“Contact” is a common word in the sports world, and it is one that typically revolves around a negative connotation, but it also has different meanings and is a part of other compound words. So, the question is what are we really talking about when we use the word contact in terms of sports? What are the origins of the word, and how is it defined, and how is used in sports.
In English, the word we have is derived from the Latin word (contactus) meaning “a touching.” This was typically used when touching something unclean. To make contact in 1860 related to electrical circuits. The term was also used to describe a small, thin lens used to help correct vision problems we know today as contact lenses which would touch your eye in 1888. The term Contact sport, for one involving contact between persons, arises in 1922.
In modern English Oxford Dictionaries tells us that “contact” can be used as a noun, or verb. As a noun it means, “The state of physical touching.” Also, in a different way it can be defined as, “A connection for the passage of an electric current from one thing to another, or a part or device by which such a connection is made” (Oxford Dictionaries). When it is used as a verb it means, “To communicate with (someone), typically in order to give or receive information,” or it can mean, “To touch” (Oxford Dictionaries). Although this word is simple it is good to understand it extensively. Since we know the history and definition of the word “contact” we can see how it is used in the world of sports. Sports can be separated into two categories contact sports like football mixed martial arts, ice and field hockey, soccer, wrestling, basketball and so on. Then there’s noncontact sports like volleyball, tennis, bowling, and golf. “Contact” can be seen as a way in which force is shared between two objects whose force transfers through a medium into the next object, or for a more realistic approach, the impact in between two persons, or how a ball or implement was affected at the point of transfer of energy.
The term contact has different uses and definitions being that it can be used as a noun or verb. It started as a Latin word that moved into modern English, with little to no complexity. In its common uses “contact” is used in sports to describe a type of sport. Contact simply means “touch.” This word has been a big part of my life because every sport I played through my adolescent to teenage years has been a form of contact based sport with the exception of throwing for track.