What Is a Sport?

Sports are competitive activities, typically involving physical dexterity and athleticism. While each culture has a different definition of what constitutes a “sport,” most common definitions clarify the relationship between sports and play. A game, event, or activity is considered a “sport” if it involves an opponent and is intended to be enjoyable. While some people define sports as games or contests, it’s important to note that some activities, such as basketball, soccer, or volleyball, have no physical element at all.

Some sports, such as chess and soccer, are still dominated by a certain aesthetic element, but the emphasis on quantitative achievement has shifted. One linguistic shift can trace the transition from Renaissance sports to modern games: the word measure originally connoted a sense of balance and proportion. In the late 18th century, the term began to refer to numerical measurements. Now, the term “record” is used to describe an event’s results.

The FA Cup is the world’s oldest soccer championship, run by the Football Association of England. Any registered male’s team may enter and play in the competition. The teams are drawn at random and play a series of home-and-away matches. In some leagues, lesser-known teams, called “minnows,” compete in the competition. Professional teams often view these teams as mere recreational players and overlook their contributions. However, ESports are quickly gaining popularity, demonstrating the power of the sport.