The History of Sports
The origin of sports is uncertain. Children have always included physical activity in their play. The earliest depictions of hunters show them running after prey with joyful abandon. Early civilizations saw hunting as a means to gain spiritual satisfaction, but as the years went by, they began to see it as a sport in and of itself. For example, a man in the Stone Age may depict himself chasing a rabbit. This imagery is evidence of the ancients’ belief in the spiritual benefits of sport, but it wasn’t until the 20th century that they realized the health benefits of regular exercise.
The term sport originated in the ancient Greeks and the Romans, and is also used to describe the competitive games that people played. In the colonial age, sports were common among the people. The first games were played in China and Japan, and they were likely based on gymnastics. The ancient Egyptians were also interested in sports, as evidenced by their monuments, and many of them were related to the Pharaohs. Some of these games included wrestling, high jump, and javelin throwing. Similarly, the Persians had their own versions of these sports, such as the Zoorkhaneh martial art and jousting. In the modern age, motorised sports are common and have been around for thousands of years.
In colonial Virginia and Maryland, sports were very popular. While hunting was a privilege of landowners in England, game was plentiful in the colonies. As such, everyone was free to hunt and to participate in sporting competitions, regardless of their social status. In 1691, Sir Francis Nicholson organized races for “the better sort of Virginians.” These races included racehorses, horses, and spectators of all social classes.