Sports are individual or group activities that usually involve organization and physical exertion. Sports require skill to play and are competitive in nature. Most sports possess the common features of a designated zone of play, rules of play and neutral officials (often called referees or umpires) presiding over play. Sports have existed since prehistoric times — cave paintings in Libya and Mongolia from 6000 and 7000 BCE respectively evidence that humans at the time engaged in archery, swimming and wrestling.
Sports can be played at a number of different levels. Numerous informal leagues for all ages are offered at gyms, ball fields or community centers worldwide. Schools often have several sports teams that compete with other schools in their area. Colleges and universities have numerous sport teams that compete in collegiate divisions. These teams do not reimburse their athletes, but they may offer scholarships based on athletic merit.
Many sports are played at the professional level; these are governed by professional athletic associations and teams pay players for their performances. Professional athletes tend to get paid large salaries, receive endorsements from companies and feature prominently in mass media. (Photo: Shutterstock)