Sports are physical activities designed to benefit participants through exercise, competition and entertainment. Generally, sports are governed by a set of rules to ensure fair play.
Sport has been a source of national pride in many countries. Some sports, such as football, rugby union, cricket and golf, are rooted in religion and community.
In a more modern context, sports have been marketed as symbols of power and distinction. They provide entertainment for both participants and spectators.
In addition to providing enjoyment, sport may have an effect on participants’ health. For example, athletics have the ability to stimulate the human body in ways that other activities cannot.
Emotional processes, such as arousal and anticipation, are used in sports to shape how a game is played. A well-constructed stage set, for example, can prompt a fan to express a variety of emotions during a match.
Other emotions can arise from a loss or an injury. There are also emotions aplenty when a last-minute goal transforms a defeat into victory.
The word “sport” has been around since antiquity. Ball games were common among many ancient cultures. It is believed that the Greek physician Galen recommended ball games as a health activity in the second century ce.
A good way to understand how these and other sports are used is to look at them in the context of social, economic and political forces. Various social groups, such as the working class, have entered sports as players or administrators.