The importance of sport in modern society
Development of mass sports and its place in modern society is a topical issue of great importance. Popularization of physical culture, sports and healthy lifestyle plays an important role in society in any country. Mass sport is the basis of professional sport, the condition of physical perfection of the younger generations. Professional sport allows, by identifying individual opportunities and abilities of each person in a particular area of sports activity (through increased specialization and individualization of the training process), to achieve maximum, record sporting results. Records in professional sport, winning the official international, national and other sporting events, creates a moral incentive to the development of mass sports.
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Speaking about the role of sport in modern society, it can be argued that sport is a continuous social experiment, in which mankind showsits potential, accumulating and improving human capital, expanding its potential. Sports, by performing developmental, educational, patriotic, communicative function, integrates and coordinates individuals and social groups, helps the nation to develop.The sport system is directly connected with the subsystems of health, science, culture, upbringing and education. Sport has a significant impact on the socio-economic and political processes of any modern society.
It is quite natural that nowadays complex socio-economic, psychological and ecological situation in the world is placing new demands to various sectors of public life, including in such kind of human activity as a sport. First of all, it should be noted that even today the problem of promotion of various types of physical culture and sport among diverse populations. It is obvious, that systematic sport activity and various kinds of physical exercises in a variety of ways will enhance the general resistance of people organism to the modern diverse effects of various kinds.Particularly important this problem is for young generation due to a significant decline in physical health among young people, spread among them of diseases, that threatens the economic, intellectual and social stability of our society in very near future.In this regard, government propaganda of healthy lifestyle and sport takes a special place in the process of development of modern mass sport. (Nicholson, 2008)
SOCIAL ROLE OF SPORT IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF SOCIETY
Sport is an important social phenomenon in all levels of modern society, providing a large impact on key areas of social life: it affects national relations, business life, social status, fashion forms, ethical values, people’s lifestyle. In support of this thesis we can remember the quote of some athlete “… sports today is a major social factor, that is able to resist the invasion of cheap culture and bad habits.” (Nicholson, 2008)
Indeed, the phenomenon of sport has a powerful socialization force. Politicians have long considered the national sport as a hobby, able to unite the community with a unified national idea, filled with a kind of ideology, people’s desire to succeed, to win.
In the U.S., for example, in the 60’s, sport, becoming a national passion, that was declared as a model of American society, and since 70 – 80-s the sport in the U.S. has become “the second religion”, believed by most Americans. Important role in promoting the sport played media, that helped to overcome the so-called “psychological barrier” in public attitudes to physical activity.
Sports as social phenomena ischaracterized by a specific cultural and general cultural function. That first include such functions as development of physical abilities, the satisfaction of social and natural needs in motor activity and optimization of the physical state and health, physical development, improves physique, helps to prevent and reduce the large number of diseases.
Sport, being one of the most important means of enhancing human health, physical development and improvement, it also has a significant positive impact on his spiritual world, his attitude, emotions, moral principles, aesthetic tastes, promoting harmonious development of personality.Modern sport is also important in the development of contacts between people, not only within one country, but also internationally, playing a significant role in deepening mutual understanding between peoples,helps to create a climate of trust and peace. Therefore, the sport is closely connected with the mental, moral, aesthetic, communicative, and other spheres of culture, in this regard is integral component of peopleââ‚¬â„¢s social life.This refers to the specific cultural and general cultural functions of sport, and also socioculturalfunctions. (McPherson 1989)
Firstly, it is necessary to mention acompetitive function, which expresses the socio-cultural nature of sport. It includes several critical aspects of the sport, both the creative activity of the athletes and the formation of necessary volitional qualities, and the exchange of sport results of experience and achievements, as well as other factors. In fact, the social phenomenon of the competition characterizes the sport as a form of intense social activity. As an initial form of athletic relations, any match for a person is a struggle, that requires a stress limit of strenght and abilities. The search for limit of human capabilities always sends an athlete on the path of continuous development and progress of physical and spiritual strength. Different sportevents like matches and competitions illustrate and compare variety of sporting achievements and results, show athletesââ‚¬â„¢ work on systematic training and self-improvement. In other words, it is obvious that without knowledge and consideration of social and cultural processes in modern society, it is impossible to ensure athletes or sports team participation.
Another aspect of the competitive function lies in strong-willed training of athletes and sports teams. Indeed, sport competitionshelpto developsuch socially important traits as dedication, perseverance, determination, courage, endurance, initiative, independence and self-control, so necessary for high achievement in competitions, as well as in everyday life.Named aspect complements the one more function as real exchange of experience of techniques of sports training between the individual athletes, sports teams, national teams. The object of exchange can be also sports titles, the technique of sports activity, forms of organization of sports and athletic work.
Finally, in competitive function sports fully present its creative aspect that is associated primarily with the harmonic development of personality of sportsman.
The second important function of sport is communicative function, which contribute to the enrichment of personality in the communication process. Aspect of communication in sports lies in those relations in which the athlete comes from society and its institutions, with the coaches, other athletes and sports fans.Communicative function also includes aspects of the prestige associated with the desire to self-affirmation and recognition, helps tobring-up children and teenagers, as a natural mean of isolating youth from the harmful influence of the street. Experience clearly shows that sport is one of the most effective mean of re-education, providing opportunities for the realization of energy, initiative, creativity and physical abilities, for leadership and competition in a healthy manner.
Some of the problems of sport in modern society
“We are glad tolive in the times of the Olympic movement,
which aims participation in building a peaceful and better world, through education of youth through sport, in a spirit of Olympism and without any discrimination.
This requires us to a friendly understanding, solidarity and fair play”
Juan Antonio Samaranch .
We can say that sport is a mirror which, in accordance with its objectives and the activity, reflects the basic values of society, without exerting an active influence on them. The historical process of organized sports movement about a century shows that in Western countries prerequisites for fast development of sport are based on contemporary social changes.The very emergence of high competitiveness in the sport was a reflection of a competitive society, associated with liberal thinking. A national physical culture reflects the basic trends of the values of society, and international sporting life is a barometer of international politics.
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Modern sport – is also a microcosm of modern society, and therefore the most important problems of modern sport are similar to the basic problems of modern society, such as sexual, ethnic and racial discrimination, crime and deception, control of violence, drug use, gambling, alcoholism, environmental protection social, political and international relations, etc. also sport can be a cohesive force in society, which actively supports the social order and its values, as well as the power structure within which it operates. This thesis includes the fact that sport can be used as instrument by the government, it can easily be used to implement the objectives of social power. The past and recent events of our time show those multiple ways in which sport is usually used in national and supranational interests. (Coalter 2008)
The first example is China. After the policies of Mao of the “closed door” , his successor Deng Xiao-ping tried to improve the image of the country using the sporting achievements in international competitions, as he and his administration believed that success in sport was an important factor in achieving international recognition. “Ping pong diplomacy” of China is a well-known example of how sport was used as a tool for establishing relations with other countries (Luo, 1995).
But similar examples can be applied to the post-socialist countries and the countries of the capitalist world. Cases of boycotts, which are often used in connection with the most important international competitions, Olympic Games, are the result of “totalitarization of sport” (this term was used by KaleviHeinila), which has become an important tool in the Cold War. (Heinila 1982)
An analysis of national forms of physical training can show how closely sport associated with the development of the nation. Studies can clearly showthe relationship of competitive sports with militancy and violence in society, and that competitive sports increase the belligerence (warlike) of social system.
Also sport as an integral part of the dialectics of international relations, it can be used as a mean of strengthening the political power, but on the other hand, as an effective instrument for strengthening mutual understanding of nations, as sport has an opportunity to consolidate peace, especially in times of international tension, it can help to stabilize international relations as part of cultural exchange.
Modern sport is multifaceted, differentiated, and it is able to satisfy the most diverse needs of individuals and society in the field of sports. However, it has conflicting characteristics , which generates a dual attitude towards it: some see the sport as a source of health, disability, method of improving person’s character, of expanding the boundaries of human capabilities; others note the negative impact of sport on physical health and personality traits.
Positive or negative impact of sport on the individual and society depends not only on the sport itself, but on the appropriateness of different aims and forms of sports activities, the socio-economic level of society, from a particular system of moral education, sports related activities.Thus, we have attempted to show the place and main trends of modern sport, which is characterized by both positive and negative trends that require further analysis, reflection and solving.
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