Sports are competitive physical activities that encourage learning, physical activity and teamwork. They are fun and provide a sense of accomplishment to participants. A sport is usually governed by a set of rules and customs to ensure fair play and fair competition.
Historically, sports are not always defined and a wide variety of activities can be considered to be a sport. These include track and field, gymnastics, and ice events.
Sports are also often associated with the use of performance-enhancing drugs. Moreover, athletes often cheat to gain an advantage. There are also widespread gambling on sports fixtures, which creates motivation for match fixing.
Many forms of traditional sports still continue to enjoy a high level of popularity. In fact, some non-Western countries, including Japan, have traditional sports that still outstrip modern sports in popularity.
One of the oldest examples of sport is the ball game. Ball games were common among ancient civilizations, including those of the Aztecs. Today, sports such as cricket, tennis, and football are popular around the world.
Ball games are also commonly played as ritual performances. The Puritans of the 17th century drove many traditional pastimes underground. During the Industrial Revolution, many of these pastimes were replaced by organized sports.
The early United States, during its colonial period, encouraged swimming and running. Team sports were also an important part of life for the colonists.
Today, sports play a major role in American society. Sports promote a healthy lifestyle and provide an outlet for youth to feel good about themselves.