A Short History of Mind Sports
Sports are commonly defined as a physical activity which involves some level of physical competition, including boxing or netball. Many forms of competitive athletics and some games are also known as sports. An athlete in a particular sport is known as a player. Many people also play sports for the purpose of participating in certain events. For example, people may play golf in order to get fit and healthy, while others may play tennis in order to improve their agility and endurance.
Many countries offer different kinds of sports for men, women and children of various ages. A number of nations have developed special sports events to attract people, especially children. The UK, for example, has numerous sporting competitions for kids of all ages. Most sports competitions do not involve any physical contact or use of the head, but aim to develop the participant’s mental and physical skills. Competitions usually aim to test the competitor’s ability to work within a team and to overcome his or her weaknesses. The sport itself is not the determining factor in success or failure, but rather the abilities of each individual participant.
Every country that provides opportunities for organised participation in sports has developed its own traditions and associated beliefs about the nature of sports and how they should be enjoyed. In the United States for example, most people associate participation in organized sports with baseball and basketball. These are the two most popular sports in the US, and have developed their own, distinct sets of rules and regulations. Generally, sports competitions are regulated by state sports commissions. These commissions can provide information about the rules of the game, the types of equipment that are used and the extent of protective gear that is permitted.
Another physical activity associated with sports is gymnastics. This is another highly popular sport in the US. However, unlike baseball and basketball, the rules of gymnastics, as with most other types of structured physical activity, are largely governed by individual gyms and teachers rather than by state-wide sporting organisations. Gymnasts train hard for months before they are allowed to participate in professional competition. As a result, the sport of gymnastics can be highly competitive and, if it were to develop a professional set of guidelines, could potentially prevent many gifted gymnasts from ever competing. Much like organised sports, the development of gymnastic rules is normally an ongoing process.
Many people assume that if a game is engaging and interesting, it will attract a wide audience and will therefore benefit financially through ticket sales, television coverage and merchandising. However, the history of most modern forms of physical entertainment – from billiards to golf and tennis – demonstrates that without a significant amount of investment, the sport will never become popular enough to justify these kinds of outlay. Similarly, the history of most modern games of mind sports – such as chess and rugs – demonstrates that without sustained development and research into the skills and strategies of the participants, the game will remain little more than an intellectual pursuit.
Despite the fact that most professional sports are widely accessible to the general public, they are still regarded with considerable suspicion. This is perhaps most apparent in the case of football, which was widely considered to be nothing more than a contact sport until recently. Today, football is the most popular spectator sport in the world and enjoys huge commercial revenue. Because of this, major professional sports leagues are eager to promote their sport and provide opportunities for young people to gain both physical fitness and intellectual knowledge. In order to encourage this development of athletes, sports governing bodies need to take measures that maintain the integrity of the game, ensuring that it remains open to the full spectrum of society.