Competition is a way of life in our society. We endeavor to outperform other people as well as ourselves. We push our bodies beyond their limits to see if it's possible.
And we push our body in different ways. The activities available that challenge ourselves are innumerable. We want to see ourselves achieve a goal, and we're on top of the world when that goal is met. Perhaps we haven't expanded our limits, but then again, we could be content with what we achieved.
Whenever I read or watch sports, however, I wonder what it would be like in a time where competition was a matter of life or death. What did it mean to the individual whose life was on the line if they didn't achieve a goal? When a question like this comes up, I can't help but wonder about the Greek soldier Pheidippides during the Battle of Marathon.
Welcome, fellow Hivians, to my first article on @SportsTalk.
I'm not an avid sports fan. It just never clicked, but I certainly respect sports in general. My wife is a huge soccer (football) fan, and whenever Chile plays, she's watching. Our home becomes a mini arena where like-minded friends chant the goal song at every opportunity. Everyone in the room gets hooked, watching every play and giving curses to the referees on the TV whenever they make those injust calls against Chile.
I imagine that it's the same with every sport. Professional players dedicate their lives to a craft and hone their bodies into a weapon of sport. They coordinate their activities with a precision imagined only possible by black ops military warriors. And for each game win --> Mission Accomplished. Until the next game arrives, they are undefeated in their minds.
In this first article, I answer some of my first questions about sports in general. What are the different types of sports out there, and how popular are they?
#10 - Golf
An estimated 450-million people follow golf around the world.
The sport of golf can't be traced back to just one person. However, we know that the Scottish had a significant role in its present form. Around the 15th century, the sport grew across continents.
Golfers compete by trying to get a little white ball into a hole. They use golf clubs of varying weights, sizes, and angles to hit the white ball with a degree of accuracy that purports to minimize the number of shots required. The game is played until the golfer sinks a ball into 18 holes. The terrain of each golf course is designed for various levels of difficulty.
Like many of the other sports we'll cover today, the game is played across the globe. Beautiful scenery surrounds each venue, and it's no surprise that people enjoy the sport.
#9 - Rugby
An estimated 475 million people follow the sport of Rugby globally.
A variety of football games has existed for centuries. In Britain, it's said that men played football in an earlier version of Rugby as early as Rome's occupation country. The United Kingdom embraced the sport of Rugby and placed an almost mystical value upon the sport. The UK held that Rugby instilled a sense of muscular Christianity upon men that helped them learn favorable traits like teamwork and self-control.
Two teams stand upon a field with goals at opposing ends. Each team is responsible for preventing the other from carrying the ball to the goal line. If a team reaches the goal, they score either 4 or 5 points depending on whether they are in a league or union.
Rugby teams can score a range of points during the game, and it depends on what exactly gets done. Points depend on whether you get a try, goal kick, dropped goal, or penalty kick.
I'm not too proud to admit my lack of familiarity with this game. If anyone out there understands Rugby, please comment below and share some wisdom with those, not as Rugby-savvy.
#8 - Baseball
An estimated 500 million people follow the sport of baseball globally.
Baseball didn't originate within the United States, but we first played it around the 18th century. It developed from the English games of rounders and cricket. These English games, along with Cricket, arose from the Roman game Oina.
This sport, like rugby, centers around two opposing teams. Additionally, each team maintains either an offensive or defensive position. The defensive team strategically positions themselves around the ball field. The offensive team stands at home base in preparation to bat a ball thrown by a pitcher.
The pitcher attempt to launch a baseball over the home plate and into the hands of a catcher. Each time the batter misses, it counts against the offensive team as a strike. After three strikes, the batter is declared out and must relinquish his offensive weapon known as a bat.
If the batter swings and hits the ball, the defensive team attempts to catch the projectile and make contact between it and the batter, now a runner, attempting to run around the diamond to reach home plate. Contact between the projectile and the runner robs him of kinetic energy. He becomes so lethargic that if he doesn't reach his team's area, he may die. If the defensive team is successful, the runner will be declared out and return to his team's area.
However, if the runner succeeds in reaching a base, he can proceed further with each play until he reaches home plate and scores a point for his team. And so the game plays out...good versus evil until 9-innings expire and the team with the most points wins. Each inning allows the team to take a turn at batting until the team at bat gets three "outs".
Sorry about that guys, I find baseball really boring. In fact, it's so boring to me that I almost have to romanticize it to finish writing this section.
#7 - Basketball
An estimated 825 million people follow the sport of basketball globally.
Basketball is one of two sports in this list that originated within the United States. We attribute its invention to James Naismith in the late 1800s in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Again, like main other sports, you have two opposing teams working on scoring points against one another. However, in this game, you throw the basketball into an elevated hoop at the opposing team's side. Each team consists of five players in a game that lasts slightly more than 2 hours.
If neither team scores at the end of the game, it goes into overtime until one team scores.
#6 - Table Tennis
An estimated 875 million people follow the sport of Table Tennis, of all thing, globally.
Two opposing people or teams stand at opposite ends of a table. The table is separated into two halves by a net. Each player possesses a racket used to propel a small ping-pong ball across the net to the opposing side.
In turn, the opposite side player strikes the propelled ball with their own racket to the other side. The goal is to cause the opposite side play to miss striking the ball. The player achieving this goal is awarded a point. Whichever player makes the most points wins.
I never thought I would write about ping-pong, aka table tennis, as an official sport. I didn't even know it was part of the Olympics until this post. It goes to show what I know...not much.
#5 - Volleyball
An estimated 900 million people follow the sport of volleyball globally.
Volleyball originated in Holyoke, Massachusetts, at the hands of William G. Morgan in the late 19th century. William borrowed concepts from tennis by taking the net along the ground and raising it 6-FT higher.
Akin to every other game, except golf, you again have two opposing teams on opposite sides of the net. Each side volleys the ball to the other side, hoping that the other team will miss hitting the ball. The team with the higher score wins.
As I write this list, I'm fascinated by how similar these games appear to each other.
#4 - Tennis
An estimated 1 billion people follow the sport of Tennis globally.
Tennis doesn't appear to have a direct creator. It instead originated in medieval times between the French and British elite.
The game is very similar in configuration to Table Tennis and Volleyball. Tennis is played on a level court with a net separating team areas. Like Table Tennis, the teams strike a ball from one side to another, trying to get the other team to miss a strike or get out of bounds of their assigned area. The team with the highest points wins.
#3 - Hockey
An estimated 2 billion people follow the sport of hockey (ice or field) globally.
Field hockey is thousands of years old. You can trace its origin to ancient Greece. However, it wasn't known as field hockey so far back and resembled a different Gaelic sport. As it's known today, field hockey emerged around the 18th century in popularity.
Ice Hockey appears to be an offshoot of field hockey. I can't find an origin to the sport, but the earliest I've read about its origin is in Northern England. The Canadian James Creighton developed the modern rules for Ice Hockey in the late 19th century.
Whether it's ice or field hockey, the rules are similar. Again, you have two teams trying to score goals on the opposing side. There's no net separating the fields; you have goals on either end of the court or field. The player who scores the most goals in the allotted time wins.
Oh yeah, you can fight in this game; At least, I think fighting is still allowed. There's a penalty box for players that instigate fighting, but it's allowed if both parties agree. I would certainly watch that sport more often if I were correct. It's like watching MMA and traditional sports in one.
#2 - Cricket
An estimated 2.5 billion people follow the sport of Cricket globally.
Nothing is certain about the origin of Cricket. Expert opinions hold that it may have been developed by the Saxon or Norman tribes living in Weald, South-East England. Sometime in the 17th century, Cricket was recognized as an official sport.
Cricket appears very similar to baseball without all the pomp and circumstance. Like every other sport discussed here, there are two opposing teams. Both teams consist of 11 players. One team bats while the other team defends. It's kind of crazy.
You have to batters against 11 defensive players. The field team pitches the ball towards 3 sticks, and one of the batters tries to hit the ball. If the ball gets hit, both batters run back and forth to those sticks until each one reaches them. If they both reach them, then it counts as a run.
Cricket has only two innings, but I imagine it could run as long, if not longer, than baseball's 9-innings. Each batter gets a try if their side is successful. If 10-batters on one side each get a turn, then the inning is over. Likewise, if they run out of their limited pitching balls, the inning is also over.
There are so many parts to this game I'm just mesmerized.
I'm just learning about this game now, so I don't have the best descriptions of Cricket available. For that, I apologize.
#1 - Soccer
The most popular global sport, by leaps and bounds, is soccer (football). An estimated 4 billion people follow the sport of soccer (football) globally.
No one knows when soccer originated. There is speculation that the earliest version of soccer existed in 2500 BC. Like every other game on this post, its had iterations over the centuries. Unlike other games, however, soccer is followed by more than half of the world's population.
Soccer, like other games in this post, starts with two opposing teams trying to score goals on each other's side of the field...a football field. Teams position their players strategically across the field and use their feet to expertly, and sometimes mystically, guide the soccer ball to their opponent's goal net. There are 11 players per soccer team.
I've never seen such fervor in a game as with soccer. Entire stadium chanting their country's national anthem. It's mesmerizing, but I'm a little biased in this regard since my family is so into the game.
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
Thank you for reading and following on throughout my Hive journey. In today's writing, we covered some of the most popular global sports. I feel I have elevated my knowledge of sports to the level of mammals in that I can now breath sports air and drink sports water. There's still a lot left to learn, and I will share my sports development with you.
Is there any sport I haven't covered in the list you would like to read about? Please let me know in the comments below.
Don't forget to upvote, follow @scholaris, and comment below! Thank you for reading.