Why Do We Need Sports?
Sports are physical games and competitions. These fill the need for competition, play and physical exertion. Generally these are activities that people engage in order to pass time, have fun and interact with others. However all sports are potentially competitive. This is basically the main difference between recreational, leisure or social games and sports.
Sports developed in response to the need for an interactive, competitive and high-stakes game. People could not be left to sit around doing nothing; these developed into skills that could be used in war, sport and politics. The first sports were associated with running, hunting and the arena fighting system. Later there were games like the tug of war, wrestling, boxing, billiards, tennis and skating.
There is a lot of debate as to how much of a role sport has in today’s society. Many people still associate sport with violence and aggressive behaviour, and place less emphasis on the intellectual aspects which they most certainly share with the humanities. It would seem therefore, that the decline in the popularity of sports in the humanities might relate to a reduction in physical skill and exertion. However this is highly debated and there is no consensus on this point. Sport is now seen more as an achievement than a chore.
One of the most common arguments against sports is that it encourages a certain type of ‘sport’ and leaves little room for creativity. It is said that modern society has lost the nature of the sportsman. There are far fewer sports stories in the press or on television than there were many years ago. The general attitude seems to be that sports is for the rich and famous and that those who play them are essentially parasites off the working class. This view is probably strongest among Britain’s ethnic minority communities.
On the other hand there is also the argument that modern sport is too often mindless and involves too much brute force. Modern sportsmen are generally not as skilled as their forebears. They are expected to rely purely on their strength and exertion rather than being able to think, feel or utilise their brains. This view is probably strongest among Britain’s working class, where sports have always been a powerful social force. A glance around the grounds of any major sporting arena will show that the skill of the athletes is matched by the dedication, desire and skill of the spectators.
Sport also teaches the values of fair play and self-control, qualities that are essential to good health and fitness. By placing such a high emphasis on physical exertion and skill, sport is teaching those important life skills. For children especially, playing sports can be a wonderful way of fostering independence and responsibility. By encouraging young children to embrace their physical environment and learn the skills of fair play they are nurturing a valuable skill that will last them a lifetime. For adults it is not just about having fun, it can be a great way to come back into shape and gain an increased sense of wellness and fitness. Many people find that regular participation in sport improves the quality of their work and helps them to maintain a positive attitude.