The Importance of Sports Sports are an important part of just about every society, every country, and every part of our planet. In one way or another, everyone is involved in sports or some sort, whether they're playing or watching or just know someone who does. There are many types of sports. Golf is an individual sport. Even though golfers play on the same course, they are really competing against one another only with their scores. Unlike tennis, in which one player must beat the other to finish a match, golf features each player against every other player, with the one who takes the fewest strokes to sink the ball into 18 holes is declared the winner. Baseball, basketball, and soccer are team sports. Teams of five, seven, and nine play against each other, with team members helping each other to win as a team. Sports are played for fun or for money or sometimes both. Just about every sport has both professionals (those who compete for money) and amateurs (those who do not compete for money). Many amateurs who are really good at their sport become professionals. Sports bring people together and also set people apart. A team, whether professional or college or amateur, can inspire many fans to cheer for that team. Each team has its own fans. So, when two teams or two individual athletes compete against each, the fan base is divided in two. Such classic rivalries as Yankees-Red Sox in baseball and Liverpool v Everton in football can last for years and years, with fan traditions being passed on from father to son. Sports cost money, from the athletes, from the fans who watch them, and from the people who make those athletic contests possible. Many professional athletes make millions of dollars every year; others make only a few thousand. Amateur athletes don't get paid when they win, but somebody has to make places available to stage those amateur contests and the athletes have to spend money to travel to those contests. Every sport has a history of some sort. Passionate fans remember lots of their favorite sport's history. Baseball and football especially have a long history, full of amazing feats and a whole lot of numbers. Many people can remember the last time Real Madrid won a championship a lot better than they can remember famous dates in their country’s history. Sports often reflect the culture of the countries in which they are played. Countries like Kenya, with their wide open spaces and their culture that emphasizes walking and running, produce excellent long-distance runners, more so than any other country. We can even find sports in archaeology. An example of this is archaeological evidence of the ancient ball games that the Mayas played in which they tried to throw a ball through a ring. Sound familiar? We now call something just like it basketball. In many ways, sports define a society. They show what people are interested in watching other people do and what they will pay to see. They show how people can make a living by being athletic and entertaining other people. They give people ways to test their athletic skill against other people. Most of all, they give people something to focus on and follow that is a sort of release from the stressful cares of everyday life.
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