Sports (or sporting activities) is any types of generally competitive physical activity that, through organised or casual activity, attempt to employ, exercise or enhance physical capability and skill while providing entertainment for participants, and at times, spectators. Today, there are thousands of sports and athletic activities to choose from. Some popular sports include soccer, golf, tennis, softball, swimming, basketball, hockey, golf, sailing, racing and football. Each sport is characterized by specific rules and regulations governing how it can be played, as well as the level of participation and degree of skill required. Most sports are characterized by a particular style of play, with rules specifying the type of actions that may be taken during a game.
Football is probably the most popular sports in the world, with almost a quarter of the adult population regularly playing the game. The object of the game is for players to land a touchdown without being penalized, or for the team to score more points than the other team. A variety of different rules govern the game, including the location of the kicker (which may not be on the same side as the ball), the field dimensions, and the actions of the players once the play has started. Because of its popularity and the fast-paced nature of most football games, many people find it difficult to avoid injury, especially the more elderly and young people who participate in the sport.
There are many other non-physical disciplines that may be considered sports or leisure, such as swimming, tennis, basketball, sailing, aerobics, diving, surfing and synchronized swimming. These sports ensure fair competition and have grown in popularity in recent years. With increased travel and exposure, many more non-physical sports have become accessible to the general public. In the United States, for example, the National Collegiate Athletic Association or NCAA offers men and women a wide selection of sports for their individual and competitive pursuits.
Though most people associate the competition of sports with physical dexterity, there are many other factors that contribute to the intensity of the sport. For instance, although lacrosse is primarily a game of stick-and-ball, its origins can be traced to a game of war strategy and hand-to-hand combat. Today’s youth lacrosse players spend hours practicing a highly sophisticated skill for which they practice until their bones go kaput. The skills they acquire form lacrosse also prepare them for future athletic pursuits, including football and lacrosse. Although lacrosse is primarily a physical dexterity sport, the history of the game demonstrates that it has also helped shape the values and ethics of its participants.
The importance of sport and sports in our society is continually growing. Youth and the young at heart are taking up the game with greater vigor than ever before, as evidenced by the phenomenal number of high school and college teams in North America today. Most youngsters consider participating in some type of sports a vital part of their socialization and cultural development. This attitude toward sports and other recreational opportunities is a good example of the positive aspects of sporting culture.
As mentioned earlier, youth sport and sports programs can offer a number of positive aspects to an individual and his or her life. These programs instill skills, develop leadership qualities, introduce people to the benefits of physical fitness and exercise, and create a healthy environment in which to participate in positive social activities. The influence of sports and other recreational opportunities can extend well beyond the immediate vicinity of the facility or team where a child spends his or her time. The exposure to a wide range of talents and environments can prove invaluable when considering the options for young people who wish to pursue an athletic career.