Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Definition of Sport Revisited

I recently wrote a post explaining why I believe that MMA should be considered a sport. Nearly everyone I spoke to about it agreed with very few exceptions. Just the other day someone else informed me that they believe that golf is not a sport. Interesting. I disagree completely. To this person, sport only exists if there is a defense. They asserted that golf, track and field events, surfing, skating, gymnastics, snowboarding, and the like are not sports. Jumping in on the conversation, someone else claimed that soccer is not a sport. Their justification? It isn’t a sport to them unless you use your hands. Again, I totally disagree.

So I asked the first person if they had ever played golf. They hadn’t. This person would also not really wear the label of “sports fan”. I asked the second about the goalie in soccer. No answer. This person is a “sports fan” but only into the likes of football, baseball, and basketball.

I’ve heard each case before. Most that I have run into that think specific sports are not "real" sports have never played an organized competitive sport and would not label themselves "sports fans". One person tried to test my definition and asked if I believed cheerleading and marching band were sports. While cheer is definitely a sport the band is more of a gray area. I would venture to guess that most in the marching band don’t consider themselves athletes nor do they enjoy other sports. At least that is what I remember from high school. On the other hand, if you have a performing band that competes against others and includes athleticism, this has sport. Competition always brings a sporting element. However, actually labeling marching band a "sport" is likely a big stretch. Let me know if you disagree – I’m open to suggestions on this one.

Others, like the second person, only believe those with the most publicity are "sports" such as football, baseball, hockey, and basketball. If this is the case, why do sports networks cover so much more? Why are the Olympics and X Games made up of more individual events than team? Is poker a sport, because I see it on ESPN quite often?

Really, I think sports are in the eye of the beholder. For me, sports are a big part of life and I couldn’t imagine not having any in my days. Sports are diverse and include something for almost everyone. Simply because a cynical person proclaims that golf is not a sport will not change the definition as far as I’m concerned. I think golf is a sport. Actually, I know golf is a sport. If there’s a clock, score, winner, measure, or contest then it’s most likely a sport. I also think running, bodybuilding, cheerleading, curling, handball, surfing, swimming, football, and a multitude of other activities are sports. Heck, ping pong, lawn bowling, and badminton are sports. Yeah, there are some activities that are a stretch, but who’s to say that something isn’t? Why do we need to classify? Sports are what you make of them.

What constitutes a sport for you?


Lindsay said...

Do you think hunting is a sport? I don't know about that one... and camping? I consider backpacking a sport because I'm hiking all day long. Like you said, some things are a stretch. But who's to say that something isn't a sport?

Apryl DeLancey said...

I am not a fan of hunting personally and camping is also arguable depending on the entirety of the event. I also consider backpacking a sport. And yes, who is the authority to decide and what would make them the final word to say what sport is?