This quote is actually a combination of ideas published by Guttmann in 1978 and Hardman in 2002 and one in which I would normally precede with a statement like, “Sport is about challenge and overcoming obstacles” (Gelberg, 2002; Hardman, 2002). The ideas here are philosophical in nature and strip sport back to its fundamental components. Hardman (2002) has proffered that sport is separated from other social activities as a result of a three normative principles or dimensions – its structure, its aesthetics, and its morality.
The structural dimension offers that sport is associated with a gratuitous logic (‘a voluntary attempt to overcome unnecessary but formalised obstacles’), that it requires a viable contest (‘the attempt to do something better than at least one other person in an appropriate testing family’), takes skill (‘conscious and deliberate cultivation of human ability employed to achieve certain ends in a goal directed activity’), and that there is an element of physicality (‘bodily movement is intrinsic to sport’). The aesthetic dimension can be explained as ‘the way that competitive success or failure often corresponds to what is appealing or unappealing for practitioners or spectators’. And the moral dimension is subsequently explained as ‘that of the underlying principles that may be embedded and shared within sporting practices’.
If you were interested in generating change within sport then the aforementioned three normative dimensions could very well be the areas that will either allow you to initiate change or block its progress. Something to think about.
Talk soon. Jason.