Sports and Games

Games and sports appear to be common characteristics of both past and present human society. Numerous artefacts from game play have been discovered in archaeological digs around the world. Balls and hoops are examples of physical skill instruments, as are game boards, board game pieces, and playing cards for strategy games, as well as dice for chance games. Boards and pieces for games comparable to draughts (checkers in North American English) have been discovered in the ancient city of Ur in modern-day Iraq (Oxland 2004) and in Egypt dating back to 600 BCE. From archaeological and narrative sources, early athletic games, or sports, are well recognised. Play in games and sports is frequently shown in a number of art media from throughout the world, including painting and sculpture. Games and other pleasures were documented by the Greek historian Herodotus (5th century BCE) in Egypt and Lydia (western present-day Turkey), while dice games were detailed by the Roman historian Tacitus (55-120 CE) among Germanic tribes. The ruins of the ancient Greek Olympic games, which are commonly dated to 776 BCE, are well-known and feature both the site where the games were held as well as weapons like javelins and discuses. A number of sports were held in ancient Rome, some of which were adapted from Greek precursors, first in gymnasia and palaestrae and then in enormous stadia, such as the Circus Maximus, and amphitheatres, such as the Colosseum. Chariot races in the Circus Maximus and gladiatorial combats in the Colosseum were popular spectator sports.

The Mesoamerican ballgame, known in Nahuatl as öllamalitzli, is one of the most well-known team games of physical skill from the ancient world. It can be shown in murals, stone carvings, painted pottery, and clay figurines of players found in a variety of locations throughout Mexico and Central America. The oldest of them, in the Mexican state of Chiapas’ Paso de la Armada, dates from around 1400 BCE. Game play had significant symbolic or ritual features (often involving human sacrifice) as well as more practical purposes, such as conflict resolution, status acquisition, and gambling. However, it was also played merely for fun, possibly even by women (Whittington 2001). While the actual rules of the game remain unknown, it is still played throughout northwestern Mexico, mainly in the states of Sinaloa, Sonora, and Durango (Fox 2012).

What distinguishes a game from a sport?

Although definitions are arbitrary by their very nature, many cross-culturalists have established the following definitions and distinctions between games and sports:

Games are recreational activities that are “characterised by (1) organised play, (2) competition, (3) two or more sides, (4) winner criteria, and (5) agreed-upon rules” (Roberts, Arth, and Bush 1959, 597). Games, as defined, are most likely cultural universals.

Roberts, Arth, and Bush, who classed games based on how their result, that is, how winning or losing, was predominantly determined, made an influential classification of game type. As a result, they differentiated between games of physical skill, games of strategy (which do not require physical talent), and games of chance (involving neither physical skill or strategy).

Sports are commonly thought of as games in which the outcome is mostly determined by physical ability. Sport, according to Loy and Coakley (2007, 4643), is “an embodied, structured, goal-oriented, competitive, contest-based, ludic, physical activity.”

These definitions do not include activities that are often referred to be games in English and other languages. These include parent-infant games like “patty-cake” or non-competitive types of play like top-spinning or constructing string figures. Non-competitive activities were referred to as “amusements” by Roberts, Arth, and Bush (1959).

We’ve compiled a list of cross-cultural comparative research findings on games and sports. (1) Do games serve as role models for crucial utilitarian features of culture? (2) Does child raising influence game play? (3) Are games, especially those disguised as sports, linked to warfare