Sports (or physical sport) is any form of normally competitive physical activity that, through organised or casual participation, intention to use, improve or maintain certain physical abilities and traits for the purpose of gaining, participating or entertaining others, and sometimes, spectators. These can be undertaken by competitive athletes in Olympic-sized events, or by ordinary people in local sports competitions, such as those arranged by schools, local organizations or communities. Although sports may be regarded as games or physical contests, the word “sports” itself is used broadly, to include a wide variety of games, activities and competitions. Some games and activities are designed to measure or evaluate the level of ability of participants; for example, track events are considered a type of competition. However, the term “sport” has become increasingly vague, given the emergence of a number of specific and different types of sporting activity. Among the various traditional sports, football and basketball are perhaps two of the most famous and most recognized sports, though there are numerous others.
In North America, the most well-known sports franchises are the Chicago Bears and the NFL, both of which enjoy enormous popularity in North America and Europe alike. The word “Chicago” in the title “Chicago Bears” and the term “NFL” are not only used to identify the team and the league itself, but have also become synonymous with the term “professional sports.” The word “professional” in the name “professional sports” refers to the level of professionalism of the team or organization in question. Similarly, in Canada, “professional” is commonly used to describe the level of play in professional leagues, including the Canadian Football League, or CFL. The word “amateeline” comes from the term “amateur” used to describe non-professional sports.
As in other fields, sports terminology and jargon can vary widely depending on the topic. One thing is clear: the term “sports” can encompass a great variety of activities, but many of the words used to describe these activities are gender specific. For example, whereas the word “men’s soccer” would be used to describe a game that involves men playing against other men, the term “women’s soccer” would be used to describe a game involving women players. Sports which are predominantly male involve much more exertion on the part of the participants; however, for sports which are predominantly female, the participants may not use as much physical force to win the game, but they do exert more mental effort. For example, during a women’s soccer game, the players may be less concerned with winning the game than they are with scoring the most number of goals (which makes the game more competitive).
The term “baseball” is often used to describe any sort of athletic activity that involves throwing a ball. The most common form of competitive baseball is “professional” baseball, which is played by teams or independent baseball leagues in every city, state, and country. “Amateur” baseball (which is the same as “boardroom baseball”) is an athletic activity in which players engage in a very competitive, one-on-one game against other amateurs, often using several different types of equipment including bats and catchers (which can vary considerably in style and brand from year to year). Both professional and amateur baseball have rules which protect the participant, such as limiting the number of fouls that can be committed during a game, establishing a maximum number of runs or hits allowed, etc.
Some sports that are commonly thought of as recreational activities (e.g., swimming, hiking, bicycling, horseback riding) actually have roots in professional sports. For example, fencing and snorkeling have evolved from tennis matches. Similarly, other sports which were considered serious sports when first introduced (e.g., ice skating, motorcycling) have developed roots in various professional sports which continue to keep the sport fresh and available to participants who want to partake in an activity involving physical exertion and skill (e.g., skateboarding and BMX biking).
Finally, some sports that many people mistakenly think of as being recreational activities have developed roots in professional sports. Tennis, for instance, developed out of tennis matches. Football started out as lacrosse and has come to include various elements of offense and defense, which originated with football. Likewise, baseball developed out of baseball games, which used to be outdoor activities held by teams and organized by clubs. Therefore, whether you call sports such as basketball, softball, baseball, volleyball, soccer, hockey, football, rugby, cricket, or lacrosse, the basic principles that they stand for still apply.