Sports are generally governed either by a strict code of ethics or by a set of unwritten rules or traditions, which help to ensure fair play and let consistent adjudication of a winner. In most organized sports, records of past performance are maintained, and this information can be openly reported or revealed in sports reporting or news. Unwritten rules are in place to prevent players from deliberately trying to hurt another player, or from deliberately trying to win a game for personal gain. Professional sport involves a lot of money, so it is not uncommon for some players to try to gain unfair advantage over opponents to increase their own pay. These competitive juices can then get out of hand, with players resorting to physical abuse, such as shoving, punching and kicking.
A sport is generally defined as any physical activity that requires participants to use the majority of their body, with little effort or physical effort, such as sport fishing, rugby, bobsledding, cycling, tennis and swimming. However, there are many sports that don’t fit this description, such as ice hockey, swimming, polo and horse racing. The difference between these two types of physical activity is based on their primary use, which can differ drastically. Sport refers to any physical activity that makes it difficult to perform any other activity.
Most sports are competitive but not necessarily based entirely on physical ability; skills are used instead to win, while strength is used to prevent being defeated. This means that while skill is required in many sports, physical power is much more important in contact sports. Competitors in most sports can ‘talk’ to each other during a competition, so it is clear that the physical aspect of the sport needs to be considered alongside the skill. Competitors in a game like Ultimate Fighting are clearly relying on their strength rather than their skill, but they do have a certain degree of skill.
While sport can include both skill and physical ability, many sport activities are based entirely on skill, especially competitive sports. The rules and regulations for each sport can vary dramatically, so the activity needs to consider whether it is playing a game that could potentially result in a penalty, or if the participant is participating in an activity that doesn’t involve a fine or suspension. Many games involving contact are played outside, so players are usually required to wear protective gear in order to play.
The World Health Organization (WHO) is the UN agency responsible for establishing conventions for international sports and their certification. The WHO also provides guidelines for certification and participation based on sports activities, sport terms and terminology, equipment and safety standards. The United States Olympic Committee, the governing body for gymnastics, tennis and swimming, as well as the National Lacrosse Association also provides guidelines for athletic organizations and governing bodies. These non-governmental organizations have been established to promote sports around the world by providing information, standards and certification and by organizing sporting events.
In Canada, the Canadian Sports Bureau is the sole regulator of athletics activities. In the United States, the US Olympic Committee, the National Hockey League and the US National Anti-Doping Agency are responsible for regulating both professional and amateur athletics. A person can become involved in a sports activity either as a participant, coach, trainer or spectator.