, but as with many other types of competitive activities, a great deal of skill and strategy is required.
Gymnastics, in common with most physical activities, is often considered a sport because it requires a lot of skill and physical strength, and it develops a number of important skills, including endurance, flexibility, body control, and balance. Modern gymnastics has developed into a very popular sport in countries such as Japan and China. Although the sport is generally seen as being for women, there are increasing numbers of men who are enrolling in gyms. Many male gymnasts are now competing in international competitions.
Sport, whether it be a sport or a non-sport, is inherently social change. The popularity of extreme sports, both in the United States and throughout the world, shows that many people are socially concerned about the state of their health and the state of society as a whole. Sport can be a vehicle through which these concerns can be articulated and change cultural norms. For example, the popularity of extreme sports like skydiving, inline skating, and BMX biking has created an active, competitive spirit among many American youths. These youths are beginning to realize the importance of healthy lifestyles and physical fitness, and they are starting to put these beliefs into action on a daily basis. This type of social change has not been seen before, and the future looks bright for the sport of mixed martial arts fighting.