During the 20th century, sports exhibited a pattern of spatial and social diffusion. Some sports were relegated to the fringes, while others were marketed to the entire world. Not only did they provide a source of recreational pleasure, but they also were a symbol of power and prestige for individuals and nations.
As an activity, sports also cultivate mental health and character. They teach students to think analytically, set goals and take risks. They also teach students how to interact with others. Ultimately, they develop confidence and a positive attitude towards life. In addition, children participating in sports develop decision-making skills. For example, children learn how to handle criticism.
Though the aesthetic element of sport has survived, the emphasis in modern sports is on quantified achievement. The transition between Renaissance and modern sports can be observed in the changes in the word “measure.” In the Renaissance, the word “measure” connoted a sense of proportion and balance; in modern times, it has become synonymous with numerical measurements.
A key principle in sports is the concept of sportsmanship, or the desire to enjoy the activity for its own sake. Some famous sportsmen have said that sportsmanship is more important than winning. They also stressed that there are no predetermined results and that everyone has the same chance to win. Although there are rules and laws governing sport, individuals may break them to gain an advantage.