Sports and National Identity


Although no one is certain when Sports began, the fact remains that children have included games of skill and competition in their lives. Even prehistoric art depicts hunters, chasing their prey with fervor. There is plenty of iconographic and literary evidence that demonstrates that hunting became an end in itself for many ancient civilizations. In some cultures, the pursuit of sport became a way of life and a way to celebrate fertility. In Japan, football is played at kemari, a soccer-like game.

In the 20th century, Sports underwent a profound transformation. While they remained largely male-dominated, women won the right to compete in masculine sports. For example, the Soviet Union suppressed reformist movements in Hungary and the Czech Republic in the 1960s. These nations’ triumph in these sports was viewed as a vindication of their national identity. In South Africa, women were finally allowed to compete in male-dominated sports.

Participation in sports not only keeps youth physically fit, but also has psychological benefits. Youth who take part in sports gain valuable life skills and are more likely to become independent. As a result, their confidence grows. Positive self-esteem is a critical component in later success and happiness. As a result, participation in athletics improves social relationships, and helps develop teamwork and emotional resilience. In addition, it builds self-esteem in adolescent girls.

The role of Sports in national identity construction emerged during the late nineteenth century. Outsider and established groups used sports to build their national identity, proving that sports are both an expression of national identity and an important tool for preserving it. Although a subjective concept, Sports play a significant role in national identity politics. Even the smallest of actions can affect national identity politics. Sports also promote social status. So, people who dislike a sport should recognize its benefits.