`Sport`, `game`, not the same thing, and sport is belittled, even by MPs

In so many cases there has been a misconception between the two terms; ‘sport’ and ‘game’. Most individuals take part in sports and games activities and to them the definitions of the two activities and differences existing between them are meaningless.

Since I want to make you informed of what sport does for you, I feel indebted to define the term so that you can understand me properly. In order for an organised physical activity to be refereed to as sport it must involve physical skill, prowess or exertion; it must be institutionalised and competitive in nature; and its participants must be motivated by a combination of intrinsic and extrinsic rewards.

However, a game is an organised physical activity whose rules are not rigid and competitive in nature. Whilst the rules in sport are highly codified, rules in games are flexible and can be agreed upon by participants.

We all take part in both sports and games activities without taking into account the benefits accrued from participating in them. In most cases when I come across people holding an argument on sport I find them misinterpreting sport and games. Since I am continuously making some contributions and airing my observations about sport in this publication, I thought it necessary to make my readers understand the term ‘sport’ as distinguished from the term ‘game’ and its impact to the society.

In any modern society sport serves the following seven functions:

•Emotional release. Sport is a way to express emotions and to relieve tensions. In this case sport functions as a safety valve and a catharsis to relieve aggressive tendencies.

• Affirmation of identity. Sport offers opportunities to be recognized and to express one’s individual technical and tactical qualities.

•Social control. Sport provides a means of control over people in a society where deviance is prevalent.

•Specialization. Sport serves as a means of socializing those individuals who identify with it. They can be coaches of different disciplines, sports writers, sportscasters, referees, umpires and the likes.

•Change agent. Sport results in social change, new behaviour patterns, and is a factor that changes the course of history. For instance; it allows for interaction of all kinds of people and for upward mobility based on ability.

•Collective consciousness. Sport creates a communal spirit that brings people together in a cohesive manner in search of common goals.

•Success. Sport provides a feeling of success both for the participants and the spectators when a player or team with whom one identifies achieves success. In so many cases, to win in sport is to win in life.

The sad side of sport in Tanzania is the fact that when one talks of sport the reference is always soccer. Likewise when one talks of soccer the reference is always Simba and Yanga.

Sport development has not been accorded appropriate attention for long even in Parliament. Very few MPs make positive contributions about sports development when they conduct their sessions in Dodoma. Even when such contributions are made, the focus is always soccer in which Taifa Stars, Simba and Yanga are mentioned. Whither Tanzania’s sports development?

Syllersaid Mziray is a lecturer-cum-soccer coach


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