Sports (or sports) includes all forms of typically competitive physical activity that, through organised or casual participation, aim to utilize, develop or improve specific physical skill and/or abilities while providing entertainment for participants, and occasionally, spectators. Many sports activities are known to be contact sports and involve a physical fight, where the competition relies on physical strength and the application of strategic thinking, whereas other sports can involve games such as soccer and baseball. In some sports, participants may also use hand-held and/or electronic equipment for added odds on success. Some sports are organized around a particular event such as a race or soccer match, and others are based around a competition for a specific prize or recognition.
In America alone, there are estimated to be more than 130 different professional sports, including professional basketball, baseball, football and tennis. America has, by far, the most popular and largest number of professional sports clubs in the world. The popularity of such sports as football and baseball have made a significant impact on the world of spectator sports, with the amount of money generated annually by major league baseball and basketball matches increasing exponentially over the past few decades. Similarly, with the growing popularity of cricket and soccer, the global sports market has become extremely competitive. One of the major implications of this is the fact that, in recent years, cricket and football have both been awarded the status of one of the four nations that form the Olympic team.
As Americans become more involved in international sports, the importance of sport in the American psyche becomes increasingly evident. However, while America has long been obsessed with competitive athletics, the extent of that involvement has also affected non-competitive activities such as skydiving, bicycle-riding, table tennis, bobsledding, horse riding, hiking, baseball, basketball and softball. To ensure fair competition throughout the various formats of these games, it is important that all athletes be certified by the American Sports Training Association (ASTA), which accredits many different training institutes. In addition to ensuring fair play, it also helps develop mentally strong players, as well as help to create a safe and healthy environment for participants.
Another aspect of sports that is being considered by many spectators is the physical aspect of the game. In other words, while football and baseball have long been regarded as American sports that require little in the way of skill and strategy, the increased frequency of high profile professional games such as basketball and soccer against other countries has made the sport more of an individual pursuit. As spectators, we have come to expect exceptionally high levels of athleticism and challenge from athletes in every sport, and the combination of extreme physical activity and intense mental focus makes the sport even more of a spectacle. Watching the highlights from last week’s NBA match, or watching highlights from last year’s World Cup, or even just watching the action live on the stadium sound board can be quite impressive, almost as if we are experiencing the players in person. Watching a player sweat profusely, or dive for the goal line, then watching him score, is quite satisfying as if we were actually there ourselves.
Finally, although we know that certain standards exist for sports competitions, it may not be fair to say that the game itself is necessarily governed by these rules. The sports fans that enjoy the thrill of competition, the camaraderie of team loyalty, the drama and intensity of individual matches all offer an entirely different experience to that of the spectators. While the game is a challenge to all of us, the sporting arena itself offers something to everyone. It brings out our competitive spirit and desire for fame and fortune, as well as the thirst for intellectual challenge and assessment. As one of the most important aspects of sports, then, it is important to recognise this and give the sport its due.
This doesn’t mean that the competition should be banned. On the contrary, we should encourage the participation of all types of sports and physical fitness in the general public. However, in order for such sporting activities to be taken seriously and encouraged, they need to meet certain criteria. Therefore, it is important that the governing body – which could be an association, government or sporting governing body – sets standards for the standard that a section needs to achieve. For instance, this could be physical fitness standards, sport standards, health standards and other such requirements that the section needs to meet.