Sports (or sports) involves any form of generally competitive physical activity that, through organised or casual participation, attempt to employ, enhance or improve certain physical abilities and skills, usually providing participants, spectators and/or competitors with an opportunity to engage in an interactive, energetic and, most importantly, physically demanding activity. It is the commonest and arguably most widespread, athletic activity in the world. The term is usually applied to a specific sport, but can generally be used to describe any competitive physical activity that participants can take part in. Sports can take many forms, including ice climbing (often called mountaineering), rugby, baseball, badminton, golf, soccer, hockey, tennis, softball, surfing, motorbike racing, horse-riding, diving, gymnastics, swimming, surfing, cycling, sailing and snorkelling.
Popular sports names are often given as a way to commemorate those who have made an impact on the sporting world – examples being Pele and Maradona, both of whom had particular careers during their time. More commonly, however, sports names are given to distinguish an athletic team or club, such as British Airways’ Blue Stripes, or USA Today’s Longhorn Army. In the UK, for example, the Welsh squad is known as the Welsh squad and the only women’s American sports outfit in the Olympic Games is the US women’s national basketball team. A popular, albeit unusual, sports name in Europe is “Wolves” – a reference to the fierce predator-prey relationship between wolves and man.
The intensity and complexity of participating in sports are frequently disputed. Some suggest that sports are merely physical pursuits enjoyed by people of various ages and physical conditions, and without the added pressure and expectations placed upon them by professionals and spectators. Others argue that sports help build character, helping young people in particular to develop skills that will benefit them in later life, and developing teams of athletes that can then compete at higher levels when they are ready. Sports can be competitive and even competitively demanding; however, the overwhelming majority of sports enthusiasts consider their participation enjoyable and relaxing. Whether or not they enjoy the activity, sports are engaging and stimulating, and they provide many with an opportunity to express their own individual personality through sports.