The History of Sports
In colonial America, the word’sport’ originates from the Old French ‘desport’, meaning ‘leisure’. The earliest English use of the word dates from around 1300, and originally referred to anything that entertained humans. In the mid-1500s, the term’sport’ came to mean a game involving physical exercise. However, as its definition has changed over the centuries, it is often used to refer to any game that involves physical activity.
Sport has long been associated with nationalism, as nationalism is usually reflected in the pursuit of sport and in reporting about it. The clash of sports and politics occurred during the 1972 Olympics in Munich, Germany, when masked men attacked a team of Israeli Olympic athletes. In this case, the result was known as the Munich massacre. This incident highlighted the tensions between politics and sport. The importance of preserving the ethos of sports is vital, as this is essential to the development of a healthy society.
In colonial America, sports received great attention. While hunting was an exclusive activity in England, game was abundant in the New World, and everyone was allowed to participate in sport, regardless of social status. In 1691, a man named Sir Francis Nicholson organized competitions for “the better sort of Virginians.” The competitions involved spectators, owners, and judges from all social classes, both racial and class, and included the best in the world.