Sport is the activity that people do for leisure and many times for winning. It is a physical or mental engagement that stimulates people to compete with one another for fame, ego, prizes or just keeping fit. Sport is an ancient activity whose origin is stipulated to have been China while other sources claim to be Greek. It is unlikely that sports is a definitive term for people have exceeded the limits supposed to be sporting limits to involve dangerous activities and name them sports (Allen 1992). The line between sport and other activities cannot be drawn if we take winning and physical engagement as terms for defining sports.
Over centuries, sports have ceased from being regional to being international with major big sporting held all over the world. Despite the popularity that sport has gained over time, it has been linked to controversy and at times taking a political twist. Socially, sport is believed to be an event that enables people to interact with one another and at the same time challenging opponents for fame and prizes (Allen 1996). Major sporting events have been used by initiative to mobilize people to take a stand on certain economic, social, environmental and health issues.
Many people have made careers out of sports, these include professional football players, basketball players, rugby, tennis, golf, boxing and cycling among many others. Sport as a physical event requires people to keep fit of their bodies in order to keep up with rivals and challenges of the nature of sport they are involved in. To keep fit, sportsmen have either engaged in extreme exercising or have tried to use muscle stimuli drugs to assist them to beat their competition. For this case, sporting is both beneficial and dangerous activities for participants and fans (Gleyse 2006). Violence has been associated with sporting events where hooliganism and misguided celebrations escalate out of proportion.
Sports, besides being a winning or losing event have been modified in some communities or during some events to act as a social of bonding fiber. As an art, sports have been growing steadily in terms of fans, participants, margin of target group as well as activities for the sports. Extreme sports, although a psychological thrill, have been listed as official sports in some events like the Olympics and other regionally held events.
History of Sports
From early 2000 BC, China was reported to have held sporting events that included gymnastics and other related events. Despite this early awakening in the world or discovery of sport, it is, however not known when exactly the discovery of first sporting event was held for the first time on earth. Speculations say that, Greeks were the pioneers of sports for having discovered the Olympics (Gleyse 1997). The Olympics, although a largely celebrated event all over the world currents, does not make a basis that where it started marks the start of sports.
Anciently, sports were taken as a regional event that would be held in certain specific locations within specific communities. Sports as defined by some scholars, it is an event where athletes foster togetherness while at the same time displaying their skills in the various activities they engage in. For this reason, the spirit of togetherness forced rugby and football players to avoid such countries like South Africa for its policy of apartheid. As much as sportsmen would like to hold sporting events for social and spiritual nourishment purposes, South Africa’s apartheid policy did not appeal to players and sports’ sponsors therefore taking South Africa off the sporting grind of hosting nations for sports (Mangan 1996). The influence of this issue besides others helped South Africa in abolishing and regarding apartheid as demining policy.
Long before the war between Japan and China of 1937, Japanese soldiers trained commercial arts as a means of self-defense in case of a bitter turn of events. Besides riffles and other forms of weaponry, this military lot thought combat could use a little more physical training. These events unveiled the interest of the public to train in various forms of commercial arts for self-defense. In addition, it seems that many of Japanese citizens were familiar or effective in using a certain form of commercial art to defend themselves that this art was taken to sporting events where people would challenge others (Martin 2007). This later spread across Asia and currently is an installment in the Olympics.
Violence in Sports
1 in every 5 football events ends up with chaos with 2 of every game having scenes of confrontations and unfair play. Fair play is a requirement that professionals sportsmen thrive to campaign for by following rules and regulations of the activities they participate in. As a matter of fact, scientists have concluded that a fair play cannot be achieved in professional sporting events because the psychology of a sportsman does not allow for defeat and if anything, even if it involves penalties, will be tried to make sure losing is not a predetermined result. In these events, players who would like to win in any means possible meet with rivals who would do anything not to be defeated. In such a clash, it has been argued by Dr. Thomas (1993), that any form of aggression by any opposing team or participant would be met with equal aggression, therefore, causing chaos (Scott 2004). For this reason, sporting is not about the physical skill and motivation to win, it is more of psychological effect that encloses sense and replaces with ego.
In sports, violence does not always start or get instigated by participants. Fans have been an active source of violence in many sporting events all across the globe. Violence instigated by fans has two twists: fans attacking players and fans of different sides attacking each other. As much as one side starts the aggression, the other responds therefore sending the whole event or moment to chaos. Sports events, long after they have concluded or before they start, have the potential to send fans into riots and acts of violence especially in times when furious fans lose to their longtime enemies.
Decision-making process of some referees and assistant referees has been regarded as controversial with the potent of causing chaos. For a long time, referees have been targets of violence in sporting events for either fans or participating sportsmen. The decisions made by referees affect both competing sides either positively or negatively. The side that feels to be negatively affected may take it on the referee or on the rival party. With the restrictions and penalties sportsmen are subjected to in order to observe ethics, physical violence has subsided therefore giving a rise to ‘sports’ cold war’ (Kyle 2007). This raise involves use of offensive language to attack one another while at the same time crossing the boundaries of racism.
Sports and Politics
International political relations between nations have spilt to the sporting world. Americans have been on many occasions supporting nations at war against the Soviet Union and this has left a dent in the relationship between the USA and Russia. Israel, on the other hand, is known to be an ally of the USA in terms of providing war back up and supporting USA’s military policies and interventions. To put this in context, during the 1972 Olympics in Berlin, masked men sneaked into the hotel of Israeli team and killed several sportsmen. The relationship of Germany and USA and their allies were not good before and after the World War II (Rinehart 2000). For this case, Germany would launch attacks on British, USA and their allies and other nations they had confrontations with then fail taking responsibility.
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian by birth and German by existing and growing in Germany. Hitler became the leader and commander of Nazi movement that launched a series of attacks and attempts to overthrow the Germany government during the 1920s. When Hitler became the leader of Germany, he pushed on policies that intimidated the world and through it into World War II. In 1942, a football match that was classified as a sport was used to punish prisoners of war. The motive of the game was unknown and the referee was a biased Nazi soldier who led to the winning of the German side. Following this defeat, the prisoners of war were mostly tortured and killed afterwards – the football match is the best-known as Death Match (Samson & Fafard 2002).
Africa is a large continent with variety of resources and potential leaders but one of the poorest in the entire world. Sporting events have been deteriorating in this continent due to corruption in various sporting departments and associated ministries. Take Kenya, an East African country best known for producing unsurpassed marathon and long distance athletes, for example, was banned by FIFA from participating in any FIFA sponsored event due to political involvement. This decision was reached after the Minister for Sports did speak during 2009-2010 duration (Schenk 1994).
Sports as an Art
Art is referred as the ability of arranging items in a certain chronological order to influence emotion, sense and intellect. Traditionally, art refers to skill and mastery of a certain activity. Sports as an art influence mastery of skills as well as emotions and sense. When different groups of people foster for change in the way the environment is treated, they use sporting events or organize sporting events to make their points sail. Miss World is an event that connects beauty with imagination and brains. As a sport, Miss World events draw a sense of belonging and a theme for participants to hold on to as relevance of the event. Environmentalists have used the event as a platform for installing sense to people on how to conserve the environment (Rinehart 2000). On another point, obesity is a killer condition that has taken the lives of many American citizens and this has fostered a need to enlighten people on this issue. For this case, governmental and non-governmental organizations have launched sporting campaigns to help people to deal with their personal health issues.
Japanese and the Chinese boost of being the pioneers and discoverers of Karate and Kung Fu among other commercial art fighting techniques. As a tool or vice for achieving inner peace, the Japanese and Chinese use these commercial art installments as sports that help them to achieve psychological relaxation. As an art, this sport helps these people and other interested parties to connect emotionally in sense and master of skill (Kyle 2007).
Sports as a Career
Professional sportsmen are some of the well paid people in the world besides CEOs of multibillion organizations and drug cartel. Among the best paying sports include American football, professional football, golf, tennis, baseball, Formula 1, and cycling. Besides the trophies and associated cash prizes that the sportsmen expect after winning games, sponsorships and contracts entered into guarantee good pay over the period agreed (Simon 1985). Many people have shown interest in sporting and this has triggered a response of investors to investing in sports. The interest that people all over the world in buying tickets and subscribing to pay TV to watch their favorite sports has triggered a sense of taking sports of our daily lives. Sponsors and investors are sponsoring and investing in sports that seem to have the biggest number of fans or subscribers. In this sense, contracts between players or sportsmen and the sponsors is a way of creating careers in sports.
European Football is one of the most sponsored sport in the world with players getting as much as 3 million Euros per year while others garnering 42 million US Dollars for a duration not exceeding 5 years of contract. Many sponsors do not pay the players this much because the returns of the clubs or teams they play for are very big but because the companies behind the sponsorships use such deals as marketing deal therefore providing careers for players (Soden, 2003). Like other sports, football is not about winning to guarantee the careers of players but rather the potential and marketing of products made by their respective sponsors.
Sport as a career is an overrated profession whose players’ survival on the top spot depends on individual performance and this sets the difference of salaries between one player and another. Many risks are involved in this line of career in terms of personal health and physique. Many are times when players have to train and participate in games held in places with harsh weather conditions. On the other hand, the nature of some sports puts the players at various risks of body injury and mental instability. Some of these sports with the potential of causing body injuries include football, American football because of the nature of tackling as well as the level of aggression, ice hockey for the use of blades for skating, horseback racing due to the probability of falling from the inhuman creatures and car racing around a circular track due to the high chances of collision (Sugden & Tomlinson 2000). For these instances, more people use sports as careers, injury and health is equally put on the line.
Influence of Technology on Sports
On the fifty-first minute into the football game between Argentina and England in the World Cup of 1986, Diego Maradona, an Argentinian player scored an illegal handball goal that went unrealized. Considering the level of technology at that moment, the illegal goal was as a wakeup call for football to embrace newer technologies to counter errors of judgment during matches (Martin 2007). During the early times of 1990s and before, sport was an event people would attend by travelling and its market was close to zero on media. With technology advancement, sports have gained more fame and people take them as part of life regarding the invention of color televisions, powerful cameras and reliably fast networks for transmission. As of today, physical tickets for watching major sporting event comprise to less than 20% of the total revenue sports events get. This means that sports have embraced technology to sell more over the air than attract people to watch live games. Televising Formula 1 races would not be possible if faster transmitting channels were not in place to enable this crucial requirement (Scott 2004).
Sport is any activity that people engage in with the aim of challenging each other in order to win in exchange for making themselves feel good, get prizes or prove a point. Sports have revolved from just being community-based events to internationally recognized and accepted form of keeping fit as well as entertainment. Sport is both a source of income as well as a number of life changing occurrences like injuries, health, and economical value to the participant. The commercial side of sports was fully realized with the technological revolution that put up fast networks for transmission and television sets that complete the need of viewers from all over the world.