The Nature and Scope of Sport
Any definition of sport can be highly controversial. In practical terms, sport is defined by its sociological interpretation and its powerful emotional association with competition, skill, and physical exertion. Sport can be broadly classified into three areas: competitive sports, athletic competition, and spectator sports. The subject matter of each of these arenas varies by discipline and degree of complexity, but all share a common appreciation of how the events are organized, how they enhance the participants’ ability to cooperate and how they produce a sense of competition, though each discipline shares elements of its own inherent spirit.
Competitive sports refer to sports that attempt to measure and evaluate the physical fitness of athletes and their teams, such as track and field, tennis, softball, football, soccer, wrestling, hockey, and the others. The events may be athletic, such as sprinting, basketball, baseball, gymnastics, football, wrestling, or motor-bike racing, but their purpose is often simply to test competitors’ physical abilities and strength. The competitions are often competitive but also frequently ritualized and competitive; for instance, the Olympic swimming events require athletes to wear uniform swimming suits, wear headphones to hear the other competitors, and use luge or biathlon bikes and other physical equipment.
Athletic competition refers to sports involving athletic skills, such as soccer, basketball, field hockey, softball, volleyball, wrestling, ice skating, swimming, baseball, football, and track and field. As this list illustrates, there are a wide variety of athletic activities. Involving in any sport requires the participants to meet certain basic physical requirements and to have the capacity, agility, and speed to complete the particular sport. A number of governing bodies govern most sports and some of them (such as the United States Olympic Committee) are responsible for creating rules and guidelines for sports events.