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Sports as a Medium of Communication

Before making a research on sports as a medium of communication, there is a need to define what sport is. Sport is activity involving the physical action and skill that is governed by a set of rules or customs, and often undertaken competitively. Sports also refer to a good-natured self-development, self-actualization and the aggressive use of physical and mental skills. Sports are integrative and image-building elements for individuals, and the entire society. Sports act as unifying factors of socialization. Sport also supports the social and artistic identities and the building of the national identities.

It has been researched that communication it is the sharing of ideas and information. While many people think of communication primarily in oral or written form, communication is much more than that. Communication can be categorized into two parts; Verbal/written communication, and Non-verbal communication. Sports fall under the non-verbal communication.

Most people would agree that entertainment is an enjoyable, soothing, motivating and exhilarating reception event and the satisfying experience of the corporal, psychological, social system of individuals, the cognitive and the spiritual system. There is no clear differentiation of entertainment for modern civilizations, because onlooker sports have every element of pleasant entertainment.

The main entertaining elements of the entertainment are• Public participation in music

• Demonstration of connection to arts, such as dancing or skating;

• Rituals prior to the following events, like the introduction of athletes, the national anthem, handshakes etc. The initial observance of the Olympic Games or the World Championships has become globally acknowledged and treasured as liturgies;

• Suspense: dramas, argument, combat, triumph or letdown, improbability, duels.

• A feeling of belonging: allegiance, loyalty, partisanship, Observing and chatting with friends;

• Identifying somebody with stars, icons and heroes.

• Sex-appeal, bodies in deed and on exhibit;

• Cerebral pleasures provided by unanticipated tactics and innovative strategies. The media makes the sports as a significant communal issue and, with the aid of enjoyable stimuli, is able to trade them. (Helm 1989)

The close relationship between the media and sport has deeply affected both of them. The advertising industry forms a vital part of the association. Both sports and the mass media are trying to reach people, such as, enthusiasts and consumers; advertising market.

The history of sport activities dates back to the history of humans. It played an important role in the human evolution. For example, hunting needs physical strength and good coordination. For hunters, these traits meant more and better food; battle for the continued existence. Good body, psychological and social shape improved the probability to successfully protect groups from other groups of hostile intruders. Because of this link, it is evident that the first sportsmen were hunters. There are strong theories of sports being the representational hunts, either for other human beings or for animals. Most civilizations associate sport activities with an elementary nature: running, boxing, wrestling, animal fights, horse races, etc. Hence, the reason why modern athletes and enthusiasts still find sports very striking is that the progress of sports from antediluvian times until now is a purpose of industrialization, modernization, and telecommunication. Sports provide the reliable mirrors of the societies. (Helm 1989)

They reflect the social values that can be broaden from the individual values, like discipline, to the collective values, like sportsmanship, and generally accepted values, like the belief in effort and output, the advantage of competition, and, following the logic of capitalism, the survival of the fittest. Sports, in addition, operate as seismographs of the communal and intellectual changes in the societal units of any dimension. They are strappingly linked to the current lifestyles in the contemporary societies. Sports, to a particular degree, can even swap a purpose of religions by defining a precise set and pecking the order of values. Sports are integrative and image-building elements for individuals, segments of the societies and entire societies. They act as amalgamation forces and sturdy factors of socialization, improving the social acceptance of the sportspersons and their enthusiasts. Sports can also hold up the social and enriching identities and the edifice of the nationwide identities.

Sports through the media can generate the revenue, for example, selling of the television rights to the air the Barclay English premier league, live transmissions reach large audiences and achieve high ratings, so media demand the high prices for advertising spots. Selling television property rights is like having the authority to print money. Professional sportspersons involve themselves in the intensive training and use the sophisticated sports equipment; elite sports at this level become expensive. Sport can also be used as a marketing strategy through the advertisements, several blue chip companies have sponsored the football teams, and in return, they earn revenue through the sales of the shirts and also through the endorsements of individual sportspersons.

Sports in the modern society has been used by the super powers to show their physical and economic might by hosting the major sports events like the Olympics, the World Cup, formula one grand prix etc.,, since the end of the World War super powers have involved themselves in sports activities, because the war seized to be the venue of showing their might.     

Those who play sports are heavily occupied in it, and identify it as a seductive connection of competition, pride and athletic abilities.  This is linked to the political foundation of many countries.  Denying countries from participating in sports has been used as a workable punishment against the rogue nations who possess hideous political orthodoxies.   Sports may carry more the global import recognized by most people.  Since sports can be used as a punishment, it may also be used as a reward. Sports could be packaged as an economic or social encouragement to work towards improving a particular society.  The importance of sports is ultimately driven by enthusiasts that double as voting citizens.  It may be possible to speed up the foreign diplomacy through sports. (Barnett 1995)

Playing sports is always a positive activity that usually evokes honesty, competition, trust and respect for the rival teams. There is a natural sense of companionship and openness that is not as common in other activities.  Differences in race, color and doctrine collapse on the field, track or black-top, because the aim is to win and have fun in the process. 

The greatest opponent against the idea of sports as a diplomatic tool is that it should be set aside for youth, or professional sportspersons.  Yet, it is the demand of sports that has interested many in other components of a country.  Sports has helped to expand the demand of the certain countries and highlighted their importance in other fields.  Perhaps the strict, rigid world of foreign diplomacy could use a refreshing addition of this concept (Barnett 1995).

The mass media is the most important development in the modern sports, in the context of the market forces. The relations between media, sports and the advertising industry are symbiotic. This fact means that all fundamental points in that system get the fair share. The assistance of the partners mentioned above is important for their survival. Sports generate news, as well as the entertainment. This makes it very lucrative for the media. The media history shows their exploitation of that lucrative source from the beginning. According to their own judgment, they contributed very marketable qualities to the sports reporting business. Sports events went through the personalization and production, and became the main producers of the sensations and stories of the human interest. Following the telegraph, the medium of radio added speed to the sports reporting and allowed the live transmissions. The television has added the experience of legitimacy and has offered the opportunity of witnessing the sports events without visiting arena. Finally, television has changed sport into a show money-making business. The importance of televised sports also made it interesting for the media studies.  Long list of articles and books on television and sports gives the evidence of that the improvement from the sports news in the local columns of the newspapers to the manufacture of sports-only television channels, and the further evidence of the importance of sports in the leisure societies. Sports reporters became renowned and highly respected in their media. Sports have the ability of creating the strong and long lasting images for the sportspersons and their nationalities (Helm 1989).

In the United States, the black society suffered from the discrimination. In the contrast to white citizens, as did women in evaluation to men. They were both missing in action, as sports reporters and the sportspersons. The majority of studies on racial relationships in sports spotlight on African-American sportspersons, because the media reporting on them is still more widespread than the very restricted reporting of Latino-American Native-American or Asian-American sportspersons. Until the beginning the 1970s, sportspersons of African-American nation were hardly a topic in the white conventional press. Feats of black sportspersons were only reported when they were extraordinarily triumphant, like Joe Louis or Wilma Rudolph. The quantity of reporting increased when more and more black athletes entered the main league sports, like basketball, baseball and football, but the media incidence of black sportspersons is still not at the levels corresponding to their white peers, and it is intense in some sports, mainly boxing and basketball, field and track. Black superstar athletes flourishing in previously white “elite sports” nowadays, like the tennis celebrities Serena and Venus Williams or the golf player Tiger Woods, still seem to be unrivaled, pointing out that the societal constraints restraining the African-American contribution to the numerous sports may still be today. Black sportspersons were not only underrepresented, but also depicted in a vague way (Barnett 1995).

Even as reporters and enthusiasts praised the white athletes for their calculated skills and their astuteness, they distinguished black sportspersons for pace, authority, leg power and energy. Blacks were habitually referred to as being natural athletes: according to sport reporting, their feats were due to unmanageable external forces, while feats of whites were perceived to be due to the controllable internal forces. Different explanations for African-American sport achievements were frequently neglected. Some other media stereotypes considered the African-American sportspersons as egotistic, self-seeking and haughty, while white sportspersons were explained as hard-working team athletes. Still, some studies show that in the 1990s, the media from time to time applied an even more unconstructive label. On the other hand, stereotypes that are allure to many white Americans also subsist: African-American sportspersons are often measured as hip and fresh. Superstars, like Michael Jordan, are portrayed as accepting and sometimes even as race-inspiring. This image was only set to glorify the athlete, instead of the racing as a whole. The media played the identical role in the creation of that imagery, as they did in the representation of what was guided by the old clichés.

Findings show the proof of concealed racism. Although, recent studies point out an enthusiastic understanding of sports media when covering black sportspersons, sports, such as soccer, possess truly amazing powers to unite people of all origins, filling in colossal stadiums and drawing the enormous global television audiences. On that field too, almost no other sport can possess the soccer’s multi-cultural Credentials. The athletes who make up the world's greatest football teams hail from all the parts of the globe. Soccer matches provide us with some of the best entertaining events on the planet.

There are lot of examples of co-operation in action, when athletes come together, putting the interest of the team first. Yet with all its great potential, soccer continues to be hijacked by those who would turn it unattractive, by abuse or causing physical harm to athletes and supporters on the basis of the racial hatred.  The vast majority of the soccer athletes and enthusiasts would like to give racism the red card. The Barcelona soccer team which is based in Spain has recently started a campaign against racism (Helm 1989).

One of the partnership's objective projects was “Youth Voices against Racism”. It was launched in the partnership with the UNESCO’s European Coalition of Cities against Racism and European Parliament. This groundbreaking scheme has involved young people aged 15-18 in the design of the activities to combat racism at the municipal level and policy-making. Already since July 2009, the European Club Association (ECA), which represents 144 clubs, is promoting at the agenda of FC Barcelona the idea of anti-racism clauses in the sportspersons’ contracts. This recommendation of Youth Voices Project puts athletes at the forefront of setting the best possible examples for its enthusiasts. (Carrol 2000)

The discrimination of racism doesn’t only undermine the spirit of football; it is a plague on society as a whole, eroding the social unity, spreading hatred and fear and making society less safe for all of us. Stricter laws and penalties do much to help tackle racism, as do partnerships, such as the one between UNESCO and FC Barcelona. However, everyone's help is needed. Sportsmen and sportswomen, football enthusiasts, opinion leaders, media, educators and all those with influence to bear, should join together in solidarity to blow the final whistle on racism.

Sport addresses the issue of gender. It has been discovered earlier from the origin of sports that it descended from the fitness and hunting, and was essential in the fight for the survival. Some people perceive sports as a manifest of masculinity, and discriminate against the female gender on the  basis that women are the weaker sex, and therefore, have no place in sports. However, in the modern era sports are no longer the male dominated activities. In the past, women’s sports were limited to a few sports like figure skating, swimming, aerobics, tennis or gymnastics. The essence of such sports over-determined that femininity in unclear way to the extent that some people even considered female sportspersons as lesbians. When women participated in other sports activities, there were critics that doubted their femininity. While the gender stereotyping portrayed men as being physically strong, athletic and aggressive, women, on the other hand, were supposed to be focused on beauty, physical attractiveness, traditional roles, and desirability, with some special attention to their bodies. Sportswomen were often called “girls,” and journalists made the frequent use of their names when describing them. Their male counterpart journalists often used a lot of attributions of weaknesses, for example, weary, panicked, frustrated, when reporting about sportswomen.  Such reports often showed sportswomen in tears or being consoled by other people after a defeat. While the men’s failure was associated mostly with their opponent’s abilities, the women’s failure was more likely to be described as their own lack of skill, so that the conceptions of masculinity prevailed. Commentators also centered on characters and not on the sporty abilities when it came to the feminine sports. Women were treated by their appearance.  There was also a difference in the way the media reported them. Female sports and sportspersons   were highly underrepresented. (Carrol 2000)

Sport also has the perspective to alternate for the religions. Mass media creates heroes and icons, those sportspersons play the role of marvelous humans in well-coordinated displays and familiar rituals, in good looking sanctuaries, like the consecrated lawn of Wimble donor shrines like the halls of fame described by the large events like Super Bowl. There is still a time for preparation, show, and commemoration. Soccer, for instance, has become a universal acknowledged substitute of different religions with aims as the main aspiration for many true supporters, who often make a pilgrimage to the singular places, where make devotion to a group of the selected people, such as Zinedine Zidane or David Beckham. Quasi-religious elements, for example, elation or cultic actions are the part and parcel of witnessing a sense of neighborhood among the sports enthusiasts (Carrol 2000).

The demerits of sports are drug and substance abuse, and violence. Violence, like drug abuse in sports receives the extensive discussion. Violence of athletes occurs, for instance, when they try to cheat and win with the help of unclean means, mostly in sports that allow much body contact. Moreover, sports enthusiasts can demonstrate violence. Hooliganism is a remaining problem during the big sports events, and it is necessary that the police forces guard stadiums during such events. However, violence in sports is not a new occurrence.  When the media started to cover the sports events, they reported on cases of violence in the negative way. They stated that winning by foul had not been fair, and they stated it had been obvious that the violence among the spectators was quite dangerous for the other spectators, so they also contributed their share to the strict rules and that avoiding of the violence could be pushed through. Nowadays, sponsors and organizers make it an important goal to forbid drugs and keep violence low.

Where money is at the stake, people go the extra mile. In sports, that means that some people willingly risk injuring their own wellbeing and the physical condition of the competitors. Sportspersons who take drugs form scandals and sensations; this creates controversial news for the media. Sportspersons who are entirely aggressive against their opponents create the amusement value. Both values are gainful for the media (Helm 1995).

The history of drug exploitation in sports is as long as the history of sports in the contemporary age, where cyclists and long distance runners take a variety of chemicals to assist in their performance. Advancement in sports medication improved pharmaceuticals to get rid of sports-related injuries; during the same time, innovative additions to endorse spirited performance were conjured. Harsh denunciations of sportspersons found to be taking drugs began to appear only from the1980s. The well-known case of the drug enhancement was by the short distance runner Ben Johnson at the 1988 Summer Olympics (Barnett 1995)

In conclusion, sports has the capability of creating strong and long lasting images for the sportspersons and their countries, hence, acting as a platform for unity among participating nations, as they come together and compete in the level grounds.

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