Open Mic: What Constitutes a Sport?

Appalachian MannContributor IJuly 3, 2008

How does one define what constitutes a sport?

Is it merely the spirit of competition that ABC's Wide World of Sports used as their byline in searching the globe for interesting competition to report? Is it something more? Is it the level of physical activity involved? Or is it something else entirely?

I think that competition is only part of the equation. For instance, I wouldn't consider Poker a sport. Some people might consider it so, but it isn't. It's a game.  Poker requires concentration, good hand and eye coordination, and an element of luck.

Ditto for video games. Sitting in front of a TV screen punching buttons isn't a sport. There's no real effort involved.

So let's look at other ‘bar’ events like pool, darts, ping-pong, and shuffleboard. All require concentration, good hand and eye coordination, and physical skill. There is some effort involved but not too much. 

They're just games. Sitting in a bar—or casino—eating, drinking, and playing a game isn't sports.

Bowling seems more of a social event than a sport, and I wouldn't consider it one. Anything Homer Simpson endorses as a favorite activity can't possibly be a sport.

"What about golf?" you might be asking. In my opinion, golf does qualify as a sport. The level of effort and skill required are sufficient to justify the designation.

No, competition is one part. Another part is the physical part. But what defines the level of the physicality of a sport?

If it were merely hand and eye coordination and a level of physical skill, a prestidigitator would qualify. But I don't see a contest between magicians as being sport. That's entertainment, to quote the folks in Hollywood.

 I would say that what constitutes a sport is a physical competition that requires a tremendous effort to fully master. It should also be something you never do while drinking alcohol, which would seem to eliminate golf.

But there's no drinking on the PGA tour, at least not on the course. What the cutoff line should be for the amount of physical competition is anyone's guess. But I think Tiger qualifies.


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