Throughout history, sports have been used to represent national identity. Some sports, such as baseball and football, are rooted in the culture of a particular country. Other sports, such as rugby, are closely tied to a local community.
Aside from providing physical benefits, sports have also served as a way to reinforce hegemonic social relationships. Some experts suggest that sports may be responsible for the invention of certain traditions. Likewise, they have been used as a means of training young athletes in desirable behaviors.
As far back as the ancient Greeks and Romans, ball games were common. These games involved noncompetitive ritual performances. They were also referred to as contests.
The advent of modern sports during the 19th century marked the beginning of the globalization of sports. This process influenced the formation of national sports organizations and the standardization of rules.
The evolution of modern sports is also influenced by the development of new technologies. The Industrial Revolution facilitated the creation of new equipment and techniques that increased the speed and accuracy of competitions.
While the development of sport can be seen as an eddy within the larger global flow, the process is not without unintended consequences. Some of these unintended consequences include the diminution of Western power. Others argue that Asian and African cultures challenge hegemonic masculine notions of sports.
Aspects of sports such as the “feelings rules” guide athletes in managing their emotions. These rules are important in explaining the connection between sports and identity. They enable people to perform the right actions, such as shaking an opponent’s hand after a game or congratulating an opponent after a victory.