Monday, March 23, 2009

What is a sport?

This is a question that I revisit from time to time since I was 18. In the lobby of a college dorm hall, this question was surveyed to several people walking in and out by some pals and I. I believe this question originated from a Philadelphian who did not consider golf to be a valid sport. This was poorly received from the nearby chap who was a Californian golfer.

Philly defined sport as strictly games that are endorsed and sponsored by a city associated organization such as soccer, basketball, football, baseball, hockey, etc. (Think LA Lakers, NY Yankees, Pittsburg Penguins, Arizona Cardinals…)

The broadest definition we fielded was “anything with competition.” For further understanding of the justification for this definition, I probed various situations:

JH: “How about Golf?”

PA: “That’s a sport.”

JH: “Grades on a curve?”

PA: “That’s a sport.”


PA: “That’s a sport!”

Over the years I have refined my definition to this:
Sports are games with an objective that are judged on an objective scale, where the athlete does more work than the equipment involved. [There also seems like there should be some minimum energy expenditure requirement as well, because Pool and Poker are not really sports.]

For clarification, this definition rules out several olympic games such as figure skating, gymnastics, diving, etc. I call these competitive artforms. There is a subjective scale of judging. I completely respect the people who participate in these events, I understand that these require physical exertion, stamina, athleticism, practice and high skill level. By not classifying these events as sports, I do not mean any disrespect. I just like to classify things.

This also rules out motorsports. I like to call those MOTORsports. Again, no disrespect, I just do not think college basketball and nascar should be broadcast on the same channel. More on this later. Poker and football also should not be shown on the same channel.

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