The Emotional Aspects of Sports


Modern sports began in the late 17th century in England. The concept of a sports record first emerged during the Restoration period, when Puritans drove traditional pastimes underground and made them unsportsmanlike. Under the guidance of the Marylebone Cricket Club, founded in 1787, organized games developed, and eventually, sports as we know them today emerged. Marylebone led the way in developing cricket, the game that we know today, and rationalized competition between teams.

As part of the game’s rules, sports orchestrate the emotions of participants. Emotions are internalized by athletes, coaches, and fans, and the resulting diffuse state is directed into identifiable emotional displays. During games, coaches and media pundits contribute to this management of emotions, and stage setters prompt fans to express a range of emotions. Sports can serve as a way to teach valuable lessons and foster national identity. However, there are a variety of definitions and theories on the emotional aspects of sports.

While the definition of sport is contested, many activities can qualify. Activities such as cheerleading, golf, and dancing all fit into the category. Others include equestrian, motorsports, pole dancing, and fishing. While all these activities require a degree of physical exertion, they are still considered sports. As with any activity, there are many forms of sports. For many, the key to defining a sport is the level of competition it requires.