Sports refer to all forms of physical activity that promotes a healthy competition and also provides entertainment to the participants. The association of all the largest sports federations describes sports in the following way:
A sport should have an element of competition, not cause any harm to any living creature, not depend upon a sole supplier (excluding arena football), and not rely on any “luck” element specially designed in.
They also recognized that sports could be:
i. Physical for e.g. rugby or athletics
ii. Intellectual or involving mental abilities for e.g. chess or go
iii. Motorized for e.g. Formula 1 or power boating
iv. Co-ordination for e.g. billiard sports
v. Animal supported for e.g. equestrian
Digging back into the history of sports, it has been observed that the ancient Chinese participated in different forms of games as early as 2000BC.Gymnastics was a very famous sport there. Egyptians were also very active in sports like swimming, fishing, javelin throwing, high jump and wrestling. Polo, jousting and martial arts originated from Persia.
The famous Olympic Games were invented by Greece. It was held in a small village in Olympia. Only amateurs were allowed to play the games as the professionals were thought to have an unfair advantage. However, times are changed now. Only boxing and wrestling are played as on amateur levels and rest of all have professional level players.
Some suggested different criteria for sports which are as under:
a. TEAM VS INDIVIDUAL
b. QUANTITATIVE VS QUALITATIVE
c. ABSOLUTE VS RELATIVE
d. AUTOMATIC VS JUDGEMENT
e. EXTERNAL VS HUMAN
f. PHYSIOLOGICAL VS PRECISION
g. COMPETITION VS LEISURE
TEAM VS INDIVIDUAL:
The addition or combination of the results of individuals gives the final “team” result.
For e.g. relays and synchronized swimming.
QUANTITATIVE VS QUALITATIVE:
A quantitative sport is the one in which the result depends upon calculable quantity. Scoring can be done by humans and the final winner is decided based upon the gained scores. Whereas in qualitative sport, such as mountain climbing, cave diving and sailing around the globe, the decision is based upon exceptional achievement.
ABSOLUTE VS RELATIVE:
In relative sports such as boxing, the judges adjust the marks depending upon the rivals. Running events are absolute sports.
AUTOMATIC VS JUDGEMENT:
There is the difference of using artificial intelligence to judge. For e.g. athletic dancing cannot be judged by artificial intelligence but with an artistic brain.
EXTERNAL VS HUMAN:
Is the athlete is the one providing the energy e.g. darts or is it generated by other like car, horse and target shooting.
PHYSIOLOGY VS PRECISION:
Running is a sport in which involves physiology more than precision. Whereas, archery and bowling could be easily labeled as those requiring precision more than physiology.
COMPETITION VS LEISURE:
This criterion depends upon the attitude of the individual that whether he /she wants to take that sport as merely a leisure activity or wishes to take it to competition level. By this, I do not mean to say that leisure sports are easy and less physically demanding.
There could be other possibilities as well to define sports however; every game should be played with fairness. The participants should retain the sense of healthy competition throughout the game and must show sportsman spirit, avoid cheating in any form, stay away from violence and steer clear of illegal drugs to increase their performance.
“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.”
__ Michael Jordan.