All you need to know
Athletic competition has long been a part of human tradition and culture, whether it's a professional football player running the length of a field for a touchdown, an Olympic high-jumper beating a world record, or a friendly game of pick-up basketball in the neighborhood park.
Sports are one of the ways in which we interact with each other; they are displays of physical prowess, but set up as games with rules of play, conduct and sportsmanship. There are also health benefits to engaging in sporting activities – simply put, they're a great way to stay in shape. Most of all, sports are fun – or at least, they're meant to be.
A Wide Variety
There are several different kinds of sports, covering many interests. Some of these include:
- Ball sports. These tend to be the most popular sports, whether you're watching them in person or on TV, or playing them yourself. The most popular ball sports are football, basketball, baseball, hockey and soccer. (Hockey isn't played with a ball, but with a puck; close enough.)
- Combat sports. For those who prefer their sporting events to be a little more violent, there are sports such as boxing, wrestling and martial arts. Recently, ultimate fighting or mixed martial arts have taken combat sports to a whole new level; they are very popular.
- Extreme sports. For the considerably more adventurous, there are extreme sports, such as skateboarding, paintball, skydiving and mountain climbing. Nothing says "extreme" like shooting someone with paint or jumping out of an airplane.
- Winter sports. For those of you who prefer chillier temperatures when performing your sports activities, then winter sports would be the obvious choice. Ice skating, skiing and snowboarding are just some of the sports you can play in the wintertime.
The sports industry is huge, and that much fan interest will require media outlets for sports news, highlights, updates and of course, the broadcasting of the games themselves. There are several channels dedicated solely to sports, with programming consisting of sporting events (usually live, but sometimes taped), talk shows, sports news and documentaries.
Two of the biggest sports broadcasters are:
- ESPN is one of the major sports television broadcasters in the United States. SportsCenter is ESPN's sports news show, featuring highlights, game scores and commentary. A quick look at ESPN's website (http://espn.go.com) reveals up-to-date information covering just about any sport you can imagine. It even includes a large number of fantasy teams. No wonder they call themselves "The Worldwide Leader in Sports."
- Fox Sports also does a very good job covering several different sporting events. They are one of the major broadcasters of NFL games, and they are the only broadcaster of the World Series. Fox also has exclusive rights to broadcast the Daytona 500. The Fox Sports website (http://msn.foxsports.com), also has current information on a wide variety of sports, and includes fantasy baseball, football and auto racing.
No matter what game you're playing, all sports use some kind of equipment, whether it's just a ball and glove or full-body padding and protective gear. The kind of sports equipment you need depends entirely on what sport (and often which position) you're playing. For example, hockey goalies wear heavier padding than the other players. Football players are loaded down with gear, while soccer players or basketball players only need a ball and their uniforms.
Some sports require some rather unique equipment. For paintball, a paintball gun is obviously needed, and you'll want to invest in some protection while you're at it. For snowboarding, it's a good idea to get some snowboarding goggles. For skydiving, a parachute is pretty necessary.
There is a wealth of other sports to engage in, such as fitness sports (weight lifting, running), target sports (archery, darts) and table sports (billiards, table tennis). There's also track and field, fencing, cycling and gymnastics, as well as water sports such as surfing, water skiing, canoeing and dragonboating. With such a wide variety of sports to choose from, you're sure to find some that interest you.