Off and Running

You can’t call any activity a sport


Mark Carlson, Sports Editor

What makes a sport a sport? Does it have to be played with a ball or does it has to be competitive? The definition also differs from person to person. Some people say that if it is a competition it’s a sport, while some say that football is the only sport. The latter kind of people are wrong.
By Olympic standards, an activity has to have a governing body that is not associated with government to be considered a sport. Basically there has to be standardized rules for a game or activity. However, this allows for activities like synchronized swimming and rhythmic gymnastics to be dubbed sports.
My improved classification of the term draws a more solid line between sports and activities. A sport, as defined by me, is a competition where the victor is not defined by scores given by judges, demands physical exertion and has a fairly standardized ruleset across most areas of competition. For me to consider a sport a sport, it has to meet all of the requirements named above.
Now with all broad rules, there are gray areas, and I’m going to discuss some of those to set precedence for future decisions (I’ve been watching too much”Law and Order.”)This is just to clarify my position on certain sports to try to make my expert decision much easier to interpret.
Racecar driving is one such gray area. And while it is not determined by a judge’s score, it does not require the physical exertion to be considered a sport. While holding the wheel can be strenuous over a three hour race, it does not require any work to be done.
Recently bowling was brought to my attention as a possible sport. My ruling is that it is a sport. You have to skillfully roll a heavy ball down a lane many times within a game which does require physical exertion. The same ruling also applies to golf.
Swimming and diving is a questionable decision. While swimming is undoubtably a sport, diving has to be excluded. The whole premise of diving is that you dive into the water and that you are judged and given a score based on the quality of your dive. Since you are given a score by a judge it is not a sport by my definition.
Even though there are a lot of activities that aren’t considered sports by me, that doesn’t mean that the people that compete in them aren’t athletes. By my judgement, an athlete is anyone who competes in a competitive activity or sport. This ranges from swimmers to chess players and from basketball players to competitive video gamers.
My reasoning behind this is that since everyone has a different definition of what a sport is, you can’t call people who play what some call a sport but you don’t a non-athlete. That really is just being a jerk. If an athlete is just someone who competes, then there isn’t that issue. And believe me, the world needs less issues. So go sit down with your thinker and create your own definition, and watch as the Olympics allows for equestrian dressage to continue to be a sport!