Sports (or physical activities undertaken for fun or recreation) is any forms of generally competitive physical activity that, through organised or casual participation, seek to employ, enhance or maintain personal skill and/or physical aptitude while also providing entertainment for participants, and sometimes, spectators. Sports are often associated with a particular sport or activity, such as skiing, basketball, cricket, table tennis, swimming, golf, rugby, or track and field. Sports can also encompass a particular sport or activity, such as gymnastics, ice skating, badminton, fencing, or hockey. Sports have been present for decades and have become an integral part of the academic, athletic and social life of countless people.
The modern sports world is governed by a number of different factors, including economics, politics, socialization and interest groups. Sports can promote healthy lifestyles and physical dexterity, but are often expensive, time consuming and traumatic for both athletes and spectators alike. Studies have shown that participation in sports lowers blood pressure, heart rate and improves mental health, but these gains are short-lived and athletes and spectators alike quickly return to their normal levels of activity. Sport, like other competitive environments, breeds individuals who work harder, sleep longer and consume more calories than their non-competitive peers.
The advent of the modern age coincides with the rise of the popularity of organized sports, such as fencing, field hockey and racquetball. However, in nineteenth century Europe, when Europeans first began immigrating to the United States, the idea of organized sports was still new, and there was little impetus to develop higher level competitive athletics. As a result, early Americans were not yet used to watching athletes compete on an equal basis. As more immigrants immigrated to the United States, especially from European countries where sports were far more common, and with an eye toward improving physical education and socialization in the new country, the idea of sanctioned sports gradually took hold as an important part of the American culture.
The idea of sanctioned sports is often associated with professional, competitive athletics, but it is also found in less competitive, but similar arenas in many aspects of modern society. Many children, for example, play sport games such as hopscotch or console without the added pressure of an official scorekeeper. Adults, on the other hand, also play games like bingo or keno with the added anxiety of trying to win. Because of the increased social interaction associated with sports, the idea of a ‘sports league’ quickly spread throughout American society and helped create professional sports leagues such as the National Football League and the National Basketball Association.
Sports competitions, such as sailing, football and tennis, quickly became popular sports for the masses. As America’s population grew, so did the number of professionally run sporting events. Sports enthusiasts developed clubs in every city and created amateur competitions as well, which helped to fuel the competitive spirit that is so prevalent in modern society. Even today, there are countless amateur and professional athletic events throughout the country, from baseball to softball to swimming.
Although the modern sports world has changed tremendously, the spirit behind it remains the same. Many Americans enjoy a healthy love of sports, and the passion they have for their favorite teams and players has remained consistent throughout our history. Whether it’s a particular sport, a particular team, or just something that you like to do as a hobby, sports seem to fit the bill for all of us. Sports are not only fun, but they can help you get away from the pressures of daily life and enjoy a little bit of what life has to throw at you!