Copyright © 2007 Dorling Kindersley
Sports are any competitive game that has set rules and involves physical exertion or coordination. There are TEAM SPORTS, individual sports, winter sports on snow and ice, motor sports with cars and motorcycles, sports with horses and dogs, and EXTREME SPORTS.
People of all cultures and times have played games to test skill and athleticism. Some early ball games used balls made from straw or an inflated animal’s bladder. Games were often linked to social and religious rituals. It is only within the last 150 years or so that games with rules have been played regularly for competition.
The first set of rules for golf were drawn up in Scotland in the 18th century. Many other sports—such as soccer, baseball, cricket, and football—acquired formal rules from the mid-19th century onward. Some games are relatively recent—basketball was invented from scratch in 1891.
In professional sports, competitors are paid prize money or salaries, or both. In amateur sports competitors are not paid. Before sports like rugby union and track and field became professional, many amateurs had to work part-time in other professions to support themselves.
Team sports involve more than one person per side and require the members of a team to cooperate with one another to win the game. Nearly all team sports are ball games. Teams attract long-term interest and loyal fan support that outlasts the popularity of their individual star players.
Soccer is the world’s biggest team sport. Football and baseball are the most popular in the US. Hockey, cricket, and rugby are strong in other nations. Field hockey, handball, netball, and volleyball get less media coverage but are widely played.
A coach trains the individual players to work together as a successful team. Coaches motivate the players to keep up the discipline required during training. They also create strategies for winning. During a game, a coach may send in substitutes to replace players who are injured or playing badly.
Extreme sports are events that are a deliberate extension or intensification of older games. Extreme sports are dangerous, challenging, and sometimes bizarre. They have few rules and are usually not team-based. Players use their skills to control the risks.
The X stands for extreme. The X Games began in 1995 in the US. They are now the biggest annual international event for extreme sports. Summer events are inline skating, skateboarding, stunt biking, and motocross. Winter events are snowboarding and skiing. In the past, competitions were also held for skysurfing (with parachutes), barefoot waterskiing, ice-climbing, and mountain biking in the snow.