Traditionally, sports have been a way of constructing national identity. Athletes are trained to perform a specific set of skills, and their performance is evaluated by fans. It is also alleged that involvement in sports helps develop desirable behaviors in young people.
In modern times, sports have been marketed as a source of prestige and pleasure. They are a symbol of power, and their influence has extended to the entire world. However, these processes can have unintended consequences. They can undermine hegemonic social relationships, and they may be reducing Western power.
In the 20th century, globalization of sports began, with the introduction of regular international competitions for individual and team sports. These competitions, along with the development of national sports organizations, contributed to the diffusion of these sports. These processes are part of a larger process of globalization, which involves multidirectional movements of people. This process is characterized by the development of a network of interdependencies among cultures.
Historically, sport was a physical contest, pursued for challenges and goals. Ball games were common throughout ancient civilizations. During the Roman and Greek antiquity, they were not contests, but ritual performances.
In the Middle Ages, archery matches were popular with the bourgeoisie. These matches were sometimes staged with substantial fanfare. Drinking and drunkenness were common during the matches. During this period, the lower classes were offered contests during the matches.
During the Renaissance, sports became more secular. Ballet was developed in France during this period. Fencing, another popular sport, was thought of as an art form by the French and Italian fencers.