Role of Athletics and Sport in Ancient Sacred Ritual

Document Type:Research Paper

Subject Area:Sports

Document 1

A lot of ancient cultures like the Greeks as well as the Indians merged religion and politics in their games and they also added the recreational element of play in their sports. This led to the development of games to the introduction of new ones. Religion can be defined as the relationship between human beings and the spiritual divine or the sacred one. Basically, this is the relationship between an individual and the spirits or the gods. Worship therefore has been named as the basic element that is always used in religion to bring man closer to their god. Additionally, moral conduct together with participation in religious beliefs are also some elements that are included in the religious life of an individual. According to (Crowther, 1996), religion is defined in terms of both actions and beliefs that relate to the symbols which create the order of man’s existence. Therefore, religion is a model where rules and dogmas are created to form a common doctrine or faith. This is not a recent creation but has been created since the ancient times and it created the base for the sharing of religious rituals. These rituals have been known to hold supernatural powers that have been used to create a powerful basis for self-control the main reason being that religions can carry out activities that can be used in the context of sports. Sports on the other hand is a short form that is used to refer to disport which means diversion and amusement.

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According to (Pierre & Voss, 2001), sport is also a Latin word that means carry away. Sports can also be defined as physical activity that is institutionalized and has rules that are externally fixed. Athletics, gymnastics or any activity that is carried out in a team or individually, in a competition or not competitive falls in this category. Since the ancient times, sport has been used to join people together as well as instill a sense of cooperation between individuals and ensure that rules and regulations are always followed. Nevertheless, sports ensure that there is social coexistence between individuals. Emotions as well as excitements are invoked between individuals and sports have always provide individuals with ways of earning admiration and respect. In bringing people together, religion has always explored the various ways that can contribute to a relationship between not only the sacred but also the elements that are profane in the society.

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In the ancient times, sports were known to be part of religious activities as well as festivals and this was the trend for the better part of the medieval times. This was the trend until during the central ages when sport commenced to be done in absence of spiritual leaders. This was during the classical period when there was association between worship and prehistoric games. In north America, there were games carried out by the Indians who lived there while also played role as religious rites. They were more of religion than of sports and the non-Indians were not even allowed to have a look of the games (Pierre & Voss, 2001). The Greeks specifically had a ritual that they could practice every four years. During this ritual, they would make animal sacrifices consisting of oxen goats and sheep and the sacrifices were made in a sanctuary in front of a temple and usually, the altar was placed at the front of the temple.

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The Rastafarians have this believe that thy follow their deity, jah, where they also believe that their dance, the reggae dance, should also be included their religion. For the old African culture, there was a functional unity that was created from sports and religion. Specifically, in the West Africa, wrestling contests were carried out could not have been carried out if the priests and the priestesses of the clan did not give consent. Consultations to the gods was carried out by the heads of both communities that would be participating in the brawling contest. Additionally, sacrifices would be offered to the gods in the shrines by the priest as well as the priestesses with the belief that the gods would bless them and they could win the challenge. There were monuments that were placed on the court to signify the presence of the gods in the courts (Tokovinine).

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Therefore, this is a clear identification that the venue of the games was associated with the supernatural powers. Impersonations of a god were possible and this was done to ensure that the presence of the gods was noticed. Images were used in the impersonations based on their natural characteristics as well as their roles. Nevertheless, sport has been used in the creation of strong generations that have muscular fit Christians and this was the main goal of many organizations that were quite strict with the feminization of male youth during the industrialization period. Athlete and state: qualifying for the Olympic Games in ancient Greece. Journal of Sport History, 23(1), , 34-43. Guttmann, A. From Ritual to Record: The Nature of Modern Sports. Columbia University Press. mayavase. com/alex/alexballgame. html.

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