Wednesday, April 25, 2007

You've GOTTA be kidding me!

WHAT??? and again... WHAT??? Wait! I'm not done.... WHAT!!!!!?????!!!!

A texting competition?? I'm almost speechless. Is LG serious? Apparently so...

I remember the days when a good argument could start up around whether or not bowling was a real sport. By now, I believe the verdict is in, and after hours on ESPN on a Saturday afternoon bowling and bass fishing are both acceptable sports. I think I'm still on the fence about these. After all, what makes something a sport?

The competition? The rivalries? Physical activity? The prerequisite of training? The passion?

I don't think about it too often, but how many "sports" are really sports and what is the criteria?

Speed walking. Definitely harder than it looks when one considers how many very probable missteps could lead to disqualification. But is it a sport, or a funny-looking activity that usually screams "Speed walking: For the almost jogger."

Cheerleading. This was a controversy at my high school. My dear friend ran track for four years including cross country. She maintained an A average and was president of the National Honor Society. Her schedule was filled with science courses and Latin. We just knew that in her senior year as co-captain of the cross-country and track team, especially with the success of the track team that year that she would be awarded the student-athlete award. It went to a very bright student who happened to be a cheerleader. We were all shocked. And while we could not deny her intellectual capacity, we had no other choice but to make the claim that cheerleading is not a real sport. Yes, it requires athleticism and training. There are rivalries and competitions. But is it a sport?

Is car racing a sport? Is chess a sport? And if chess is a sport, why isn't checkers? It's only fair. Poker is a sport, so why not solitaire? Is this becoming a game vs. sport debate?

I've heard people describe all the hobbies, activities, passions above as "sport." But are they?

Good ol' dictionary.com defines sport as "an athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess and often of a competitive nature, as racing, baseball, tennis, golf, bowling, wrestling, boxing, hunting, fishing, etc."
That's the first definition. The third definition of sport on dictionary.com is "diversion; recreation; pleasant pastime." (Is that enough of a thing to be a sport? Sounds more like a game to me.)

Hopefully, a few years from now, texting is not considered a sport. I just feel deep in my gut that someone will try to call it a sport and through tacit content of sports fans, journalists and competitors it will become acceptable to participate in the sport of texting. Something in me just says, "NO! Stop the insanity!"

But the question is still lingering in my brain: What makes something a sport?

3 comments:

Spinmove said...

I've always stood by the idea that a sport has an outcome decided by some form of objective scoring. This eliminated figure skating, gymnastics, the slam dunk contest, etc.

Quatro Hombre said...

I love poker, but I do not feel that it is a sport. A lot of people will debate this, but more than half of poker is sheer dumb luck with which you will never have any control over. Making or missing a 3-pointer or a field goal also depends on luck, but there is still a lot of skill involved. I don't care how good a person is, the river can and always will screw up a person's hand.

Amerigo Vespucci said...

Two definitions I've seen:

1. Hemingway thought there were three sports: Boxing, car racing and bullfighting. Those were the only things where you could actually die doing it, so everything else was a game. Hemingway was also a suicidal drunk.

2. Some guy in SI:On Campus said that a sport is an athletic competition that involves the direct application of defense. I like this one. That means that figure skating, gymnastics, what have you, are not sports, since no one is trying to stop you from doing what you want to do.

Car racing is a gray area, because there is defense, but is it physical activity? How about golf? I'd say no, because you're playing the course and no one's blocking your swing, but golfers swear there's defense.

The reasoning the dude used was that rowers can compete in indoor competitions in rowing machines, and the only thing that's changed from practice is the venue. Whereas trying to kick a field goal in practice is different from the game, because 11 large dudes are trying to kill you in the game.