A Look at the World of Sport

Any definition of sport can be controversial. In practical terms however sport is operationally defined as the social understanding and its significant association with physical activity, competitive sport and sporting achievement. Activities engaged in primarily for the objective of leisure, health and happiness or purely for the sake of physical exertion, sport, or competition involving the use of tools, especially weapons, that involve no contact with the environment and are therefore not governed by the rules of war. A clear example of such a sport would be polo. Polo is a game generally considered to be a sport, though there are many areas where it would be considered as having other characteristics.


Polo is both a physical and mental sport. The rules of polo allow the use of deception whilst playing the game. Thus one player might pretend to throw the ball, whilst in fact knocking it back to their own side, thus negating the point of the game. This type of deception is used as a strategy by many players. While some would consider this cheating, others would view it as a way to expose their own weaknesses, thus increasing their skill base. Such skills form part of the mental and physical aspects of the game of sport.

There are many ways in which we can measure sport. Some of the most popular are individual and team games, or team sports, such as ice hockey and swimming. These can also incorporate components of the physical fitness arena, which includes but is not limited to running, walking, cycling and rowing. Similarly, sports that require the use of the head, such as football, can also incorporate elements of the physical fitness arena.

The activity must be governed by a set of rules or principles. Rules can vary significantly between different sports. For example, football is governed by a set of rules that ensure fair competition between teams, for example aiming to tackle, throw or punch. Ice hockey is governed by a set of rules that ensure that there is a controlled temperature of play, and that the play is not interrupted by “live” actions such as blocking or checking. As a result of these laws, ice hockey and football are two distinctly different sports.

Competitions can differ widely between sports, with certain types of competition relatively common across most sporting competitions. For example, baseball and basketball both generally recognise the existence of four levels of play: amateur, professional, semi-professional and college. Competitions in many other fields generally recognise the level of play at each level, with championships typically relating to either the overall competition or a particular competition within that sport.

Sport, like all entertainment, is often controversial. As the world gears up for the 2012 Olympics in London, some feel that the selection process for athletes should be more transparent and give fans a chance to select an individual who is best suited to the sporting event. The inclusion of judo, canoeing, sailing and track and field events in the London 2012 Olympics is a clear example of this. In addition to the controversy and potential for conflict over who competes where, there is also the issue of technological advancements in sporting equipment and how it may affect a sport. This is something that will continue to take place over the coming years and has the possibility of causing major conflicts in the future.

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