The Definition of Sport
Sports are activities that involve contact with a number of other people, or use some element of competition to enhance the participants’ ability to perform some task or achieve some goal. A wide variety of different sports are available for anyone to take part in. The most popular sports across the world include American football, ice skating, Australian football, rugby, motor vehicle racing, track and field, cricket, polo, hockey, tennis, basketball, swimming, sailing and golf. Each type of sport has its own set of rules, equipment, arena, and competition standards. There are even sports that do not require much skill, requiring only a good sense of balance and coordinated movements.
The term “sport” itself can be very vague. It is difficult to point to any one thing as the defining characteristic of a sport, because there are so many things that make sports what they are. The definition of “sport” used by the NCAA, or National Collegiate Athletic Association, consists of three elements: physical contest, skill, and competition.
According to the NCAA’s definition, physical competition includes “the contact, actual collision, or attempt to collide, either by the players or by an object impregnated with an object, with the body of one or more persons.” This definition of “competition” includes any athletic event, competition, game, or series of athletic events, where one or more persons to compete against each other. It also covers the application of the rules of the game, which are not exclusive to the games themselves but are applied to any situation where two or more competitors may meet. For example, in a triathlon, both the winner and the loser must finish within the time limit for the given course, irrespective of whether they compete against each other or not. Other events that meet this definition are indoor and outdoor track and field competitions, wrestling, soccer, baseball, basketball and softball.
In order for a game to be considered a sport, it must have evolved over a period of time where the participants engage in repeated physical contact without the immediate cessation of play when rules are broken. This definition is referred to as the sport factor. The second factor, skill, refers to the ability to participate in the activity. Competitors may be proficient in all or some aspects of the activity; however, they must have the ability to coordinate and react under varying conditions and circumstances. These elements are what separate sports from games.
The third factor, competition, is used to describe any event where two or more competitors compete for the same prize. Whether the prize is monetary, merchandise, or some other award, the competition aspect must be included in the definition of ‘sport.’ ‘Sport’ is not simply a term, but a collection of activities with characteristics that define the nature of sports. Olympic and World Scout organizations distinguish between sports and games. Based on the recognized definition of sport, both have different attributes.
In popular usage, the word sport is generally used to refer to any physical activity that utilizes a competitive edge, such as sprinting, jumping, throwing, and tackling. The United States Olympic Committee created the sport of Olympic Sports so that amateur competitors could demonstrate their abilities in athletic events. Since its inception, the Olympic Sports Team has become one of the greatest achievements in sports history. As Olympic Sports continues to evolve with technological advancements, the Olympic Sports Team continues to define the definition of the term sport. With the evolution of the Olympic Sports Team and the continued definition of the word sport, there is a great deal of confusion about the term and its meaning.