Sports and Society Sports and Society

Sports sociology studies the interrelationship between society and
sports in a nation. The study expounds on the influence of culture and
values on sports. It also examines how sports influence values and
culture of a society. Sports sociology also discusses the relationship
between sports and media and also politics. Sports have a leading role
in the society all over the world. All the surroundings of sport such as
race, money, politics and sex have influence on the culture of a
society. Many communities have used sport as a tool for reconciliation
and peace keeping. In many parts of the world, sports have been used as
a commercial business. In a society like America, sports symbolize range
of virtues and values of the participants. It is through sport that the
characters of many individuals are developed and nurtured. Sports also
promote religion and build a spirit of commitment by all the involved
parties. This essay discusses the relationship between sports and
society and its impacts as well as the ways in which it acts as ‘the
opiate of the masses’.
The main area of the interrelationship of sports and society is through
the impact felt by the people. Sport is associated with violence in some
places and others view sport as a tool for peace (Scambler, 2005). The
world of sports is not an exception in the application of rules and
laws there are set rules by the coaches and administrators, and even a
set of unwritten rules, but confusion always arise between the sport and
nation laws. Violence refers to the application of extreme force
physically in which the resulting effect is harm. Violence in under
conformity to the social norms is highly criticized, and it is even
illegal (Scambler, 2005). On the other hand, violence applied in over
conformity, or in the enforcement of norms or in the people protection,
is embraced by all.
Sports build character of the participants and also promote good values
like honesty. The culture of a society is affected by character traits
of its members. Those who participate in sport have a dedicated spirit
of teamwork as well as commitment and discipline (Scambler, 2005). This
influence the way they interact with the rest members of the society.
Professional code of ethics also applies in sports and to the sportsmen
and women. Code of ethics refers to all the values that govern the
working of professionals in their area of expert. It guides them
especially when faced by a problem that require decision making. The
success of implementation of ethics is governed by the core values in
the industry. Core values refer to the guidelines upheld by
professionals in their work set up (Scambler, 2005). They contribute to
the morality of the society. Ethics refers to the moral good or bad of
an action as viewed by the society. Societal morality is based on good
ethics by the residents of that community.
Politicians have ventured in sport activities, to promote their
campaigns in their political ambitions. This has led to
commercialization of sports in the modern society resulting to erosion
of moral ethics. Critics of the political arena like Kofi Annan, the
former United Nations Secretary-General, once refuted that politics
should be organized like football (Scambler, 2005). He was referring to
the level of transparency and openness in conducting of World Cup games
as compared to international politics. There is a big following for the
football clubs as compared to the international politics. Politicians
should change the way of addressing issues to borrow a leaf from sports.
In some cases, sports bring political rivals together and thus
cohesiveness of members of society (Scambler, 2005).
Another impact of sports is the growth and development of media. Some
people will disagree on the idea that sports promote media coverage, and
it is true. Many television channels have invested in the broadcasting
of sports increasing their population coverage. This has a positive
impact in terms of revenue as advertisers will pay for the services
offered. Media also affects sports like when they give more coverage to
male dominated sports as compared to their female counterparts, this
result to gender inequality. Media is supposed to promote a just free
society with equality for all (Scambler, 2005). The coverage of sports
also creates a spirit of winning among the participants. This may result
to application of unethical ways to win and get fame from media
commentators.
Peaceful coexistence of the different members of the society is created
by the spectating role of sports. All the social and economic classes in
the society are broken when people come together to enjoy sports. People
take similar sides as well as opposing sides, and this encourages better
relationships to the members of the society (Scambler, 2005). When
people support the same team, they have a common meeting ground where
they can exchange ideas and values. This integration breaks all the
social segregation groups in society. Nations, which have been faced by
cases of tribal wars, have opted to sporting activities as a solution to
their problems. The different tribes come together regardless of their
differences, and this promotes peace. Sports also promote the fight
against racism among the players and also members of the society
(Scambler, 2005). People get united when they watch games together and
feel safe to interact.
Sports, like religion, can act as opiate to the members of a society.
Scholar Karl Marx expounded on the role of religion as an opiate of the
masses (Scambler, 2005). He argued that religion is an ideological tool
of legitimizing and defending interests of a few members of the society.
The few masses included the wealthy class of the society while the poor
lots were forsaken. Sports being interrelated with religion will have a
similar take of Marxist criticism employed to religion. It is viewed by
many people that sport is a civil religion’s integral part. People use
it to advance their ideas and also morals. The ideas advanced are meant
to benefit a few members of the society at the expense of others
(Scambler, 2005). These clearly portray the position of sports in the
lives of the haves and have not members of society. The resulting effect
is inequality among the members of a society.
Sports, however, have another side of life. They may promote violence
among the players as well as spectators. Spectators of a sport will
fight for the morality in the sporting activities and more especially
when they feel their stars are treated unequally. The sport ethics are
upheld by the rules set by the coaches and administrators and even the
unwritten rules (Scambler, 2005). In case athlete fights with a referee
or punches a coach who restrains them from the sports, the act is
punished in a severe way by the sport association since it is a
rejection of the social norms. A different scenario is observed when a
fellow player attacks another and injures him in the game of football as
a result of advice from the coach to act in an aggressive way. This kind
of violence is involved in the over conformity to the sporting norms,
and many look at it as a source of entertainment.
When over conformity of sport rules are observed, the sport will be
exciting, and all norms will be promoted effectively. On the other hand,
when there is under conformity, norms will be underdeveloped since many
will reject the rules (Scambler, 2005). Some people have accused the
aspect of commercializing the sports activities as the major cause of
violence stating that some player are paid high to cause violence in the
game. However, not all confer with this because even earlier before the
sports were commercialized, violence was still in existence.
Sociologists state that media are also involved in the exaggeration of
what happens in the field, and this may result to violence by the
spectators who are in support of a set team (Scambler, 2005).
A solution to curb violence in the sporting activities is by analyzing
the culture of the individual athlete (Scambler, 2005). This is so
because, most of the times these athletes come from different cultural
settings with different ideologies, which need to be harmonized. Another
group that should be blamed for violence in sports is the greedy owners
of the various sporting clubs. There are also the TV people who want to
air the violence so as to have a higher rating. All these are aspects of
culture which need to be redefined so as to restore sanity in the sports
(Scambler, 2005). There should also be the change of the perception of
the players starting from their home setting. Parents should reprimand
their children from the early age so as to avoid instances of violence
when they grow up.
Conclusion
This essay discusses the relationship between sports and society and its
impacts as well as the ways in which it acts as ‘the opiate of the
masses’. Sports affect everyone regardless of their status or position
in the society. The effect of sport is not limited to the participants
only rather to all those who are in contact with it. When a match is
being televised, it is not done so in a discriminatory manner. All the
members of the society are at liberty, to watch it. This is an indirect
effect of sport to one’s life and to the wellbeing of a society.
Sports build character of the participants and also promote good values
like honesty. The culture of a society is affected by character traits
of its members. Those who participate in sport have a dedicated spirit
of teamwork as well as commitment and discipline. This influence the way
they interact with the rest members of the society. Professional code of
ethics also applies in sports and to the sportsmen and women. Sports,
like religion, can act as opiate to the members of a society. Sports
also promote the fight against racism among the players and also members
of the society. People get united when they watch games together and
feel safe to interact.
References
Scambler, G. (2005). Sport and society: History, power and culture.
Maidenhead, England: Open University Press.
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