Across the world, sports are played as a source of entertainment, recreation and physical fitness. They teach youth about teamwork, cooperation, and independence. They also offer mental health rewards for athletes.
Sports have played a major role in the construction of national identities. Nations can be divided into core and peripheral blocs, based on their economics, culture and politics. Some noncore countries have used regularly recurring sports festivals to promote their identity.
During the Middle Ages, bourgeoisie enjoyed archery matches, which were often staged with considerable fanfare. Drunkenness was commonplace. Companies marched behind patron saints of archery. The matches were a source of entertainment and sometimes included grand feasts.
The sport of fencing became popular in northern Europe. French and Italian fencers regarded it as an art form. The sport also developed in France during the period of the Renaissance.
The concept of a sports record was first devised in England. During the late 17th century, boxer-entrepreneur Jack Broughton formulated a set of rules to regulate the sport. These were strengthened by the marquess of Queensberry in 1867.
During the Industrial Revolution, scientific developments sustained the games. Quantification was an important aspect of the games.
The idea of equality influenced modern sports, leading to the height and weight classes. In addition, the idea of nationality led to the formation of teams. It was also the basis for the notion of age groups.
After World War II, the sports of basketball and volleyball began to emerge globally. These sports are based on a system of interdependencies, with countries competing for the best athletes.