The History of Sports


Sports are activities where individuals engage in physical activity and compete against each other. Not only do they promote healthy exercise and physical growth, but they also build self-esteem and make friends. Children benefit from participating in sports because they learn to cooperate as a team and play fair. They are also more likely to be happy and to enjoy themselves more.

The first evidence of sports dates back to prehistoric times. The Chinese, the ancient Egyptians, and the Aztecs all engaged in games, including ball games. Some of these games were actually rituals or contests rather than competitions. Ancient Egyptian sports included wrestling, javelin throwing, and high jump. Other ancient cultures were influenced by Greek and Roman antiquity and saw sporting competitions as a way to promote health. Even the Greek physician Galen recommended these types of games for good health and well-being.

Competitive sports use a grading system to determine winners and losers. While some sports retain an aesthetic component, the emphasis today is on the quantitative aspect of sporting competition. Some sports, such as gymnastics, are rated by a panel of judges, while boxing and mixed martial arts assign victories based on a number of different factors.

During the Industrial Revolution, sports began to spread from the wealthy to the masses. During this time, national organizations were established to standardize rules and transform sporadic challenge matches into league competitions. These organizations also certify the eligibility of participants and register the results. In the 18th century, rowing (crew) developed into a sport and gained popularity. The Marylebone Cricket Club, founded in 1787, helped develop organized games.