Sports are a vital part of human existence from time immemorial. Two factors are at play. The first one is the element of boredom to which we are all subjected to in the daily grind of mundane lives. Boredom is not to be taken lightly because Man is by his very inherent nature social. One of the worst punishments that can be meted out is solitary confinement. A sport is a vital relief from boredom. Secondly sports takes away in a harmless form the aggression that builds up in us. It channels that into undisruptive avenues of sport. Thus for young and old, male and female the sports world is a haven and refuge, essential to our psyche.
Therefore sports should not degenerate into unhealthy competition and harmful aggression. Play the game by all means – but play it the sporting way. Be a sportsman. The first thing then is to remember that the sports world is a world of games – good healthy games. Secondly the loser has to be accepted. It involves good grace on both sides. Somebody has to lose. So shake hands at the end of the game with an open heart and say ‘cheers’ with a sincere smile.
One of the top sports is football. It was played in ancient Europe but the modern game started in 1863 when The Football Association was formed in England. Till then each club had their own individual rules. The working class was the first ones to form professional clubs and soon entrepreneurs smelt money. The game whizzed into international popularity on the back of British expatriates
In ancient China a game of ball was played known as Cuju in 2nd century BC. Native Americans and other indigenous people played with balls from prehistoric times. Greeks and Romans played a game (episkyros and harpastum respectively) with balls, which involved their feet. In the Middle Ages localized games of football became very popular. One village opposed another struggling over balls made of various stuff, including pig’s bladder. There was no limit to the number of people that joined in the melee. The object was to push the ball to a target. In northern France a ball game was known as La Soule went to England riding on the wave of the Norman Conquest.
Baseball is very popular in American. April to October is the season for major leagues. The professional games started in 1865 and the first real league can he traced from 1876. Basketball and ice hockey, boxing, and golf are also popular games in USA.
Tennis too dominates the sports world. It requires either two players in singles or two teams with two players on each side (doubles) playing with a stringed racquet, hitting a hollow felt covered rubber ball. Its origins can be traced back to 19th century Europe. Except for minor alterations its rules have remained unchanged since 1890.
The second most popular game in the world is cricket. It is played between two teams with 11 players on each side, on a circular/oval grassy field. In the centre is a flat strip of ground (22 yards), which is the pitch. At each end are three parallel wooden stakes with two crosspieces laid across. The unit is known as the wicket. Cricket started in England and is mainly popular in the Commonwealth countries of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Australia.
Swimming is another great outdoor sports and has always been popular everywhere. Man is perhaps the only creature that does not know how to swim from birth. Hence it is a challenge thrown by Nature to conquer the waves. Mountain climbing, skiing, rafting, yachting are other thrills where man is up in arms against the elements. Motor racing provides thrills with man and machines up against each other.
Man and animals often team up for sports. Sometimes it is fun, like horse racing but at other times it is the cruelest game with man becomes a beast hunting down the hapless fox. In bull fighting man teases the bull and endangers his own life in fair game.
The umbrella of the sports world unites Mankind today as never before as one big happy family.