Death, dismemberment, real pain—this is the stuff of sports.
Drill a chess piece off your opponent’s head and that might smart a little, but no real pain, so not a sport.
A javelin to the body hurts, therefore throwing a javelin is a sport. Lawn darts, not so much.
Don’t come crying to me with a scraped knee. If it can be handled with a little Bacitracin ointment and a Band-Aid, it’s not a sports injury.
I know that Tiger Woods has been making his way around golf courses on a bad wheel, but people rarely get hit point-blank by a golf ball, so golf is not a sport.
Soccer has real pain, so it is a sport. But points are deducted for faked injuries, so soccer often veers dangerously close to the non-sports category.
The late Jack Dempsey refereed boxing long after his own boxing career was over. When bringing the combatants to the center of the ring before the opening bell, he reportedly would say, “Now let’s have a good fight,” with emphasis on the word “fight.” And he meant it.
Fighting = pain = sport.
Let’s easily put a check mark in the “sports” category next to football (American), ice hockey, baseball, basketball and all motorized racing events. Even cycling gets a check mark.
Recreational activities such as pool, darts, ping-pong and shuffleboard are not sports. That such activity may raise a blister does not a sport make (See my comment above about Bacitracin ointment and a Band-Aid.)
Swimming is a sport, if only by default. What with global warming melting the ice caps, we'll all be swimming 24-7 soon, and I'd hate to think of a world without sport.