Friday, May 30, 2008

Definition of Sport?

If you go to you’ll find several definitions of “sport” including:

• an athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess and often of a competitive nature, as racing, baseball, tennis, golf, bowling, wrestling, boxing, etc.
• to amuse oneself with some pleasant pastime or recreation
• to engage in some open-air or athletic pastime or sport
• to pass (time) in amusement or sport
• to amuse (esp. oneself)

The American Heritage Dictionary has several meanings as well which include:

• Physical activity that is governed by a set of rules or customs and often engaged in competitively or a particular form of this activity.
• An activity involving physical exertion and skill that is governed by a set of rules or customs and often undertaken competitively.

These definitions assert that there are many activities that qualify as sport. I tend to agree. In my personal definition, sport can be anything from hiking to snowboarding to football to wakeboarding to power walking to tennis to…you get the point. Wherever there is a competitive spirit, athletic ability, strategy, and many other descriptors I am not listing here, there is likely sport. For crying out loud, sports networks have televised poker, spelling bees, and dog shows. The point is - there is sport where you least expect it. There is also sport where you may not realize it.

Sports media often creates stories with the premise of something not being a sport and then inviting commentary and debate on the issue. Most of us have heard the played out arguments for NASCAR being a sport or not. In addition, when I was listening to sports radio yesterday morning I was presented with such a story. One of the personalities on the Dan Patrick Show on 570 KLAC claimed that MMA is not a sport.

MMA is not a sport?

If you’ve been by this site over the last few months you’ve seen my interviews with Lauren Feldman and Debi Purcell. These athletes are both MMA competitors. Each has a killer training routine, competitive matches, and countless hours invested in their craft. I’d venture to say that they are convinced that MMA is a sport. So am I.

Certain mainstream sports reporters claim that it is a hard sport to understand and get used to. I’ve heard people say that about soccer, football, and baseball as well. Where boxing was “king” in decades past, MMA has become the competitive fighting event for the next generation. This is no surprise considering all sports have been taken to a higher level. Sports are meant to evolve and stay interesting just like anything else. What is wrong with introducing new sports to the mix? Think back 20 years ago or so and skateboarding was not considered a sport either.

Dan Patrick also went so far as to assert that the big names fade away into nothingness and never do anything. Interesting. I still hear big names in MMA. Like any other sport, those who flourish eventually age and retire. The younger generation comes in to follow. Randy Couture is now 44 years old. How many professional athletes still compete at 44? Brett Favre just retired at 38. Sounds like a normal retirement age for an athlete to me in both cases.

Do you think MMA is brutal? What about boxing? There is plenty of blood in boxing and it is even in the Olympics. MMA combines boxing and martial arts disciplines in order to take competitive fighting to the next level. There is much technique involved - sort of like a human chess match is the analogy.

What started this debate on the radio yesterday? Kimbo Slice. Is he a gimmick? Probably. Is he weakening MMA as a viable sport? Probably not. Recall Mike Tyson. The sport of boxing still exists in spite of his character and farce. The fact that MMA is getting more mainstream attention shows that it is popular and people are interested. The fact that there are gimmicky personalities does not make it less of a sport. If I’m not mistaken, there are flashy personalities in just about every sport.

How do you feel about the MMA? Do you think it is a sport?


Lindsay said...

I think something happened and my comment didn't save earlier. Anyway, what I basically said was of course it's a sport! And I remember reading your posts about their workout routines. Anyone who thinks it's not a sport should try to make it through one of those.

Apryl DeLancey said...

Yeah - every time I feel like cutting corners in my workout I think of theirs and push myself a little more!

r1ooooo said...

Hi there... I wonder if you mind to exchange links?

Thanks and have a great day.

Jeff said...

Hello my friend, would you please update my url to Thanks!
Sorry I haven't written about what I promised. I'll do it one of these days :)

Apryl DeLancey said...

r1 - no problem - love your blog!

Jeff - sure thing, you are updated and I'm patient - let me know when you're ready!