The history of sports goes back at least 3,000 years and in the beginning, sports often involved the preparation for war or training as a hunter, which explains why so many early games involved the throwing of spears, stakes, and rocks, and sparring one-on-one with opponents. It was predictably in Greece that sports were first instituted formally, with the first Olympic Games recorded in 776 BCE in Olympia, where they were celebrated until 393 CE. These games included events such as foot and chariot races, wrestling, jumping, and discus and javelin throwing took place every four years, or Olympiad, which became a unit of time in historical chronologies. There is a well-known, old saying: “A sound mind is in a sound body”. Since far back in history, people have always sought out and invented various kinds and categories of sports. Playing sports helps the body to remain active and fit and enhances its immunity and protects it from diseases, and also promotes mental and emotional health. Sports from a social perspective is viewed as a means of bonding and enhancing cooperation among people, and it should not reach a level of unhealthy competition and hatred. The physically active persons are better able to travel, play with their children, and engage in social activities such as visiting relatives, visiting the sick, or coaching a youth sports team. The major religions of the world support sports and inform that a healthy, strong, and fit body makes it much easier to perform many of the rituals. In Islamic perspective going for Umrah and Haj, the pilgrimage, are physically demanding tasks that sometimes involve long hours of walking, and being physically active will make the whole experience easier. Sports was the Sunnah Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), He (pbuh) encouraged Sports for both men and women. Unfortunately, this Sunnah is one of the most neglected Sunnahs. A famous saying attributed to Omar ibn Al-Khattab (r.a) highlights the sports practiced by early Muslims. He said, “Teach your children swimming, archery and horse-riding.” Islam encourages Muslims to be strong and to continuously strengthen one’s faith, and also their physical strength. The word “sport” comes from the Old French desport meaning “leisure”, with the oldest definition in English from around 1300 being “anything humans find amusing or entertaining” Sport (or sports) is all forms of usually competitive physical activity which, through casual or organized participation, aim to use, maintain or improve physical ability and skills while providing entertainment to participants, and in some cases, spectators. Sport is generally recognized as activities which are based in physical athleticism or physical dexterity, with the largest major competitions such as the Olympic Games admitting only sports meeting this definition and other organizations such as the Council of Europe using definitions precluding activities without a physical element from classification as sports. However, a number of competitive, but non-physical, activities claim recognition as mind sports. Sports are usually governed by a set of rules or customs, which serve to ensure fair competition, and allow consistent adjudication of the winner. Youth sport indeed presents children with opportunities for fun, socialization, forming peer relationships, physical fitness, and athletic scholarships. It can bring positive results to one’s physical health. Hundreds of sports exist, from those between single contestants, through to those with hundreds of simultaneous participants, either in teams or competing as individuals. Winning can be determined by physical events such as scoring goals or crossing a line first, or by the determination of judges who are scoring elements of the sporting performance, including objective or subjective measures such as technical performance or artistic impression. The competition element of sport, along with the aesthetic appeal of some sports, result in the popularity of people attending to watch sport being played. This has led to the specific phenomenon of ‘spectator sport’. Sport is a universal language and at its best it can bring people together, no matter what their origin, background, religious beliefs or economic status. And when young people participate in sports or have access to physical education, they can experience real exhilaration even as they learn the ideals of teamwork and tolerance. Sports science is a widespread academic discipline and can be applied to areas including athlete performance, such as the use of video analysis to fine-tune technique, or to equipment, such as improved running shoes or competitive swimwear. Sports engineering also emerged as a discipline in 1998 with an increasing focus not just on materials design but also the use of technology in sport, from analytics and big data to wearable technology. The increase in technology has also allowed many decisions in sports matches to be taken, or reviewed, off-field, with another official using instant replays to make decisions. In some sports, even players can now challenge decisions made by officials. Research suggests that sports have the capacity to connect youth to positive adult role models and provide positive development opportunities, as well as promote the learning and application of life skills. In recent years the use of sport to reduce crime, as well as to prevent violent extremism and radicalization, has become more widespread, especially as a tool to improve self-esteem, enhance social bonds and provide participants with a feeling of purpose. Worldwide billions of people are fans of various sports e.g., (a) Association football, 4 billion fans global level (b) Cricket , more than 2.5 billion fans global level (c) Field hockey, 2 billion, in Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia (d) Tennis, 1 billion fans global level (e) Volleyball, 900 million, in Western Europe and North America (f) Table tennis, 875 million global level (g) Basketball, 825 million, global level (h) Baseball, 500 million, United States, Caribbean, and Japan (i) Rugby, 475 million, UK and Commonwealth (j) Golf, 450 million, in Western Europe, East Asia, and North America (Popularity in 2018 of major sports by size of fan base). Football is number one popular sports in the world in 2021.
The person working in any institute having sports indoor/outdoor sports facilities are lucky as they are able to share happiness with other fellow beings via sports. The author shared one picture which shows students teachers sharing sports love with each other. Sport no doubt is a universal language, it spans social, age and cultural boundaries. Walk into a park with two jumpers and a football and just wait for a diverse crowd of strangers to join together and share an experience. It is noticed that sports has an extraordinary ability to unite and build relationships. Organized, well-structured youth sports and on-going physical activities can provide many benefits for children and adolescents. Positive experiences that sports and an active lifestyle bring play an important role in a young person’s life. Physical exercise is good for body, mind and spirit. Sports not only serves as an excellent physical activity to improve general fitness, but also sports offer unique benefits. Engaging in sports from a young age not only strengthens bones and muscles, but also tones the body. It helps in increasing strength and stamina. Regular physical activity throughout the lifetime have control on maintaining the weight. Research studies have shown that sports and academic achievements are related. Sports that involve aiming and hitting skills, for example, tennis, badminton and baseball help a player to increase focus. They help to develop leadership qualities and foster team spirit in kids as well. They involve in competitions, which involves winning and losing. This exposes children to both aspects of life, success and failure, and prepare them to accept both with a positive spirit.Whether you are playing sports, working out at a gym, or taking a brisk walk, physical activity triggers brain chemicals that make you feel happier and more relaxed. Team sports in particular provide a chance to unwind and engage in a satisfying challenge that improves your fitness. They also provide social benefits by allowing a player to connect with teammates and friends in a recreational setting. Regular physical activity helps keep our key mental skills sharp as we age. Research has shown that doing a mix of aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities is especially helpful. Participating in this kind of activity three to five times a week for at least 30 minutes can provide these mental health benefits. When we are physically active, our mind is distracted from daily stressors and negative thoughts. Sports can even reduce the levels of stress hormones in our body. At the same time, it stimulates production of endorphins. These are natural mood lifters that can keep stress and depression at bay. Individual sports, such as running, cycling, and weightlifting, are all particularly effective ways to burn calories and/or build muscle. Staying within a recommended weight range reduces the likelihood of developing diabetes, high cholesterol, and hypertension. The regular exercise that comes with playing sports can boost our confidence and improve our self-esteem. Team sports such as soccer, baseball, and basketball are breeding grounds for leadership traits. Because of the opportunity to train, try, win, or lose together, people involved in sports are naturally more inclined to adopt a “team mindset” in the workplace and in social situations? The team mindset leads to strong leadership qualities over time. In sports, just like in life, one cannot win all the time. Playing a sport teaches children this truth early on in life. Therefore, children learn how to accept defeat and lose graciously. They learn how not to get disheartened and to get back up and try again.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused the most significant disruption to the worldwide sporting calendar since World War II. Many individuals are not able to actively participate in their regular individual or group sporting or physical activities outside of their homes. Under such conditions, many tend to be less physically active, have longer screen time, irregular sleep patterns as well as worse diets, resulting in weight gain and loss of physical fitness. Low-income families are especially vulnerable to negative effects of stay at home rules as they tend to have sub-standard accommodations and more confined spaces, making it difficult to engage in physical exercise. The WHO recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity per week. The benefits of such periodic exercise are proven very helpful, especially in times of anxiety, crisis and fear. The global community has adapted rapidly by creating online content tailored to different people; from free tutorials on social media, to stretching, meditation, yoga in which the whole family can participate. Educational institutions are providing online learning resources for students to follow at home. Many of these classes do not require special equipment and some feature everyday household objects instead of weights. However, access to such resources is far from universal, as not everyone has access to digital technologies. Radio and television programmes that activate people as well as distribution of printed material that encourages physical activity are crucial in bridging the digital divide for many households living in precarious conditions. Young people are particularly affected by social and physical distancing, considering sport is commonly used as a tool to foster cooperation and sportsmanship, promote respectful competition, and learn to manage conflict. The COVID-19 pandemic has had and will continue to have very considerable effects on the sporting world as well as on the physical and mental well-being of people around the world. The Governments and intergovernmental organizations should provide sports federations, clubs and organizations around the world guidance related to safety, health, labour and other international standards and protocols that would apply to future sport events and related safe working conditions. This would allow all stakeholders to work cooperatively as a team with the objective to address the current challenges and to facilitate future sports events that are safe and enjoyable for all. Sports education is very important and awareness regarding the benefits of exercise should be promoted further across all populations as body rapidly adopts to the bad changes that occur due to inactivity and can result in decreased quality years of life.
The National Sports Day of India also known as Rashtriya Khel Divas, is a very popular holiday in India, especially when the Summer Olympic Games are going on. This day is the centre of attraction for ardent sports lovers of the country. The main reason behind celebrating National sports day lies in championing the spirit of sportsmanship and propagating the message of various sports. Every year on August 29, India celebrates its National sports day to honour the legendary hockey player Major Dhyan Chand. Widely known as ‘Wizard of Hockey’, the greatest hockey player of India, Major Dhyan Chand Singh, was born on 29 August 1905 in present-day Praygraj, UP. After getting a basic education, Dhyan Chand joined the Indian army as a soldier in 1922. Subedar Major Tiwari, who was himself a sports lover motivated Dhyan Chand to play Hockey. He was an Indian hockey player widely regarded as the greatest hockey player in the history of the sport and was known for his extraordinary goal-scoring skills. He has won 3 Olympic gold medals, in 1928, 1932 and 1936. His influence extended beyond these victories, as India won the field hockey event in seven out of eight Olympics from 1928 to 1964. Major Dhyan Chand , known as The Wizard or The Magician of hockey, played internationally from 1926 to 1949 and scored 570 goals in 185 matches according to his autobiography, Goal. The Government of India awarded Chand India’s third highest civilian honour of Padma Bhushan in 1956. National Sports Day is celebrated all over India by organizing different types of sports like Marathons, Walkathons, Hockey, Football, Volleyball, etc. National Sports Day is celebrated in many Educational Institutes and Sports Academies, to boost sport spirit & the sports scenario in the country a lot of sports and events are conducted. The Significance of National Sports Day is that it is observed to spread awareness on the importance of sports and daily activities in everyone’s life. The National Sports Day is celebrated every year in the Rashtrapati Bhavan and the President of India presents National Sports Awards to the outstanding players of the country. In 2020, the awards were presented virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Under the National Sports Award, players and former players are honoured with awards such as Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, Arjuna Award, and Dronacharya Award. Along with all these honours, the “Dhyan Chand Award” is also given on this day. After the death of Major Dhyan Chand in 1979, the Indian Postal Department paid tribute to him and issued stamps in his honour. As a tribute to him, the National Stadium of Delhi has been renamed Major Dhyan Chand Stadium, Delhi.
(While Dr. Bilal A.Bhat is Associate Professor at SKUAST –S K University of Agriculture Sciences & Technology Srinagar, Dr. Insha Nazir, is a Physiotherapist by profession. Views are their own)