Sports are physical contests in which two or more people compete to achieve a common goal. The term “sport” has many definitions and each culture has its own. The most useful definition of sports clarifies the relationship between play and contest. Play is an activity with a purpose other than profit, and has its own goals. It is voluntary and not forced. Likewise, sports require teams of players. For example, soccer teams consist of five players, while baseball teams consist of seven players.
The roots of modern sports date back to the late 17th century, when the concept of the sports record first appeared. The Puritans, who condemned the traditional pastimes of the people, drove them underground and gave rise to organized games. During this time, sports like cricket and tennis were created and rationalized, under the leadership of the Marylebone Cricket Club. Today, many universities host sports-related courses, including Sports Sociology. It has a long and fascinating history.
While the aesthetic element of sport survives today, the focus on the quantitative aspects of sport has led to a shift in language. The word measure originally connoted a sense of balance and proportion, but has since come to mean quantitative measurements. Similarly, the term “athletic competition” has evolved from an abstract concept to a more concrete concept. This shift in focus reflects the rise of sport as a competitive activity. However, some sports are still purely recreational, while others have become a lucrative business venture.