We need a clear definition of the term “sport” if we want to understand it properly. A sport is any activity that involves physical activity. Whether that activity is played for competitive purposes or for fun is the question. If we have a clear understanding of what a sport is, then we can answer more questions and appreciate its value.
Modern sports are bound by interdependencies and complex networks of power. Groups constantly vie for dominant positions. As such, they are dominated by Western cultures, and other regions’ traditional sports have been marginalized or even displaced. However, the traditional sports of other regions still exist as folkloric curiosities, such as Balinese cockfighting.
Competition in sports is a means to stay active and maintain one’s mental health. It also teaches children valuable life skills. Youth involved in sports learn how to communicate with other people, and how to work as a team. These skills can lead to independence and a higher self-esteem later in life. This is critical, as a positive self-esteem determines later success and happiness.
Sports have a long history, beginning with prehistoric games and ancient rituals. As early as 2000 BC, ancient Chinese and Aztec societies played ball games. These games were contests, rituals, or non-competitive performances. They have even been recorded in Greek and Roman antiquity. In the second century ce, Greek physician Galen recommended ball games as a way to promote health.