Meaning of SPORTS in English

recreational or competitive activities that involve a degree of physical strength or skill. At one time, sports were commonly considered to include only the outdoor recreational pastimes, such as fishing, shooting, and hunting, as opposed to games, which were regarded as organized athletic contests played by teams or individuals according to prescribed rules. The distinction between sports and games has grown less clear, however, and the two terms are now often used interchangeably. Many animals engage in play, but homo sapiens is the only animal to have invented sports. Since sports are an invention, a part of culture rather than an aspect of nature, all definitions of sports are somewhat arbitrary. Whether sports are a human universal found in every known culture or a phenomenon unique to modern society depends upon one's definition of sports. Men and women have always run, jumped, climbed, lifted, thrown, and wrestled, but they have not always performed these physical activities competitively. Although all literate societies seem to have contests of one sort or another in which men, and sometimes women, compete in displays and tests of physical skill and prowess, sports may be strictly defined as physical contests performed for their own sake and not for some ulterior end. According to this strict definition, neither Neolithic hunters nor contestants in religious ceremonies such as the ancient Olympic Games were engaged in sports. Insistence on the stipulation that sports must be performed for their own sake means the paradoxical elimination of many activities which are usually thought of as sports, such as exercises done for the sake of cardiovascular fitness, races run to satisfy a physical education requirement, ball games played to earn a paycheck. Strict definition also means abandonment of the traditional usage in which sport, derived from Middle English disporter, refers to any lighthearted recreational activity. In the minds of some 18th-century aristocrats, a game of backgammon and the seduction of a milkmaid were both considered good sport, but this usage of the term has become archaic. Strict conceptualization allows the construction of an evolutionary history of sports in which extrinsic political, economic, military, and religious motivations decrease in importance as intrinsic motivationsparticipation for its own sakeincrease. The disadvantage, however, is that the determination that a given activity is truly a sport depends on the answer to a psychological question: What is the motivation of the participants? The question of motivation cannot be answered unambiguously. It is probable that the contestants of the ancient Olympic Games were motivated by the intrinsic pleasure of the contest as well as by the religious imperatives of Greek cult. It is also probable that modern professional athletes are motivated by more than simply economic motives. Thus most scholars assume quietly that popular usage cannot be completely wrong to refer, for instance, to U.S. professional National Football League games as sports. Additional reading General works Robert J. Higgs, Sports: A Reference Guide (1982), offers analyses of scholarly and popular literature on sports. An overview of sports literature is presented in Sport Bibliography, 11 vol. (198183), prepared by the Sport Information Resource Centre and continued by annual supplements. John Arlott (ed.), The Oxford Companion to World Sports and Games (1975); and Frank G. Menke, The Encyclopedia of Sports, 6th rev. ed., revised by Pete Palmer (1977), provide brief historical descriptions of many sports and games. For information on equipment, dress, facilities, and differences in rules, see the Official Rules of Sports & Games (biennial). History See Richard D. Mandell, Sport, a Cultural History (1984); Wolfgang Decker, Sport und Spiel im Alten gypten (1987); Ingomar Weiler, Der Sport bei den Vlkern der Alten Welt (1981); and Jacques Ulmann, De la gymnastique aux sports modernes: histoire des doctrines de l'ducation physique, 3rd rev. ed. (1977). Competitive sports are surveyed historically in William J. Baker, Sports in the Western World (1982). Sports history in individual countries is discussed in: (Italy): William Heywood, Palio and Ponte: An Account of the Sports of Central Italy from the Age of Dante to the XXth Century (1904, reprinted 1969); (France): Richard Holt, Sport and Society in Modern France (1981); (Britain): Dennis Brailsford, Sport and Society: Elizabeth to Anne (1969); J.A. Mangan, Athleticism in the Victorian and Edwardian Public School: The Emergence and Consolidation of an Educational Ideology (1981, reissued 1986); and John Hargreaves, Sport, Power, and Culture: Social and Historical Analysis of Popular Sports in Britain (1986); (Socialist countries): James Riordan, Sport in Soviet Society: Development of Sport and Physical Education in Russia and the USSR (1977); and James Riordan (ed.), Sport Under Communism: The U.S.S.R., Czechoslovakia, the G.D.R., China, Cuba, 2nd rev. ed. (1981); (Canada): Alan Metcalfe, Canada Learns to Play: The Emergence of Organized Sport, 18071914 (1987); (United States): Benjamin G. Rader, American Sports: From the Age of Folk Games to the Age of Spectators (1983); and Allen Guttmann, A Whole New Ball Game: An Interpretation of American Sports (1988). Sports in modern society Allen Guttmann, From Ritual to Record: The Nature of Modern Sports (1978), is a study of the social context of modern sports. Gnther R.F. Lschen and George H. Sage (eds.), Handbook of Social Science of Sport (1981), includes essays on sport as an important social institution. Another collection is Donald W. Ball and John W. Loy (eds.), Sport and Social Order: Contributions to the Sociology of Sport (1975). John W. Loy, Barry D. McPherson, and Gerald Kenyon, Sport and Social Systems: A Guide to the Analysis, Problems, and Literature (1978), offers a survey of sociological and psychological views.Sport as a cultural institution is explored in Norbert Elias and Eric Dunning, Quest for Excitement: Sport and Leisure in the Civilizing Process (1986), outlining the sociological, psychological, and physical aspects of sports in the sociocultural process. The role of women in sports is the subject of J.A. Mangan and Roberta J. Park (eds.), From Fair Sex to Feminism: Sport and the Socialization of Women in the Industrial and Post-Industrial Eras (1987); and K.F. Dyer, Challenging the Men: The Social Biology of Female Sporting Achievement (1982), which provides a worldwide survey. The political symbolism of athletic achievement is discussed in Neil Macfarlane, Sport and Politics: A World Divided (1986); and John M. Hoberman, Sport and Political Ideology (1984). Psychological aspects of sports are studied in Diane L. Gill, Psychological Dynamics of Sport (1986); Jay J. Coakley, Sport in Society: Issues and Controversies, 3rd ed. (1986); and Allen Guttmann, Sports Spectators (1986). For sports science and medicine, see Leonard A. Larson (ed.), Encyclopedia of Sport Sciences and Medicine (1971); and Richard Mangi, Peter Jokl, and O. William Dayton, Sports Fitness and Training (1987). Allen Guttmann

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