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LakeLivin

What's your defintion of a "Sport"?

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Question prompted by a post mentioning a cornhole tourney on ESPN.  It brought back memories of a semi-drunken philosophical discussion we had at a poker game a long time ago. Since there's no hockey to discuss . . . Can we come up with a Canes Forum defintion of  "sport"?

 

Some terms to think about: sport, game, athletic event, a competition.  Can "sport" be defined according to components (athletic ability, eye-hand coordination, strategy, etc.)?  If so, is there a minimum amount of a component that is required?  Or a high enough level for a component that makes it sufficient to be called a sport?   

 

Some examples to think about: eSports, darts, cornhole, sailing, track events, curling, weight lifting/body building, archery/riflery, etc. 

 

I think an easy starting place is that it requires competition.  From there . . . ?  

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I have engaged many people on this topic and had a very troll-like answer I used to apply with the purpose of causing trouble, but I actually kinda like my definition. 

 

"How much a competition is a sport, is directly related to how little a human referee or judge is involved in the competition"

 

The olympics are great for this discussion...

For example...  Figure skating is far from being a sport, as it is judged, and clearly unfairly at that.  Timed sports in the olympics appear to be the most sportlike.  However, things like judging of drafting violations in speedskating, fouls in short track speedskating all detract from the sportlike qualities. 

 

Tennis became more of a sport when the lines became judged by machines and not people.

 

Basketball is a great sport until that whistle blows and the ref calls block or charge at a key point in the game.  It's not so much of a sport when Dennis Rodman hurls his body backwards due to a fake elbow and draws a foul.  It is a sport most of the time. 

 

Ice hockey?  Great sport until your guy gets pulled down and the ref calls a dive.  

 

Interesting side effects of this rule...  it makes bowling a pretty sportlike activity, and boxing not.  I don't really like that part of it, but after all, I did this mostly to **** off my wife when we were watching the olympics (figure skating and gymnastics)

 

I realize the flaws of all of this, but really...  human error in officiating and judging is the worst and pisses us all off.  It eventually ceases to be a sport in those cases if there is enough of it.

 

More for fun than a true definition.

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20 hours ago, hag65 said:

I have engaged many people on this topic and had a very troll-like answer I used to apply with the purpose of causing trouble, but I actually kinda like my definition. 

 

"How much a competition is a sport, is directly related to how little a human referee or judge is involved in the competition"

 

The olympics are great for this discussion...

For example...  Figure skating is far from being a sport, as it is judged, and clearly unfairly at that.  Timed sports in the olympics appear to be the most sportlike.  However, things like judging of drafting violations in speedskating, fouls in short track speedskating all detract from the sportlike qualities. 

 

Tennis became more of a sport when the lines became judged by machines and not people.

 

Basketball is a great sport until that whistle blows and the ref calls block or charge at a key point in the game.  It's not so much of a sport when Dennis Rodman hurls his body backwards due to a fake elbow and draws a foul.  It is a sport most of the time. 

 

Ice hockey?  Great sport until your guy gets pulled down and the ref calls a dive.  

 

Interesting side effects of this rule...  it makes bowling a pretty sportlike activity, and boxing not.  I don't really like that part of it, but after all, I did this mostly to **** off my wife when we were watching the olympics (figure skating and gymnastics)

 

I realize the flaws of all of this, but really...  human error in officiating and judging is the worst and pisses us all off.  It eventually ceases to be a sport in those cases if there is enough of it.

 

More for fun than a true definition.

 

Yeah, subjective / innaccurate officiating can be extremely frustrating.  It can render a particular event illegitimate, but to me it doesn't delegitimze what I would otherwise consider a sport in general. Combat sports (boxing, MMA) are good examples.  The fact that they can be unduely influenced by judging doesn't make them non-sports in my eyes.  But that does bring up something I've always thought is stupid; not revealing scoring until a match is over.  What's the objective in keeping scoring a mystery until a match is complete?  I guess it's geared towards spectators in some way?      

 

One important factor for me is that a sport require a certain amount of athleticism beyond eye / hand coordination.  E.g., I don't think of darts or cornhole as sports, but it gets murky pretty quickly.  What about something like curling; sport or game?  The whole body comes into play when delivering a stone, but is the athleticism-to-coordination ratio high enough to make it a sport? I'm thinking it may just slip in under my rather strict definition, but I could see an argument against. 

 

I'm leaning towards ruling out anything where equipment plays a primary role in the competition, like auto racing.     

 

For my definition, I'm wondering if a sport should have some "game" or strategy element to it.  I'd rule out anything where it's nothing but athleticism, like track and field or weightlifting.  They're definitely legitimate athletic events, but not necessarily "sports" according to my definition.  

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2 hours ago, realmdrakkar said:

Competition + Athleticism.

 

How much athleticism needed in your definition?  Any of curling, stock car racing, or sailing a sport?

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32 minutes ago, LakeLivin said:

How much athleticism needed in your definition?  Any of curling, stock car racing, or sailing a sport?

 

 

It does get a little gray.  Curling and stock car racing, yes.  By sailing do you mean something competitive like sailboat races?  If so, yes.

 

Not Poker, though.  Wheel of Fortune and The Price Is Right are more sport than Poker.

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At my age if I can play it well or play it at all I regard said game as an activity

If I can't play it well or play it at all I regard said game as a sport

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11 hours ago, realmdrakkar said:

 

 

It does get a little gray.  Curling and stock car racing, yes.  By sailing do you mean something competitive like sailboat races?  If so, yes.

 

Not Poker, though.  Wheel of Fortune and The Price Is Right are more sport than Poker.

 

Yep, competitive sailing.  

 

Let's see if we can find your cutoff.  Darts? Cornhole?  Archery?  Skeet shooting?

 

I think poker is pretty clear to most everyone. I remember a while back where there was a group that tried to get chess added as an Olympic sport. Part of the argument was that at the highest levels a chess match required a certain level of endurance, lol.   

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1 hour ago, LakeLivin said:

Let's see if we can find your cutoff.  Darts? Cornhole?  Archery?  Skeet shooting?

 

I think poker is pretty clear to most everyone. I remember a while back where there was a group that tried to get chess added as an Olympic sport. Part of the argument was that at the highest levels a chess match required a certain level of endurance, lol.   

 

 

There does have to be more criteria because otherwise you'd have to consider such 'party games' as quarters, Twister, and yes, darts and cornhole, to be sports.  I'm not sure what that other criteria is just yet.  Archery and skeet shooting, i'll say sport.  Quarters and cornhole, get back to me on those.  But there does have to at least be competition and athleticism.

 

Which still makes even all of those more-acceptable for sports channels to be televising than my current 'whine of the week' i keep coming back to, poker. 😄

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2 hours ago, realmdrakkar said:

 

 

There does have to be more criteria because otherwise you'd have to consider such 'party games' as quarters, Twister, and yes, darts and cornhole, to be sports.  I'm not sure what that other criteria is just yet.  Archery and skeet shooting, i'll say sport.  Quarters and cornhole, get back to me on those.  But there does have to at least be competition and athleticism.

 

Which still makes even all of those more-acceptable for sports channels to be televising than my current 'whine of the week' i keep coming back to, poker. 😄

 

Yeah, even though they cover it I doubt even ESPN actually considers poker a sport.  I bet they just cashed in on it when it was a craze and kept it around since alot of guys who like sports also like poker (complete speculation on my part).  

 

I wonder if your missing criteria is related as much to a historical perspective as it is to the actual mechanics of the activity?  E.g., isn't there as much or more athletecism required for cornhole as there is for archery?  Both are too low on the eye-hand-coordination to athleticism ratio for my tastes, but archery seems a lot closer to me.  I wonder if it's because archery stems from a battle/hunting activity that became a contest, while cornhole was born purely as a game?  Or, maybe indoors vs. outdoors factors in?  (e.g., darts vs. archery?) 

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Something that develops muscles, and/or hand to eye coordination.  It isn't black and white, there are gradients.

 

Sports with Athleticism:

- Skating, major teams sports on fields or arenas, lifting, swimming, track and field, wrestling, boxing, racket sports, etc.

- The fact that figure skating involves artistic elements does not take away from it, same with synchronized swimming, ice dancing, etc.

 

Sports with almost only hand to eye:

- Shooting, darts, cornhole, esports

- Fitness is a plus in all of these, especially shooting (keep heart rate low)

- But admittedly, they can all be done with a beer gut

- Most of these are not as much fun to watch as those requiring fitness, so these are kind of a class themselves which many argue make them not sports.  That's OK.

 

Sports with a mix of hand to eye and fitness:

- Curling (more hand to eye than fitness)

- Archery

- Sports car racing (again, more on the hand to eye side)

- Golf

 

Not sports, strategy only:

- Playing cards such as poker

 

Sports car racing is always a challenge.  A beer gut guy can do it, especially low levels.  But at high levels, fitness is required to keep cool while fighting the G-forces. 

Edited by wxray1

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