Sport is an accepted part of life. The opportunity to take part in sporting activities is a basic human right whether you are competing for trophies or playing purely for enjoyment. However many people suffer from restrictions that prevent them from taking part in sport.
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It is not always the fact that people are not interested or do not want to. A number of people view sport as an activity that was somewhat forced upon them at school or something they see on television that is way beyond their capabilities. But sport is an extremely diverse quarter, involving many activities and catering for people of different shapes and sizes, levels of skill and personalities. It is well known that football in the UK is most commonly played in organised leagues on Sunday mornings. There are voluntary sports clubs enabling millions of members the chance to get involved and many more participate regularly in leisure outside a structured league or set up, whether it be a walk in the park or a kick about in the garden. The vast majority of the population in Britain however do not participate and worryingly, the activity levels in the youth, who were previously the most active division of our population, are falling drastically, in connection with the rising fear of an obese population. A BBC Panorama programme shown in November 2006 proved that in America, a country with more resources than most, participation levels are very low – and falling. Perhaps this is why Americans are credited as being the fattest nation on earth?! There are many limitations on participation. In the past sport has been closely linked to education and many people’s only sporting experience was through compulsory and often harsh physical education lessons. For the non-sporty, obese or self-conscious, many are unfortunately put off for life. This is closely linked with both gender and ethnicity, with the worry of most teenage girls focused on looking look, rather than partaking in exercise, and for the ethnic minority to feel just as welcome to play a part as the majority. In our culture, sport has always been seen purely as a non-serious recreation; many other more important issues require attention before you turn to sport. Often at school, academically superior students are encouraged to move away from sport so that they can concentrate more time on their studies. Some of us in the UK must ‘pay to play’. There are requirements to pay club subscriptions, fees and facility costs, as well as providing our own equipment and kit. For some, this cost issue is enough to deter them from sport or prevent them from allowing their children to join clubs. With relation to class and money, often sports such as fox hunting and polo are available to you providing you have the upbringing and money to back your selection up.
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