‘Any situation or activity it appears, can function for someone as a play activity if undertaken in the spirit of play’ ‘Play can pervade all aspects of life, not just physical play but play of the mind, play of words and play of communications with people’ (Torkidsen, 2001, p16) ‘As play is utterly individual and play activity can be seen at any time and in all life situations, it follows therefore that almost any situation or activity can function for someone as a play activity if undertaken in the spirit of play.’ (Torkildsen, 2001, p42)
‘Recreation like any other word is an abstract symbol, having many meanings, depending on the context in which it is used’ (Torkildsen, 2001, p57) ‘The word recreation is sometimes interchanged with play’ (Torkildsen, 2001, p47) ‘Recreation must be recognised as a social institution with its own values and traditions, structures and organisations and professional groups and skilled practitioners’ (Kraus, 1978 cited in Torkildsen, 2001) it is ‘a worthwhile, socially acceptable leisure experience providing immediate inherent satisfaction’ (Hutchinson, 1949 cited in Torkildsen, 2001)
The word recreation can suggest many ideas, recreation as a leisure activity promoting recuperation, relaxation, pleasure and satisfaction – but these descriptives do not reveal its nature. Recreational activities are generally voluntarily chosen by the participant (Kraus, 1978 cited in Torkildsen, 2001) these activities are far greatly diverse than those of competitive sport and non-competitive fitness activities. To many people recreation is synomous with sport but recreational activities do not have to be physical; as described by the Recreation Management Training Committee in 1978 (cited in Torkildsen, 2001)
‘we take recreation to mean any life enhancing experience which is the outcome of freely chosen activity’ Torkildsen (2001) mentions that there are two ways of perceiving recreation, activity focus that are the activities we call recreation; seen as an activity related to sports, games, art and other leisure time pursuits. And experience focus which is the experience we enjoy from actively or passively taking part; this is process orientated concerned with well-being and self-fulfilment.
Kraus (1971 cited in Torkildsen, 2001) ‘refers to all the social institutions which have been formed to meet the leisure needs of people’ these include activities and organisations sponsored be the government, schools, churches, industries, voluntary agencies and the business world; all of these provide varied recreational opportunities which can be activity or experience focused. It is this institutionalisation that has allowed us to have a common understanding of the services, activities and events offered as part of the recreation service (Torkildsen, 2001) It is clear that recreation can cover a wide variety of activities and is difficult to summarise, especially where sport like activities are concerned. A spectator at a football match is clearly experiencing a recreational activity but are a group of boys having a kick about with a ball partaking in recreational activity or sport?
It could be suggested that this is recreational as the definitive aspects of sport are absent. In conclusion, a quote from the Dictionary of Sociology cited in Torkildsen (2001, p45) can explain leisure as ‘any activity pursued during leisure, either individual or collective that is free and pleasurable’ Sport ‘is probably the easiest category to grasp covering many well known activities from football to archery’ (Critchner et Al, 2001, p199) ‘Modern sports were first developed in the public schools and universities where they became associated with physical, social and moral well-being’ (Roberts, 1999, p36) ‘Within sports, however, major differences can be observed in terms of their organisation, size of club and form of training’ (Critchner et Al, 2001, p199) ‘Most participant sport is run on a genuinely voluntary basis’ (Roberts, 1999, p39) these ‘clubs may provide the backbone for British sport but we must also recognise the significance of professional sport’ (Elvin, 1992, p73) ‘Participation in sport has developed over twenty years of increasing prosperity and consumer choice’ (Elvin, 1992, p15) ‘dramatic changes have taken place in certain sports largely due to the involvement of the media and the growth of sponsorship’ (Elvin, 1992, p73)
‘It is becoming increasingly commonplace to think of sport as a ‘leisure industry’. In recent years there has certainly been dramatic moves to open up sport to the forces of the market’ (Holt, 1992, p280) ‘Most individuals can afford to participate in some sport’ (Critchner et Al, 2001, p39) A sport situation consists of any social context wherein individuals are involved with sport’ (Loy Jr, 2002 cited in Holowchak, 2002 Ed.) It ‘can be described as competitive events involving a variety of physical human skills,’ (Holowchak, 2002, Ed. p30 ) ‘The broad yet loose encompass of sport reflected in the mass media suggests that sports can and perhaps should be dealt with on different planes of discourse if a better understanding of its nature is to be acquired.’ (Holowchak, 2002, Ed. p16)
Compared to games, sports have a greater variety of norms and a larger absolute number of formal norms (Holowchak, 2002 Ed.) ‘Most children play sports fairly regularly but in most cases this does not lead to lifelong sports careers’ (Roberts, 1999, p138) If individuals continue playing sport during major life events (education to employment, marriage and parenthood) they are likely to remain sports active for the rest of their adult lives. For women sport is frequently used to prove their strength, independence and competitiveness. (Roberts, 1999) Psychologically A sport can be presented as a form of activity which emphasizes human similarity and not dissimilarity, a form of activity which expresses values which are indeed immeasurable, a form of activity which is concerned with individual well-being and satisfaction rather than with comparison. (Willis, 1982 cited in Critchner et Al, 2001)
Sport has four main components, (1) elements of competition, (2) Physical activity, (3) aspects of organisation and (4) the influence of outcome on quality of experience. (Elvin, 1992) The set of object relating to a specific sport situation may be quite diverse, ranging from the elements of social and physical environments of a football game to those associated with two sports fans in a bar arguing the pros and cons of the manager of their local football team. (Loy Jr, 2002 cited in Holowchak, 2002 Ed.) Sport can also be segregated into two different types, performance which requires judges i.e. gymnastics and diving and non-performance which requires law enforcement officers (referees) ie football and hockey.
‘Participation in play, sport and recreation has a significance for individuals and/or groups and the social context for this should be understood.’ (Elvin, 1992, p11) ‘Many physical activities seem to be able to lend themselves to both sets of parameters’ (Elvin, 1992, p5) (sport and recreation) and where play is concerned, adults seem to be more restrained by society as to what are acceptable behaviours. (Torkildsen, 2001)