Sports are competitions of bodily skill and physical prowess that require a significant amount of effort. They are played in organized and unorganized forms, and can be amateur or professional.
Those who play sports enjoy the sense of achievement that comes with winning or losing, but they may also experience an array of emotions related to the game. These feelings range from passionate identification with one’s representative team to hatred for the opposing team and its misguided supporters, as well as ecstasy when a last-minute goal transforms humiliating defeat into triumphant victory.
The emergence and diffusion of modern sports have been closely linked with the development of mass media and global communication. During this period, sports have become increasingly organized and regulated.
As a result, sports have become major sources of entertainment for people who are not involved in them. They attract large crowds to stadiums and other venues, as well as wide coverage by television and radio.
Athletes are usually governed by rules that ensure fair competition and consistent adjudication of the winner. The outcome of a contest can be determined by physical events such as scoring goals or crossing lines first, or by judges who score elements of the sporting performance, including objective and subjective measures such as technical performance or artistic impression.
The ethos, rules, and structure of the various sports subcultures are often inextricably bound up in the politics of national identity. For example, national sports reenact famous historical conflicts that had important political consequences for the countries involved. They also contribute to the formation of traditions and social identities.