The Evolution of “sport” through the ages

When you think of the word “sport,” usually people think of something that involves multiple people competing against each other in a physical activity. Sports first began in 776 BC with Olympic games that consisted of javelin throwing, races, jumping, and wrestling. Back in that time the word sport really didn’t exist until about the 14th century. None of the sports we know of today were presented back in 776 BC and it wasn’t until 1820 when the first well known sport was created, which was Baseball. I believe that the typical definition of sport has been re-worked over time and that people have changed it to be something that is no longer physical. 

Sports are such an important part of the world today and allow for people to show off their athletic talent. I believe that sports has completely lost the physical aspect in every way. As a sports player myself it is really hard to give it my all because there are so many limitations that have been put in sports. Even when watching professional sports on TV you can just tell by the foul calls in basketball or flags thrown in football that its just not the same. Back in the day you could clobber someone and it was nothing but now if you even poke someone hard its illegal. 

Taking a look at sports back in the day you have some of the best athletes to ever play like Dr. J, Reggie White, and Mike Schmidt. When these three athletes played they had no limitations to worry about while playing. You could hit someone with a straight shoulder to the head in football and thats not a penalty. Hard fouls in basketball back in the day was a common thing because every athlete played there absolute hardest. The competitive nature was strong and every game was a battle no matter what sport it was. Hockey is one of the most physical sports besides football and watching old film of hockey games I saw people getting absolutely laid out on the ice every couple minutes. You see none of that in anytime of sports nowadays its really crazy. 

If you were to put any footage of professional sports from the 90s and below side by side with footage of professional sports now you would also spend time writing an argument paper on how the definition of sports is no longer what it is said to be. In the definition of sports it mentions the word “competing,” which i do still believe to be true that in every sport nowadays competition is there but with the rules incorporated its taking away from the athletes playing because they have to worry about all the tiny rules instead of focusing on the game. For example, in football if you sack the quarterback but land on top of him its a flag. A call like that could change the tempo in a game real quick. 

I understand that you could argue that injuries occur more without these limitations but thats just not true. There are more injuries during this day and age of sports than there was back in the day. Athletes are being held out of games for “rest,” which to me is incredible because as an athlete I would never want to sit out to rest. If there is an actual injury or the possibility of an injury to get worse by playing than I fully understand but to hold someone out when they are healthy is mind blowing. It gives nowadays the mindset that if you don’t want to play one day its ok to sit out. When I was growing up that was unheard of you played every game and every minute of that game unless you were seriously hurt or dying. 

The competition and physical part of the definition of sports just is not there anymore. I truly feel bad for kids nowadays who are growing up watching any type of sports and seeing all the limitations that they have to learn. It makes you think about the future of sports everywhere and ask yourself, How much longer will it be until sports is no longer competitive and does not allow any physicality at all? At this rate it seems like in the next decade sports will really no longer be sports. 


Bellis, M. (2019, August 23). The History of Sports

Tréguer, P. (2018, August 6). origin and history of the word ‘sport’.

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