Sports are a part of our everyday lives; they represent a wide range of activities from the traditional Olympic games to the more popular, although less popular, football and soccer. Sport (or sports) includes any form of typically competitive physical activity that, through organised or casual competition, aims to employ, develop or enhance physical skill and/or ability while also providing entertainment to spectators, and sometimes, competitors. With such a wide variety of sports around, it can be difficult to keep track of them all. In this article, we’ll discuss a few of the more popular sports around today.
One of the first sports to come about in the early days of civilisation was, of course, fishing. It is, in fact, perhaps, because of fishing’s reputation as a menial past-time that we now have so ingrained a fear of ‘softball’ (as it was then called), the sport that eventually became known as baseball, but which almost got its start as tennis. Another early game to take off was swimming, which came about because of the need for ways of beating death (in war, for instance). The Ancient Greeks and Romans also played a lot of physical games, with the Greeks playing hoplites, who charged at one another with clubs, and the Romans wrestling their way to the front. These sports have their roots in physical exertion, and they require a lot of exertion, but they also require a fair amount of skill as well.
Chess is a sport that is often considered a classic example of a sport that started as a physical activity. It evolved, slowly, over time into a very complex sport, the product of someone playing a whole lot of mind games. The reason for the evolution of chess was quite logical: the more a mind could be exercised over, say, twenty pieces, the more it would become efficient. And so chess was born. Chess is, in essence, a game of calculation. The object is to think strategically, to manipulate one’s piece, and then use that ‘piece’ to achieve a specific goal, usually that of protecting one’s own end point.
But chess was not a sports game; it was a mental game. So it evolved into something else, a game of technique, strategy, and tactics, which then became a sport. Chess games can be highly competitive and are often played by people who think they are better than their fellow players. Chess competition became a sport as much as a competition in the culture it evolved from, and that certainly has the ability to make a game of sportsmanship even more interesting than it already is.
Another example of a game evolving from a physical contest into a sport is the growing number of athletes who are willing to put their entire physical fitness on the line for a win. There have always been plenty of athletes who have competed in endurance events such as marathons or triathlons, but the level of physical commitment required to run a marathon, swim a marathon, or participate in an Ironman race is really nothing compared to what the athletes do today. There are millions of people competing in endurance events, and many of them are willing to put their entire health and bodies on the line to win. Many athletes have become addicted to this type of competition.
One could argue that most physical activities are sports in disguise. Take swimming. Swimming laps is a physical activity, but there is so much more to it than meets the eye. Swimming requires a strong constitution, a good sense of direction and speed, some degree of fitness and self-awareness, and most importantly, a lot of fun. Swimming is a sport in itself, with its own set of skills and rules, but it is also an enormous source of entertainment for millions of people across the globe.