When you think of sport, what do you think of? Do you think of contact sports like ice hockey, softball, soccer, lacrosse, basketball, golf, tennis, track and field, or American football? Or do you think of games with rules like horse racing, cricket, billiards, hockey, rugby, and soccer? If it’s the latter, then you probably have a pretty narrow definition of what sport is. The more inclusive definition of “sport” you use, the more likely it is that you’ll have fun, be healthy and have a good time.
Incorporating sport into the meaning of “sport” has been a touchy subject for several decades. Thanks to the explosion of high-definition broadcasts on television and the wide spread use of electronic media like the internet, there are some new questions that are being asked about what constitutes a sport. There are even people who say that we don’t need a word for sports anymore because sports means competition. While there may be some truth to that idea (if there were no real competition, wouldn’t everyone be playing basketball and softball instead of baseball? ), there are plenty of examples of real-world sports competition that we’ve come to love.
Consider some of the most popular spectator sports: horse racing, tennis, soccer, Australian football, motor racing, and the Open. Each of these has evolved into huge events with multiple contests and large-time payouts with enormous public interest. As for the word “sport,” many of the people who use it would likely define it in different ways. For some, the term sports could encompass any athletic competition, while others would use it only to describe horse racing and football.
The word sport also applies to the physical competitions that occur outside of organized sports. Beach volley, surfing, beach volleyball, luging, synchronized swimming and diving, cycling, and skydiving are all examples of outdoor sports competitions. They all share the essential elements of sports competition, such as rules, timing, and scoring. However, unlike sports competitions held inside a stadium or arena, these events take place on private or public beaches, often sponsored by special interests. Some of these beach volleyball and surfing events draw millions of spectators.
Modern sports, especially the modern version of American football, has evolved into a multimillion-dollar business, with television and print coverage, and large-scale sponsorship and advertising. It’s easy to see why people think of sports when they consider something as universal as professional baseball. But Greek sports do not rely on the modern-day tools and technologies that define modern sports. The history of Greek sports, such as wrestling, bicep curls, and jumping, is filled with stories of contest, hardship, and camaraderie, as well as sportsmanship.
Greek sports are more than just physical contests. They also teach lessons of citizenship, honor, and sacrifice. Sports help us develop emotionally and mentally, giving us the tools to deal with change and conflict in our lives. In today’s world, many people have chosen to study abroad in an effort to pursue a sport for which it was invented, such as bicep curls for men or dolphin kick for women. And while it may seem strange to say that sports can help us cope with the changing cultural currents of the 20th century, there is no doubt that this is a very real possibility.