What Are Sports?

Sports are competitive activities that require physical exertion, skill, and concentration. They are usually organized and governed by a set of rules to ensure fair play.

These rules can be objective or subjective. For example, a judge can score a sporting performance on a number of factors. Some sports may have a multiple-winner system, while others provide tie-breaking methods.

Some sports can be played by single people. Others can have hundreds of participants at once. This is often a matter of societal norms.

Sports can be divided into two main groups: mind and motorized sports. Mind sports involve more mental skills than physical exertion. Some sports are played by athletes, while others are played by spectators.

Traditionally, athletes pursue sports for health and enjoyment. The ancient Greek physician Galen recommended ball games for health in the 2nd century CE. Many prehistoric civilizations played ball games.

In the 15th and 16th centuries, the Florentine game of calcio was a competitive sport, characterized by good looks and elegant attire. Archery matches were also arranged with considerable fanfare.

Nowadays, sports are characterized by an emphasis on quantified achievement. Competitive sports are often divided into age group classifications, which challenge the recreational/competitive boundaries.

The Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) recognizes a limited number of mind sports. However, the inclusion of mind sports in sport definitions has not been universally accepted.

Defining what constitutes a sport is a difficult task. It depends on the governing body’s definition, as well as the societal and cultural context.