When most people think of a sports team or player, they usually envision a person or team competing in the various popular sports. However, some sports divisions make exceptions to this rule. Some sports leagues even award an annual champions in some instances, by organizing regular season games throughout a year. Still, even with these exceptions, there are many different ways to see which teams are actually the best.
A brief definition of the most common definition of sports would be “the athletic activity in which humans compete to have the highest score or to complete a specific task.” While this definition is extremely broad, it still provides a framework for a great deal of different kinds of athletic competition. In order to qualify as an athlete, one must actually participate in the defined activity, rather than simply watching it on a screen. This means that there are many different types of sports that fit into this definition, including intramural and intercollegiate athletics.
A more exact definition of sports can be found in the dictionary Webster’s Unofficial College Dictionary. This dictionary defines the word as “a game played between two or more persons, using tools, apparatus, etc., for the purpose of exercise, with the participation of physical exertions such as running, walking, throwing, or fighting.” The dictionary also clarifies that competition can be both mental and physical, and that there can be both a winner and loser. Because there can be both competition and winners, the definition of the word sport allows for the existence of any sort of sporting activity.
The next step up from the dictionary definition is that of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The IOC defines sports competition as “an athletic competition involving the use of physical effort at a competitive level, often requiring endurance, skill, and physical strength.” The purpose of the Olympics is to enhance overall physical health and physical endurance for competitive athletics. In this sense, it would be considered a physical competition.
The most comprehensive definition of a sport is the United States Olympic Committee’s (USOC) Universal Definition of Sport, which classifies sports according to their level of physical exertion and competitive advantage. Sports that fall under this classification include track and field events, swimming, wrestling, boxing, gymnastics, athletic wrestling, and beach and water polo events. The USOC further breaks down the types of sports into functional activities that require participants to use particular muscles or body parts. The focus is on physical fitness and health.
Beyond the Universal Definition of Sport, there are lots of different descriptions of sports that people commonly use. For instance, Ultimate Fighting (UF) is an acronym for “Ultimate Fright Fight.” This is a very popular, if somewhat controversial, definition of sports competition. In this competition, competitors engage in intense, usually hand-to-hand combat. Although there are many who participate in this type of sports competition, it is often considered to be combative entertainment and not exercise.