Wining Out With Sport
Sports are typically governed by some kind of codes or traditions, that ensure fair play, and enable consistent adjudication of the outcome. For many popular sports, statistics of performance are regularly maintained, and this information can be widely reported or announced in sports news. Similarly, certain sports have built-in mechanisms to help keep the game alive and kicking, such as player benefits or bonus systems. But if there was no referee, or no one to call a foul (or not even call it), what would happen?
One obvious answer is that there wouldn’t be any more sports at all. But if we take the official stance on sports names, we find a little bit of an exception. In British English, the term” athletics” refers almost exclusively to indoor sports; hence” athletics” comes first, “gyms” second,” athletics” coming last. And even then the term” athletics” is frequently used as an adjective, as in “a well-mannered athlete”, or “a sportsman”. So why does this pattern exist? It’s perhaps easier to understand if we consider the fact that in American English, the term” athletics” is used so much as an adjectival expression, to describe any form of physical activity – and this is probably a more appropriate usage than “athletics” would be in British English.
So, to sum up: it’s sometimes easier to play sports than it is to be a sports star, or to participate in them. It is sometimes harder to watch sports than it is to be a sports star. If you’re a fan, you probably find it worthwhile to follow your favourite sport’s results, because it means you’ll be able to see firsthand whether or not their performances are worthy of your time and energy. And if you’re not a fan but regularly follow the progress of a particular sport, you probably enjoy it for its non-sports aspect, for the camaraderie, the challenge and competition, whatever it offers. Sports are for participation, but what makes a game truly great is its ability to inspire.