Jan Boxill cites from Robert Simon a definition of sport that could be a good starting point for developing a paradigm for understanding how sport fits within the broader context of our society:
(1) it is a freely chosen and voluntary activity; (2) it is governed by rules; (3) it is physically challenging; and (4) it involves a mutual challenge to achieve excellence. So while this definition represents a good starting point for a deeper investigation, it is not sufficient as it does not consider other aspects which will be addressed in this paper. Later in the text, Jan Boxill quoted David Halbertsman:
“When most oarsmen talked about their perfect moments in a boat, they referred not so much to winning a race as to the feel of the boat, all eight oars in the water together, the synchronization almost perfect. In moments like that, the boat seemed to lift right out the water. Oarsmen called that the moment of swing…it allowed you to trust the other man in the boat. A boat did not have swing unless everyone was putting out in exact measure, and because of that, and only because of that, there was the possibility of true trust among oarsmen.”
Much earlier, in the “Republic”, Plato emphasized that “there are two arts which I would say some god gave to mankind, music and gymnastic… not for soul and body incidentally, but for their harmonious adjustment.”
Remarks from above in some respect open a horizon to discuss about role of sports within a society. The question to follow is what values should be promoted by and through sport within sport institutions because these values should play a foundation of modern society?