What Makes a Sport?


A definition of sport is often difficult to find, but most of the definitions include aspects of fairness and fun. A good sport is someone who plays fairly and wins graciously. Torturous sports include, for example, making flies suffer as a form of entertainment. Other examples of fun sports include making a mockery of a stutter. Regardless of the definition, many sports are a lot of fun! Hopefully, these definitions will give you some ideas about what makes a sport.

Some philosophers have developed normative theories of sport. The first category, the strict formalist view, argues that right and wrong in sports are defined by the rules. A game is not fair if a player intentionally breaks the rules. This view opposes doping and strategic fouling in sport. The mutualist view has some resources to develop an adequate normative theory of sport. The second category, mutualist, emphasizes the cooperative effort of the players.

In ancient times, many societies practiced sport for recreation and religious worship. The ancient Greeks and Romans enjoyed preparing for war and contesting to show superior skills. They also valued the beauty of the human body. The pursuit of excellence was an important part of Hellenistic culture, as it served as a society-unifying activity. Among other benefits, participating in a sport can help you improve your performance and confidence. Aside from that, it helps you to overcome stress.

In some cultures, sport is also considered an art. Some philosophers say that art and sport have aesthetic qualities and should be considered as such. Some critics are unsure of this, but others, including Spencer K. Wertz, Hans Ulrich Gumbretch, and Wolfgang Welsch, claim that sport is an art form. So, is a sport an art? Possibly, but a more important question is: what do these characteristics have to do with aesthetics?

Conventionalists argue that a good account of sport must appeal to norms that are shared by the participants in a particular sport. A common example is the requirement for soccer players to put the ball out of play when medical assistance is needed. The principle of fair play in sport is very similar to that of traditionalists. By emphasizing the normative aspects of sport, we can better understand what makes a sport a good game. For example, the rules of football play a part in social life.

The practice of sport is often accompanied by nationalism. The use of performance-enhancing drugs by Lance Armstrong, for example, raised ethical issues regarding cheating. Middle distance runner Caster Semenya challenged the division between able-bodied and disabled athletes. Furthermore, spectators can serve as a source of income for sport clubs. Despite the potential for violence, different groups of sports fans may cause trouble at sporting events. In particular, football fans are sometimes called hooligans.