My chosen task in this book is to show that sport and related physical activity assumed greater or lesser importance starting with primitive societies and continued in later societies on down to the present day. As a social force impacting society generally, and also as a vital concern for those desiring to employ it professionally in a variety of ways within society, such activity was used to help people of all ages in a variety of ways as they lived out their lives.
However, as is the case with so many facets of life on Earth,
such involvement can be used beneficially or misused to the subsequent improvement or detriment of humankind. It is my thesis that we are using it well in some ways, but that we are also abusing it badly in others! In the case of competitive sport, I believe we have gradually abused it (i.e., perhaps reaching a stage where could well be doing more harm than good with it). Conversely, in the case of related physical activity (i.e., regular exercise or “physical activity education”) in the developed world, I believe humans are too often “abusing it by first not understanding it and then by not using it more intelligently”! (And, ironically, in the “undeveloped world,” people often get too much “exercise” just to stay alive!)
As I see it, with sport we are using it, or people are “using us”. but not to its best advantage. In the case of exercise, we are using it insufficiently--and therefore not to its best advantage either. How this has happened since earliest times is the task I have chosen for myself to explain in this book.
Please understand this, however: I don’t for a moment argue here that (1) the proper use of sporting activities throughout the earth’s affairs could be a panacea for all of the world’s ills, the elixir that would create a heretofore unknown era of good will and peace worldwide. I do believe that, wisely employed, it could enrich lives “healthwise” and recreationally for many more millions than it is doing presently. In addition, I do assert (2) that the wise use of exercise and sound health practices throughout people’s entire lives would indubitably go a long way toward keeping people happier and healthier in longer lives extended because of this type of life practice.