Sports are a wide range of human activities in which physical exertion and skill is the primary focus, with elements of competition or social participation in which rules and patterns of behaviour formally govern the activity. Sport is a social interpretation of the word, which takes on a range of forms and constantly changes based on societal norms, trends, and new directions.
The term’sport’ is used widely in everyday language, and has many overlapping definitions. This is because it covers a large number of closely related activities.
Sport is often governed by rules and customs, which ensure fair competition and allow consistent adjudication of the winner. These rules may be objective or subjective, and can vary from one sport to the next.
During a competitive event, athletes can experience emotional states such as butterflies in their stomachs or stage fright. These feelings are “scripted” by the subculture of a particular sport, and they are usually displayed in appropriate ways, for example, during pregame renditions of national anthems or after victory celebrations.
It is also common for athletes to compete for records, which are a measure of a person or team’s performance against their peers. These records can be superlative, such as the shortest time to complete an event or the greatest distance travelled, or they can be comparative, which means that a person or team’s performance is better in a concrete comparison with their competitors.
While sports have long been seen as a tool to reaffirm national culture and patriotism, they can also be powerful vehicles for ethnic defensiveness and exclusivity. In the context of globalization, this role has shifted as more and more people have been introduced to other societies through sports.