Sports (or athletic sports) is any form of generally competitive physical action that, through organised or casual participation, attempt to employ, develop or increase specific physical ability and capabilities while also providing entertainment for participants, and occasionally, spectators. There are many different types of sports: Association football; cricket; American football; basketball; golf; softball; Australian rules footy; hockey; soccer; motor-bike racing; rugby; motor racing; snooker; tennis; swimming and diving. The development and continual progress of sporting activity, especially with the arrival of new technologies, has led to a growth in the amount of competition and participation from people of all ages and walks of life. However, it is the individual – rather than the team or association – that is usually responsible for most of a player’s or participant’s success or failure.
Sports can be broadly categorised into contact sports (most commonly played sports); sports that require a great deal of physical exertion and, where contact is not an element, involve an element of skill such as weightlifting or skiing; and sporting disciplines such as gymnastics, fencing and swimming. The benefits of participating in any of these sports are obvious; physical health, improved cardiovascular fitness and weight loss are just a few of the benefits. Yet the disadvantages far outstrip the advantages, with each type of sports bringing its own set of problems and risks. For this reason, many athletes and sports enthusiasts alike pursue professional careers, using their talents and abilities to become famous, wealthy and successful sports people.
Names are often chosen for a certain sportsperson because they evoke an image or performance that the athlete or player brings to the table. One such popular name is that of a certain superstar athlete or personality: Usain Bolt, Michael Jordan, Joe Montana, Pele, Ronaldo and many other popular names reflect the unique abilities and personalities that these players bring to their sporting disciplines. Many of these names are taken from actual sports, though there are also many different combinations, for example “Usain” could be “uben” or “Ramsey” (a British sportsperson). Such sports names are often used in association with another word, phrase or idiom that best represents that particular athlete or personality. For instance, Usain “The Master” brought a sense of discipline, hard work and commitment to his chosen profession; “The Hurricane” is a reference to Michael “The Hurricane” Johnson – another example of combining the names of a sports person with another word or phrase that best describes the individual.
Coming in at a close third in the list of common sports names is basketball and soccer. As both require a lot of running, jumping and throwing, it is hardly surprising that the two words ‘barcelona’ and ‘bornball’ are used by many sports commentators referring to the two most popular soccer teams in the world. Similar is the case of basketball, with the popular ‘Bucks’ and ‘Thorns’ names refer to the basketball clubs of the two countries, whilst the’Trinidad ‘Bubble Ball’ and ‘Stick’ Topsport are a phrase referring to cricket. So it seems that one of the biggest influences on sporting nicknames has come from association with other words and phrases. This is especially true in the case of football, where the likes of ‘POKE’ for goalkeepers, ‘FOUL’ for fouls, ‘MOBS’ for goals, and the ‘NET’ for nets.
The last word in this article goes to cricket and volleyball. Volleyball and cricket have much in common, not least that both involve kicking a ball around in a court or field. Both sports are governed by a number of governing bodies and the same rules and regulations apply to both sports. So it comes as no surprise that so many people prefer to use an appropriate word or phrase to describe their favorite sportsman, either because it accurately reflects the person’s personality or it is simply part of the game.
Indeed, it would seem that the popularity of specific sports is largely attributable to the level of support which the spectators have for that sport. Whether that support is shown physically on the field or online, or by way of popular television coverage, it can influence the way in which the public views an athlete. If an athlete receives plenty of supportive messages online or finds herself subject to derogatory comments on the internet, they may feel that they are undervalued by the public. If that happens, they may be motivated to do all they can to not allow it to happen again – and this can have an impact on their athletic performance, as well as their overall health and wellbeing.