Sport is the subject of numerous philosophical discussions. The root meaning of the word is often linked to some sort of struggle between the forces of good and evil, or of right and wrong. In many cases those who debate on the meaning of sport fail to distinguish between contact sports such as soccer and contact sports such as rugby. It would be more correct to say that in the case of contact sports, sport can simply mean any game that involves a ball and its participants.
“Sport” can therefore be used in two different contexts, either with reference to the physical activity it enables, or as a description of particular sporting activities. “Social sport” is frequently used to describe non-contact sports such as swimming, basketball, tennis and other similar activities. In this context, the term ‘sport’ is used to describe a set of related activities, sometimes based upon a particular sport or element, but sometimes not. Sport is sometimes used to refer to a particular physical activity (as in “playing sports”), to identify certain types of interaction and competition, and sometimes to refer to a particular type of culture. It may also be used in conjunction with other words to indicate a set of things or persons, such as team, institution, club, school, country or society.
A simple definition of sport is “the ability to act or attempt to act against the objects of chance”. This definition is obviously broad and includes the ability of any human being to undertake any physical action, including walking, cycling, jumping, swimming, climbing, playing games, running, dancing, playing contact sports, etc. It also includes the elements of any activity that has an equivalent degree of skill, ability and excitement when undertaken by human beings in the presence of other persons. Sport involves competition and interaction but is not competitively based, as is sport activity typically defined by reference to the competition between opponents within a game. Examples include games such as tennis, American football, baseball, boxing and rugby.
Sport refers to any physical activity that has as its object the overcoming of odds. It may be competitive or non-competitive. Examples of competitive sports include boxing, football, hockey, rugby, lacrosse, track and field, wrestling, softball, motorcross, sailing and snorkelling. Non-competitor sports refer to outdoor activities not governed by any particular code of sport. These could include running, cycling, hiking, fishing, horseback riding, skating, golf, tennis and sprinting.
Youth sport is an umbrella term for several different types of physical activities that are engaged in by young people. The most common are ice skating, basketball, softball, table tennis, track and field and association football. These activities can be broadly categorized as recreational, competitive and/or aerobic, and involve minimal gear and equipment. Many people perceive skateboarding and rollerblading as a recreational activity. Skateboarding was one of the first American sports to adopt this style of play and became popular amongst all youth players at the start of the 1990s.
The discipline of sport has grown over the years with many professional sports adopting stricter rules and regulations to protect the participant and the spectators. Some of these regulations have been questioned by public opinion partly because of the increased competitive nature of some professional sports. Nonetheless, it seems that the general consensus is that the general rules of sport are necessary for the health and safety of all participants. Sport can be both advantageous and disadvantageous to the participant and the spectators. Sport can promote social harmony and inter-personal competition and can encourage communities to take their respective roles in maintaining the integrity and quality of sport.