Where Does The Word “Fan” Come From?
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Intended Audience Text Organization Updates in the Third Edition Learning Tools Instructor Resources Closing Comments
Part I: Studying Sport in Society
Chapter 1: What Is Sport and Why Do We Study It? Sport Through the Ages Definition of Sport Study of Sport Chapter Summary
Chapter 2: How Do We Study Sport? Research Methods Social Theories Current Status of Sport Sociology Chapter Summary
Part II: Scope and Effect of Sport on Society
Chapter 3: Participants Versus Spectators Sport Participants Factors Affecting Sport Participation Trends in Sport Participation Sport Spectators Trends in Spectator Sports Marketing to Participants and Spectators Chapter Summary
Chapter 4: Business of Sport Sport and the Economy Ownership in Professional Sport Sport as Monopoly Collegiate Sport as Moneymaker Recreational Sport as a Business
Chapter 5: Media and Sport Evolution of Sport Media Interplay of Sport and Media How Sport Affects the Media Ideology of Sport Through the Media Careers in Sport Media Chapter Summary
Part III: Sport as an Institution
Chapter 6: Youth Sport History of Youth Sport Sponsors of Youth Sport Privatization of Youth Sport Current Status of Youth Sport Organized Youth Sport Why Kids Participate—and Stop Participating—in Sport Burnout in Youth Sport Reforms for Youth Sport Chapter Summary
Chapter 7: Coaching Sport Influence of Coaches Status of Coaching Coaching at Different Levels of Sport Coaching Personality Challenges for the Future of Coaching Chapter Summary
: Interscholastic and Intercollegiate Sport Interscholastic Sport Collegiate Sport Chapter Summary
Chapter 9: International Sport Globalization of Modern Sport U.S. Influence on World Sport Olympic Games Media Effects on the Globalization of Sport Nationalism Versus Economics Athletes and Coaches as Migrant Workers Using Sport for Better World Understanding Chapter Summary
Chapter 10: Olympic Movement History of the Olympics Effect of the Olympic Games Nationalism and the Olympic Movement United States Olympic Committee Athlete Development Chapter Summary
Part IV: Sport and Culture
Chapter 11: Sporting Behavior Sporting Behavior at Different Levels of Sport Youth Attitudes Development of Moral Values Moral Values Applied to Sport Moral Values Taught Through Sport Strategies for Good Sporting Behavior Chapter Summary
Chapter 12: Race, Ethnicity, and Sport Classifications of Race and Ethnicity Sport Participation Among Racial and Ethnic Minorities Sport and Promoting Equality Minorities as Sport Leaders Chapter Summary
Chapter 13: Women and Sport Historical Role of Women Women and Sport Before Title IX Title IX Women and Sport After Title IX Social Issues in Women’s Sport Global Status of Women in Sport Barriers for Women in Sport Media Coverage of Women’s Sport Golden Age of Sport Reborn Chapter Summary
Chapter 14: Social Class and Sport Social Class Social Class and Sport Activity Control of Amateur and Professional Sport Class Mobility in Sport Chapter Summary
Chapter 15: Special Populations and Sport
Americans with Disabilities Act American Association of People with Disabilities Sport Participation for Athletes With a Physical Disability Sport Participation for Athletes With a Mental Disability Sport Participation for Older Athletes Issues for Special Populations in Sport Chapter Summary
Chapter 16: Religion and Sport Religion and Sport in History Christian Influence on Sport Sport and Religions Other Than Christianity Use of Religion in Sport by Athletes Use of Sport by Athletes to Promote Religious Beliefs Use of Religion by Coaches, Organizations, and Owners Organizations Using Sport to Promote Religion Using Sport to Promote Christian Colleges and Secondary Schools Conflict Between Sport and Religion Chapter Summary
Chapter 17: Politics and Sport Government Promotion of Physical Activity and Health Government in Sport Government Promotion of Identity and Unity Among Citizens Nationalism and Sport Sport and the Promotion of Social Values Politics Within Sport Chapter Summary
Chapter 18: Development Through Sport Benefits of Sport and Physical Activity Benefits of Sport at Various Ages Development Programs for Children and Youth International Outreach Through Sport Peace Initiatives Through Sport Potential Funding Sources for Sport Development Programs Chapter Summary
Chapter 19: Violence and Rule Breaking in Sport Rule Breaking Emotion and Sport Aggression and Sport Violence in Sport Chapter Summary
Chapter 20: Deviance and Sport
Performance Enhancement Through Drugs Eating Disorders in Sport Hazing in Sport Gambling and Sport Chapter Summary
Chapter 21: Future Trends in Sport Social Trends Conflict Between Performance Sport and Participation Sport Effects of Social Changes Effects of Spectatorship Effects of Technology Effects of the Electronic Media Will Sport Change? Who Will Lead the Way? Who Will Fight for Change? Chapter Summary
About the Author
Preface This book examines contemporary sport both factually and critically, particularly in the United States. As part of this project, the book situates the modern sport world in the context of the historical development of sport. As you will see, sport participation and spectatorship in the United States have changed considerably and now lean toward a corporate model.
In the past 50 years, major changes in U.S. society have spilled over into the world of sport. Racial barriers have given way to dominance by African Americans in basketball and football, and Latinos now account for a third of Major League Baseball players. Women and girls also participate more in sport and advocate for equal opportunities as both participants and spectators. In addition, the Special Olympics and the Paralympic Games have become major sport events for people with intellectual or physical disability. Finally, consumer sport now accommodates a surging population of older adults who look to sport to enhance their personal fitness, quality of life, and social interaction. Each of these changes promotes new sport outlooks and strategies and offers hope for the continued expansion of sport for every person.
At the same time, sport sociology has advanced as a science and created more rigorous and insightful methods of studying sport. The sociology of sport is explored in plentiful university courses, and relevant issues are studied by hundreds of professors and researchers. For its part, this book presents the controversies and the status of sport in a sociological context without dwelling on theoretical constructs. More specifically, the text provides a look at sport by a longtime sport participant, observer, fan, teacher, coach, administrator, and critic who has tried to maintain a balanced approach to sport.
This book is intended for people who are looking at sport objectively for the first time. It can help you understand sport, its place in society, and possible changes that may be needed if sport is to maintain a positive future. I hope you will become better acquainted with both the historical and the current roles of sport in society. Regardless of your major course of study, if you are a sport participant or fan, you will find the information illuminating—and in some cases surprising.
As you come to understand more about the sport world and its interaction with society at large, you will be better equipped to decide what role sport plays in your life and in the life of your family. Whether you are a competitive athlete, an enthusiastic participant, or a spectator, this book can help you enjoy sport more, appreciate the challenges faced by sport, and better evaluate decisions made by sport leaders. Sport can either help unify or help divide society, and it stands a better chance of being beneficial if more people understand both its value and its limitations.
Although this book is based on research and reflects various social theories, it was not written for academic colleagues, and it does not break new theoretical ground. Rather, it is intended to encourage students to delve more deeply into the issues and contradictions that characterize what for many of us can be a love–hate affair with sport.
Part I of the book presents a framework for studying sport in society. More specifically, chapter 1 defines terms and establishes the purpose and importance of sport study. It also addresses the overall field of sport science and how sport research contributes to knowledge within sport.
Chapter 2 presents sociological methods for studying sport in order to help you understand how knowledge is gathered and analyzed. It describes social theories and the ways in which these theories aid the study of sport. To help you apply these theories, this edition of the book includes sidebars that ask you to analyze a topic from the perspective of one of the social theories presented. These sidebars enhance your understanding of the social theories and pique your interest in applying them to current topics in sport.
Part II examines the scope of modern sport and how it affects society. For example, chapter 3 clarifies the parallels and differences between sport participants and sport spectators. It also compares growth trends in various sports and distinguishes people who participate in recreational sport from those who are devoted to high-performance sport. One critical aspect of this work involves reviewing current research reports and analyzing recent trends in the popularity of various sport and fitness activities.
Chapter 4 addresses the business side of sport at the professional and collegiate levels and discusses the issues involved in spending public funds for private gain. It also considers how
finances affect athletes, coaches, owners, and participants, both individually and collectively. These discussions help you appreciate the huge economic investments made in sport and the influence of money on sport policies and programs.
Chapter 5 outlines the powerful symbiotic relationship between media and sport. It acknowledges the influence of sport media personalities and journalism and the continuing challenges of including minorities and females more often in sport media. This chapter also recognizes the dramatic shift from print media to electronic media, thanks to technology undreamed of just a generation ago, and its effect on how we consume both sport itself and news about sport.
Part III looks at sport as an institution and how it functions in relation to other institutions, such as colleges and the Olympics. More specifically, chapter 6 examines youth sport outside of the school setting, which has largely become an adult-organized activity for kids that permeates every community. Next, chapter 7 addresses coaching, a topic that appeared elsewhere in earlier editions of the book but has been moved to this section because coaching is such a key determinant of success for teams at various levels. Therefore, it makes sense to integrate the study of coaching with the study of the institutions of youth, high school, and college sport.
Chapter 8 addresses interscholastic and intercollegiate sport. Interscholastic teams continue to grow and prosper, but they also face the challenges of integrating opportunities for girls in accordance with Title IX and meeting the constant pressure to secure funding. Collegiate teams also struggle to find their way amid the economic pressure to support programs for a relatively few elite athletes who may or may not be comfortable in the academic setting.
Chapter 9 broadens the scope to consider the globalization of sport, which reflects our increasingly connected world. On one hand, international competition has increased as American sports have been exported around the world; meanwhile, soccer has finally begun to take hold in North America. Chapter 10 focuses on the particular international sport phenomenon known as the Olympic movement, which has propelled certain sports to international prominence and taken on an originally unintended economic and political significance. In particular, the inclusion of professional athletes has changed the nature of the Olympic Games and increased attention in countries around the world on developing elite athletes who can compete for gold medals.
Part IV focuses on the interaction between culture and sport and lays out the significance of social issues in the sport world, including good sporting behavior (chapter 11), race and ethnicity (chapter 12), women (chapter 13), and social class (chapter 14). The changing role of women and African Americans in society has revolutionized sport, and ethnicity and social class continue to be powerful factors in who plays and watches sports overall and in particular sports.
Chapter 15 examines the relationship of sport to other particular populations, including those who are aging and those who have a physical or cognitive disability. In particular, the chapter recognizes the effects of major societal changes regarding these populations in the past 25 years. For instance, as baby boomers have aged and life expectancy has increased, population demographics have changed, and more of the population consists of older adults who view sport both as a form of recreation and as a tool for living more healthily. At the same time, since the enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, sport opportunities have been greatly expanded for people with a physical or cognitive disability.
As has been the case for centuries, sport also interacts with religion (chapter 16) and politics (chapter 17). Institutions and individuals in both arenas have affected the growth of sport and used sport to their advantage. Athletes use religion in their sport, and religious organizations use sport to promote their purposes. Governments use sport to promote identity, unity, social values, and nationalism. And as citizens, we rely on government to provide reasonable regulation of sport in order to help us stay safe, in good health, and free from exploitation by unscrupulous promoters of entertainment sport.
Chapter 18 focuses on the use of sport to combat perplexing challenges faced by societies, particularly those characterized by strong socioeconomic barriers. For example, the chapter explores the increasing worldwide emphasis on using sport for the development of peace and understanding among people of various countries. It also examines the use of youth sport programs to help at-risk youngsters with academics, discipline issues, moral development, socialization, and living in a law-abiding manner.
Chapter 19 is the first of two chapters in this edition devoted to deviant behavior. This chapter looks at rule breaking by athletes at various levels of sport. It also examines violence both on and off the field. More specifically, it addresses growing concerns about concussions and debilitating injuries in collision-type sports, as well as off-field violence perpetrated by
professional athletes—a timely topic that deserves serious attention.
Chapter 20 explores deviant behaviors such as eating disorders, hazing practices, and sport wagering with an eye toward current trends, education, and the development of strategies and regulations to prevent or minimize the negative effects of these practices. Of course, deviant behavior also includes the use of performance enhancers and doping, which can create questions about whether a given performance was achieved with the help of an illegal aid.
Finally, chapter 21 anticipates future sport trends in North America, where performance sport (played by professionals) continues to compete with participation sport (played by amateurs). In addition, many youth have moved toward extreme sports that suit their needs better than traditional, adult-organized sports do. Older adults, on the other hand, look to sport to enhance their chances for a longer life of higher quality. More broadly, U.S. sport continues to face issues related to finances, opportunities for women, growing minority populations, and access to sport for families of all income levels. Meanwhile, the delivery of sport events and programs continues to be influenced by the fact that spectators increasingly rely on electronic implements in their consumption of sport.
Updates in the Third Edition
This new edition features updated statistics that allow us to freshly analyze sport trends related to topics such as participation, popularity, gender, race, and class. Similarly, current information is used to address the business side of sport, particularly in entertainment or spectator sports. In addition, the discussion of media and sport has been updated to consider the dramatic effects of the electronic media.
This edition also features updated sidebars that reflect key changes in the world of sport over the past five years. These sidebars feature current athletes, trends, and experts in order to bring alive the topics considered in each chapter. In addition, this edition features a new type of sidebar—Applying Social Theory—to help readers grasp the essentials of each theory and apply it to a current issue in sport.
As mentioned earlier, the chapter on coaching has been moved to part III to better integrate it with the chapters on youth, high school, and college sport. Indeed, the success or failure of an athletic team at any level can invariably be traced in large part to the philosophy, training, and skill of the coach. Therefore, it is encouraging to see that the past 10 years have brought
significant progress in certification processes and continuing education for coaches; even so, however, standards are still lacking at most levels of sport.
To aid learning, each chapter begins with a list of key student outcomes and ends with a summary of the chapter’s main topics. In addition, key terms are highlighted in boldface and defined in a glossary for easy reference. Throughout the text, various types of sidebar highlight diverse aspects of sport:
“In the Arena With . . . ” sidebars highlight key players in sociological change in sport.
“Pop Culture” sidebars discuss current trends in film, books, magazines, and other media that highlight sociological issues in sport.
“Expert’s View” sidebars show how experts in sport sociology interpret sport issues; they also raise discussion points for students.
“Activity Time-Out” sidebars give students the opportunity to classify information, engage in friendly debate, and obtain crucial information.
“Applying Social Theory” sidebars ask students to analyze a particular topic from the perspective of one of the six social theories described in chapter 2.
Several instructor resources are available to help you use this text in your class. The instructor guide has a sample syllabus and a list of supplemental resources. The test package provides 210 questions in multiple-choice and essay format. The chapter quizzes provides 10 questions per chapter to test students’ knowledge of the most important chapter concepts. The Microsoft PowerPoint presentation package has 455 slides outlining the text in a lecture- friendly format. All of these resources are available at www.HumanKinetics.com/SocialIssuesInSport.
I have spent more than 40 years studying sport and applying that knowledge as a professor,
coach, and administrator. I spent nearly 20 of those years on a college campus. Later, I worked in various administrative roles for the United States Tennis Association and spent 8 years on the coaching committee for the United States Olympic Committee, which took on the challenge of improving coaching in all U.S. sports.
For the past 10 years, I have taught a course on sport and society at the University of Tampa. Most of the material in this edition has been vetted by current or former students, who invariably end the semester with a much different understanding of U.S. sport from the opinions they had at the beginning of the course.
I have also been fortunate enough to experience extensive international travel (most recently to China) and in the process have learned a great deal about sport in other countries. These experiences have given me a unique perspective on sport. It is my hope that you will enjoy this perspective while also understanding where it is limited.
Acknowledgments I express warm thanks to the hundreds of students who have sparked my interest in evaluating the information available on the sociology of sport. They have challenged me to make the information relevant to today’s world of sport. In particular, students at the University of Tampa have provided consistent feedback and creative ideas and have clearly articulated their interest in certain topics. My interactions with these students have taught me a great deal about their perceptions of American sport and physical activity; these interactions have also given me the opportunity to share with students my own career and life experiences. Through this sharing process, we have all realized that sport plays a critical role in our lives and in our society, and we hope that sport will similarly entertain future generations of participants, performers, and consumers of sport and physical activity.
I’m indebted to Rainer Martens, who challenged me to accept this project and showed confidence in me to produce a worthwhile product. Likewise, I appreciate the work of Myles Schrag, acquisitions editor, for his guidance in the conception and shaping of the manuscript. Later in the process, developmental editor Amanda Ewing offered insightful advice, helped keep me on target, and made terrific suggestions for revision for this third edition. Both Myles and Amanda have been loyal partners from the original conception of this work and throughout each new edition of it.
I also acknowledge the assistance and friendship of Dr. Tian Ye and Dr. Tian Hui of Beijing, China, who invited me to their country to speak to the China Institute of Sport Science and other distinguished groups in their country. Their hospitality and keen interest in American sport eventually led to their translating this text into Chinese to be used in their universities.
Finally, my wife, Kathy, has been a tireless supporter throughout the project and has encouraged me every step of the way. Without her interest, patience, and personal commitment to sport, it would have been a difficult undertaking.
Part I Studying Sport in Society
These opening chapters set the stage for studying sport from a sociological perspective by pointing out the integral relationship between sport and society in North America. The first chapter defines key words such as play, game, sport, and work in terms of purpose, organization, and complexity. As sport moves from participation sport (played by amateurs) to high-performance sport (played by professional athletes), it also moves away from recreation or leisure-play activities and takes on the characteristics of work.
Chapter 1 examines why people study sport and reviews the sport sciences that enable us to develop the scientific knowledge on which coaching and training are based. Chapter 2 presents typical methods of studying sport. It defines several social theories and gives examples of how they might apply to sport research and interpretation. These social theories, referred to throughout the book, provide a framework for understanding different points of view relevant to the specific topics of each chapter. Therefore, it is critical that you understand these theories so that you can respond effectively to their application in later chapters.
Chapter 2 also describes the emerging field of sport sociology. Whereas sport psychology tends to focus on one individual, sport sociology explores people in groups and how they interact with and affect one another in relation to sport. The chapter also provides information about sociological tools for learning more.
Chapter 1 What Is Sport and Why Do We Study It?
Student Outcomes After reading this chapter, you will know the following:
The definition of sport The sport pyramid Why you should study sport The subdisciplines of sport science
Like many college students, you may feel that sport plays a significant role in your life. Perhaps you even chose your university partly on the basis of its athletic success. In fact, in the United States, many of us have heard of certain colleges simply because of their prowess in athletics. Though sport plays a relatively minor role in an institution’s mission and purpose, college sport teams typically enhance school spirit and serve as a focus of campus social life.
However, if college sport merely produces more spectators—more people who watch other people participating in sport—we might ask whether they really benefit students. More to the
point, perhaps the question should be this: How physically active are students in both sport and other activities that contribute to their overall health and well-being?
On Thursday, April 15, 1954, I realized that baseball was important in the world. On that day, Baltimore got its own Major League Baseball team, the Orioles, and opened the brand- spanking-new Memorial Stadium. The formation of the Orioles, spawned from the lowly St. Louis Browns franchise, marked the entry of my home city into the big leagues. Although I was just a kid, I knew that day was special because city hall closed for half the day, most businesses shut down, and, best of all, schools were closed so that everyone could enjoy the citywide parade.
In fact, Baltimore was about to embark on its golden age of sport, which would coincide with my childhood. At first, we rooted for moderately talented sport teams, but soon Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson led the Orioles and the magical arm of Hall of Famer Johnny Unitas guided our football team, the Colts. Having these two superstars in the same city was like having a quarterback such as Peyton Manning or Tom Brady along with an infielder such as Derek Jeter or Evan Longoria as your football and baseball heroes. I knew right then that I was falling in love with sport.
You may have a similar childhood story of your own introduction to sport. Regardless of the details, once we’re hooked, many of us never quite let go of our interest in and devotion to our favorite sports and heroes. In fact, the word fan derives from fanatic—and that’s just what many of us have been and continue to be. Furthermore, if you’re like me, studying sport is fun and can also help you expand your understanding of the place that sport holds both in North America and in the world. To get a quick sense of this significance, imagine that all sports were banned, as indeed some have been in certain civilizations. Our lives would change, immediately and dramatically, in terms of how we invest our discretionary time, our money, and our emotions.
This scenario is jarring because sport affects our lives every day. Strangers on the street stop to chat about their hometown sport successes—whether they involve a local high school, a college, or a professional team. Entire cities wake up on the morning after an exhilarating win by the home team and feel proud to live where they do—or wake up after a tough loss and sink into mourning. Kids look up to sport heroes, memorize the lifetime statistics of favorite athletes, and dream of making it someday to their own fame and fortune. They may even
copy the stance, mannerisms, and clothing of their heroes.
Sport also affects the cultures, traditions, and values of a society. Stories in the sport world help us clarify our stances on a wide range of issues, such as race and gender relations, the rights of senior citizens and persons with a disability, class mobility, youth development through physical activity, and progress toward a better standard of health and fitness for everyone. These issues and others are examined in the coming chapters. For now, let’s focus on what sport is and how it differs from play and games.
Sport Through the Ages
Before we can analyze the effect of sport on society (and vice versa), we need to know what sport is and why we should study it. The word sport is derived from the Latin root desporto, which means “to carry away.” The term sport has been used through the ages to refer to physical activities that are competitive and organized and that divert people from the everyday business of sustaining life or producing economic gain.
Over the centuries, both sport and game playing have fulfilled various roles in societies. Early Greek civilization used sport and game playing in celebrations, in rituals honoring their gods, and in funeral ceremonies; in fact, as you may be aware, the great Greek poet Homer described sport in his literary classics, the Iliad and the Odyssey. Typical contests of physical prowess among the ancient Greeks included footraces, chariot races, wrestling, boxing, leaping, and hunting. In the ancient city-state of Sparta, sport and game playing helped young men refine the skills of war. In contrast, the city-state of Athens educated young men in grammar, music, and gymnastics to fully develop their physical and mental capacities. These two approaches established different parties as the beneficiary of sporting skill. In Sparta, sport benefited the state; in Athens, it aided the perfection of the individual man.
Sport and game playing also played a role in other ancient civilizations, as is evidenced in paintings, carvings, and various historical documents. Indeed, every culture has included running, swimming, and jumping competitions and has also had a place for combat-related activities, such as boxing, wrestling, and other martial arts. Ball-oriented games have also been popular in diverse civilizations, including those of the Egyptians and of American and Canadian Indians; various forms of football can be traced to ancient China.
Of course, sport and game playing are still used today, both as forms of celebration and as
examples of athletic prowess. But what exactly is sport?
Definition of Sport
The sport pyramid (figure 1.1) provides a helpful way to think of sport. The pyramid contains four elements of human activity—play, games, sport, and work. These activities are often confused because of the interchange and overlap of ideas. Let’s look at each one individually and then examine the interrelationships.
Figure 1.1 The sport pyramid.
Play forms the base of the pyramid since it is the physical activity of childhood and continues throughout life in various forms. Play is free activity involving exploration, self-expression, dreaming, and pretending. It follows no firm rules and can take place anywhere. Other than giving pleasure, the outcome of play is unimportant. Over the years, theories of play have been formulated by many people, including Dutch historian Johan Huizinga (1950), who described play as being free of form, separate from ordinary life, and free of specific purpose. He considered games and sport to be specialized forms of play, with more formal rules and purposes and an emphasis on the outcome.
A game is an aspect of play that possesses greater structure and is competitive. Specifically, games pursue clear participation goals that can be either mental, physical, or a combination of both; they are governed by either informal or formal rules; they involve competition; they produce outcomes determined by luck, strategy, skill, or a combination thereof; and they result in prestige or status.
Examples of inactive games include board games, such as Monopoly; card games, such as hearts and Texas Hold’em (a kind of poker); and video games, such as Madden NFL and
Grand Theft Auto. In contrast, examples of active games include kickball, ultimate, paintball, touch football, and street hockey. As these games have become more mainstream, some people have moved to organize them by means of national rules and competitive events. As a result, they have evolved beyond informal neighborhood or schoolyard games and activities and taken on the characteristics of a sport (described in more detail in the next section).
Board games are inactive games that require participants to follow set rules and use a combination of strategy, skill, and luck.
© Human Kinetics
In the past 20 years, our understanding of games has also been complicated by the rise of the X Games, a commercial sporting event put on by ESPN that features extreme action sports. In fact, these “games”—which include skateboarding, snowboarding, motocross, and in-line skating—are not just games but also sports. To clarify, the category of games is broader than the category of sport. Therefore, a sporting event such as a football or basketball contest is often described as a game; however, when such a game (for example, a college football game) takes place in the context of a league with rules, standings, and sponsors, it is sport.
Unsatisfied with competitive games, some people, such as Dale Le Fevre, have worked to create and popularize what they call New Games, which focus not on competition but on cooperation, participation, creativity, and personal expression. New Games have been and continue to be used to teach team building in physical education classes, youth camps, religious groups, and businesses.
Le Fevre’s book, Best New Games (2012), is popular around the world. In many of his workshops held over the past 35 years, traditionally adversarial groups have come together to play and have fun—for example, ethnic Arabs and Israelis, competing religious groups in Ireland, and different racial groups in South Africa. The principles of New Games could also be applied today to political trouble spots such as the Ukraine, North Africa, and Iraq, where ethnic, religious, and racial differences continue to cause mistrust, separation within countries, and violent uprisings.
Sport can be thought of as a specialized or higher order of play and as a kind of game with certain characteristics that set it apart. Many people’s definition of sport is influenced by television programming, particularly that of ESPN, which presents an activity such as poker as sport but doesn’t broadcast e-sports. However, it isn’t reasonable to accept as sport everything that ESPN chooses to broadcast as “sport.” To the contrary, sport has been defined over the years by various textbook authors, and, taken as a whole, their ideas point to certain characteristics (Coakley 2004; Leonard 1980; Sage 1998; VanderZwaag and Sheehan 1978).
1. Physical component. Perhaps the most critical characteristic of sport is that it involves a physical component. Unlike play and games, which may or may not be physical, sport must include physical movement and skill. More specifically, sport typically involves the use of physical coordination, strength, speed, endurance, and flexibility. According to this definition, chess and checkers are not sports whereas games such as billiards and darts can be classified as sports, though the physical skill required is fairly limited to eye– hand coordination.
2. Competition. Sport is also competitive and involves outcomes that are important to participants and often to others, such as family members, fans, sponsoring organizations, and the media. Competition, of course, includes winning and losing, and this reality powerfully motivates participants to train faithfully and give their best effort.
3. Institutionalized games. Sports are governed by an outside group or institution that enforces rules and oversees conduct and results. For example, in the United States, professional football is governed primarily by the National Football League (NFL), collegiate sports are governed largely by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), and rules for hunting and fishing are set by local game and wildlife commissions. Therefore, whereas a pickup baseball game at a local park is simply a game, a Little League Baseball game—with rules, customs, standards for play, officials, coaches, and win-loss records—is a sport.
4. Specialized facilities and equipment. Sport almost always requires specialized facilities and equipment. Although this is less true of certain sports, such as cross country running and distance swimming (across a natural body of water), most sports require a created setting —whether it is a field with set boundaries, a pool, a gymnasium, a court, a golf course,
or some other facility. Equipment is particularly important at the professional level, where athletes rely on the precise quality of their sled, skates, vaulting pole, tennis racket, golf clubs, baseball bat, or other specialized gear.
Sport, then, is typically defined in North America as institutionalized competitive activity that involves physical skill and specialized facilities or equipment and is conducted according to an accepted set of rules in order to determine a winner.
sport—Institutionalized competitive activity that involves physical skill and specialized facilities or equipment and is conducted according to an accepted set of rules in order to determine a winner.
Video Games for Physical Activity
For the current generation of youth, video games may occupy a major part of the day —an average of more than five hours daily, according to some studies. Many of these time-consuming video games are sedentary, which means that they reduce kids’ amount of physical activity.
There are, however, some exceptions in the form of video games that include physical activity. For example, Xbox Kinect and Wii both offer players a chance to play electronic versions of tennis, golf, baseball, and bowling, all of which involve some degree of physical activity, such as swinging an imaginary racket, club, or bat. Similarly, Dance Dance Revolution helps participants actively burn calories through vigorous dance moves, and adventure-based video games include prompts for players to jump, dodge obstacles, run, and balance their body. In fact, some physical education programs have experimented with using video games to develop physical activity and exercise routines in the hope of attracting kids who seem to shun more traditional sports and games.
Some video games have now been available for years, and their claims of promoting physical activity have received mixed reviews. Some studies have shown that active video games do cause energy expenditure similar to that of moderate walking, but
other studies are less enthusiastic. The most common criticism is that kids who play video games spend more time indoors, thus eschewing more vigorous physical activities that contribute more to physical fitness and often keep kids active for longer periods of time.
The definition of sport in a given society reflects the culture, beliefs, and attitudes of that society toward a variety of concerns, including warfare, gender identity, survival, and the honoring of any gods. For example, a society that emphasized cooperation more than competition would engage in sports that differed from those found in North American society. The definition of sport can also change within a given culture, as illustrated by the rise of alternative sports for youth (see chapter 6).
Most people do not have the option of achieving high sport performance and developing a professional career in sport. Instead, most of us who play a sport do it as a hobby for the love of the game; in other words, we play as amateurs—a label that stems from the Latin word for love. We gain intrinsic satisfaction in improving our fitness, refining our physical skills, working as part of a team, or embracing the challenge and excitement of testing our skill against nature or other competitors. For amateur athletes, then, the key lies not in the outcome but in the participation itself. Sport participation is recreation, and it differs greatly from work. We participate to rejuvenate the spirit, and we don’t need extrinsic rewards for doing so.
Sport can vary to accommodate people with physical or sensory impairment. Program directors who value the inclusion of people with a disability can use modified sports—such as wheelchair basketball, tennis, soccer, and volleyball—to blend people who have a disability with those who do not in sport competition. For a closer look at sport for people with a disability, see chapter 15 on special populations.
Work is purposeful activity that includes physical or mental effort, or both, in order to perform a task, overcome an obstacle, or achieve a desired outcome. Often, people earn their living through work by trading it for compensation that provides for the necessaries of existence. Work appears at the top of the pyramid shown in figure 1.1 because sport can take
on the characteristics of work at the professional level. Professional athletes are paid to perform work by training their physical skills to the highest level for competition with other elite athletes. Although all professional athletes begin their lives with childhood play and then participate in games and eventually sport, they may begin to regard sport as work after many years of facing competitive pressure, fighting through injuries, and living up to the expectations of employers, fans, and the media.
Sport, Game, or Physical Activity?
How would you classify each of the following endeavors? Test your understanding of the differences between sport, physical activity, and games and then compare your answers with those of other students. Mark S for sport, G for game, and PA for physical activity.
____ Flying a kite ____ Street hockey ____ Bocce ____ Throwing a flying disc ____ Weightlifting ____ Tap dancing ____ Ballroom dancing ____ Cheerleading ____ Roulette ____ Rope jumping ____ Jogging ____ Juggling ____ Fishing ____ Bowling ____ Skateboarding ____ Riflery ____ Bicycling
If you had trouble classifying some activities, that struggle may relate to the fact that they fit neatly into neither the sport category nor the game category. For one thing, an activity may involve physical activity but be used primarily for entertainment. For example, professional wrestling involves two people who perform carefully choreographed moves that may appear to be competitive but in fact are designed purely for entertainment. Similarly, a Broadway show may entertain you with skillful dancing and singing, but the dancing does not qualify as a sport. With these examples in mind, evaluate an activity against all of the classification criteria before judging whether it fits the definition of sport.
At the highest level of organized sport, athletes and coaches may earn millions of dollars for their performances, along with endorsement fees for the right to use their appearance or name in promoting particular products. Once they accept financial remuneration for their athletic performances, they are deemed to be professional athletes who are hired to perform in their sport. If such a person were a collegiate student-athlete, the NCAA would then classify him or her as a sport professional who is ineligible to compete in collegiate sport.
Athletes of any age who aspire to the professional level may be described as high- performance athletes. They develop their composite athletic skill so that they can perform at the highest level and perhaps earn a living by doing so. In fact, children as young as age 10 may follow a dream of becoming a star athlete and therefore submit to a regimen of training and competition that prepares them for a professional career. Even at a young age, if the goal is a professional career, playing a sport can take on the characteristics of work, which can lead to burnout and boredom for a child who is more interested in participating in a sport for the fun of it.
In light of this discussion of sport and work, we might represent the top levels of the sport pyramid in the manner shown in figure 1.2.
Figure 1.2 Detailed sport pyramid.
The reality of the pyramid as shown in figure 1.2 is that much of the attention paid to sport in North America is focused on the highest level of sport performance. Professional sport is a business, and decisions at this level often reflect the goal of earning money. Moreover, the line between professional and amateur becomes blurred at the highest levels of collegiate sport, where universities support their athletic teams with large sums of money, even though the players receive only scholarships in return for their services. Even some youth programs take on the characteristics of professional sport by requiring kids to train year round, specialize in one sport at a young age, and perhaps risk a career-threatening injury in the heat of competition.
Despite the prevalence of sport, only a small percentage of athletes can ever hope to reach the professional level. Despite this focus on the gifted few, the health and welfare of society depend more substantially on the amount of exercise and activity performed by citizens as a whole. Indeed, as the U.S. population ages, as obesity increases, and as health and physical fitness become national concerns, perhaps participation in sport by the masses will command more attention, funding, and publicity.
Only in the United States are the amateur and professional segments of sport defined so specifically. This delineation results largely from the unique presence of thousands of collegiate sport teams that have maintained an amateur label. In the rest of the world, this distinction is unnecessary because universities generally do not field sport teams or offer
athletic scholarships. For example, in European countries and in China, Russia, and Africa, children as young as age 10 can sign professional contracts (with parental consent) that provide coaching and training expense money from a sporting goods manufacturer or government sport agency. In the United States, people would say that these athletes have “turned pro,” but in their home country no such distinction is even considered.
In 2013, Michael Andrew became the youngest male swimmer in history to turn pro when he did so just after his 14th birthday. What makes Andrew unique is that—with the notable exception of Michael Phelps, who turned pro at age 16—elite male swimmers generally swim collegiately before turning professional. Andrew, however, signed a sponsorship agreement with P2Life, a high-performance nutrition supplement manufacturer, and thus forfeited his opportunity to swim competitively in high school or college.