The Emergence and Diffusion of Sports

Sports are a huge part of world life and play a crucial role in the development of character, team spirit, discipline and motivation. The ability to work as a team is an important skill that helps individuals negotiate social, emotional and physical challenges in their daily lives.

The emergence and diffusion of modern sports is bound up with complex networks and interdependencies that are marked by unequal power relations. These patterns enable and constrain people’s actions.

Sporting events are a form of national identity politics, reaffirming or challenging established views of a country’s history, traditions, culture and values. Both hegemonic and non-hegemonic groups use sports to construct or challenge these identities.

Emotions are a central part of sports. They are experienced both before and during a game, and the emotions reflect athletes’ self-evaluation or expectations of themselves or their teammates. They can range from anticipatory “butterflies in the stomach” to postgame ecstasy or hatred of the opposing team.

These feelings are governed by scripts or emotional processes that vary among athletes. These scripts, or feeling rules, structure the emotional experiences of sports subcultures and help define roles for players, coaches, and fans.

Those who participate in elite sports internalize these scripts and adhere to them throughout the game. These scripts also structure the emotional experience of spectators, whose cues from the stage setters prompt them to express a variety of feelings.

The emergence and diffusion of modern sports is a process that is embedded within broader global flows of people, technology, finance, images, and ideologies. In this era of globalization, the dominance of Europe and North America in the construction of modern sports is diminishing.