Physical fitness and mental

Throughout history mankind has developed many activities to rejuvenate from necessary work for survival and at times these activities even act as a utility to enhance mankind’s process of evolution. Sport has been one mainstream activity in which people from every social class find suitable to express their physical fitness and mental well being. As well it provides an opportunity for participants to socialise and understand, respect, appreciate another culture. However in early times leisure activities such as sport represented gaps between the different gender, class, age and ethnicity, partly due to the fact that individual sporting activities were initially designed by a specific group and the design did not take into account of other groups.

It was not until a further progress in human evolution do mankind realise the benefits and the increase in standards will a broader base of participants bring forth. This essay strives to demonstrate that as a sport becomes more and more popular over time, people from different cultural backgrounds begin to recognise and appreciate it and subsequently bridges the existing gaps between different ethnicities as they now have more common value.

This essay shall examine the preceding background of various sports and provide information on the changing attitudes where these sports have become accepting to participants from different ethnical backgrounds, as well as identifying numerous athletes who had overcome the ethnical barriers previously imposed and acquired their deserved status. Finally this essay will discuss what this unification implies to the current societies.

Historically tennis was a sport for the kings and lords. Originated in France tennis courts were said to be found in “the courtyards immediately adjacent to a castle” and that “Royalty and the very wealthy mainly played the game” (Gillmeister, 1998, p.14). Quite naturally it was not a common sport and peasants or citizens of a subculture had no access to tennis. It was not until after the French revolution did tennis began to spread around and beyond Europe.

And to this day tennis is played by a large population and there are no social barriers in prohibiting anyone from participating. African-American tennis players Venus Williams and Serena Williams are classical examples of 21st century tennis breaking the traditional ethnical barrier. Showing amazing talents, Venus turned professional at the age of 14 and ranked No. 1 after the US Open tournament in 1997 (, accessed 17 May 2003). As one can see 21st century sports have eliminated the ethnical barriers of the past and people from every race may participate and enjoy the qualities of tennis.

Golf is another sport which was initially limited to the higher end of the social classes. “Golf’s status and popularity quickly spread throughout the 16th century due to its royal endorsement. King Charles I popularised the game in England and Mary Queen of Scots, who was French, introduced the game to France while she studied there.” (, accessed 17 May 2003). As the era of kingship and lordship has diminished and coupled with the increasing availability of resources such as cheaper equipment and developed golf courses, the general public began to show greater interest in this sport.

And in turn people with contrasting ethnical background from the origin of this sport began to participate and experience golf. Similar to tennis the players with skill are quickly recognised and are given respect for their achievements. To exemplify one may observe Eldrick Tiger Woods, an American-Thailand mix, who ranked No. 1 at the age of 21 and has won many well recognised awards including Golf Digest Amateur Player of the Year 1991 (age 15), Pac-10 Player of the Year 1995, NCAA First Team All-American, Standford’s Freshman of the Year 1995, Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year 1996, PGA Player of the Year 1997/99, Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year 1997/99 and many more (, accessed 17 May 2003).

This is a sure indicator of 21st century sports overriding ethnical boundaries as viewers from around the world watch a player with African-Asian background winning major events of a sport that was once perceived to be fit for kings and lords. In the field of athletics Australians had the pleasure of watching Cathy Freeman representing Australia and winning countless world titles.

Being the first Aboriginal sprinter to win a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games 1994 is an outstanding achievement (Discovering Democracy, accessed 17 May 2003) and her carrying both the Australian flag and the Aboriginal flag around the track after winning that race is a definite sign of abolishing any previous barriers that existed that prevented participants from a different cultural background in obtaining what they deserve. Winning the Young Australian of the Year 1990 and Australian of the Year 1998 is an additional indication that Australia is now open minded about the ethnical difference in sports.

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