what is sport?
what qualifies something as a SPORT vs. an ACTIVITY?
I was killing some time during my lunch break by surfing various bicycle related BLOGS when I tangent hopped around from Friend's Blog to Friend's Friend's BLOG and stumbled upon 1X8 of Hate and his rant on Sport Classifications and Activities.
This topic of Sport vs. Activity is an idea that has occupied my mind for nearly as long as the debate of Art vs. Craft.
In my life's history I find that I have angered far more people at the keg by stating that Golf is not a sport than by claiming that Pottery is more craft than art. Foolishly enough my wife (then girlfriend) is one of the people who was sensitive about my feelings about pottery. Lessons hard learned, some opinions should be kept to one's self. A lesson that I have yet to commit to memory, somehow I always find the exact wrong thing to say..... guess I have turretts on a converstational level rather than just blurting out one innappropriate word.
before going any further I will turn to a few definitions of the word SPORT...
Date: 15th century
1 a : a source of diversion : RECREATION b : sexual play c (1) : physical activity engaged in for pleasure (2) : a particular activity (as an athletic game) so engaged in
2 a : PLEASANTRY, JEST b : often mean-spirited jesting : MOCKERY, DERISION
3 a : something tossed or driven about in or as if in play b : LAUGHINGSTOCK
4 a : SPORTSMAN b : a person considered with respect to living up to the ideals of sportsmanship sport> sport> c : a companionable person
5 : an individual exhibiting a sudden deviation from type beyond the normal limits of individual variation usually as a result of mutation especially of somatic tissue
synonym see FUN
n 1: an active diversion requiring physical exertion and competition [syn: athletics] 2: the occupation of athletes who compete for pay 3: someone who engages in sports [syn: sportsman, sportswoman] 4: (biology) an organism that has characteristics resulting from chromosomal alteration [syn: mutant, mutation, variation] 5: (Maine colloquial) temporary summer resident of inland Maine 6: verbal wit (often at another's expense but not to be taken seriously); "he became a figure of fun" [syn: fun, play] v 1: wear or display in an ostentatious or proud manner; "she was sporting a new hat" [syn: feature, boast] 2: play boisterously; "The children frolicked in the garden"; "the gamboling lambs in the meadows"; "The toddlers romped in the playroom" [syn: frolic, lark, rollick, skylark, disport, cavort, gambol, frisk, romp, run around, lark about]
both Britannica.com and Dictionary.com were useless in deciding this arguement of "What is Sport?"
maybe the list from the Athens 2004 Olympic Site may help....
so.... what is sport in my mind?
I may have to rant on forward and further and come back to this section to give a more clear definition of what sport is for me. The several "tier" definition system that was presented by 1X8 of Hatewas interesting but it left out many activities that are considered sport, such as track and field or swimming, as well as intentionally excluding the activities of the "sportsman" such as hunting or fishing, while including golf.
(what makes golf a sport? I guess first we need to find a definition of SPORT that we agree upon)
In my mind there are a two basic categories of sport...
then a third.... that questionable GRAY AREA
1. Physical Games played at a competitive level... full contact does not make an activity more or less a sport...
Smear the Queer and Dodge Ball were very popular in my youth, both very intense, but neither would be considered a sport, not even by the Olympic Federation.
Basketball, Soccer, Football, Volleyball (and not just because I lettered in Volleyball in HS,) Cycling, Track and Field, Swimming (Diving gets tossed into the Gray Area,) Wrestling, Martial Arts, Ultimate Frisbee, Boxing...... and the list goes on and on and on
sorry did I leave out Jai Alai?
sorry if your sport was not mentioned
go to the OLYMPIC link below and go through their list and maybe your "sport" is listed there
2. A Working man (or woman's ) activity taken from the workplace and put out onto the playing field. As in the case of fishing or hunting or something like a lumberjack racing to chop down a tree in competition. Taking an activity out of its funtional environment and placing it into a competitive environment can make it sport. Now I have raced with other geeks in the office to find information online, but that is not sport.... yes it is a geeky game, but there is no way to stretch that activity into a sport. But.... messenger races, snow shoveling contests, fishing (ice or bass,) hunting can all be quite sporting! Hence our word, Sportsman.
3. that GRAY AREA: Pool/Billards, Golf aka pasture pool, Darts, and Bowling go into that GRAY AREA.
Other activities that fall into this gray area are Car Racing, Sailing, Diving, Dancing. There are certain activities that when taken to the highest level are moved from activity status to sport status, but who decides when? If I go Windsurfing... am I taking part in a sport? or am I just out getting some sun on a surfboard with a sail? And Car Racing? well..... even before my learner's permit moved to full fledged car driver's license I was racing cars around, sure not at the Indy level, but was my action sport... or just being a stupid kid? Even riding a bike is not a sport at the recreational level, but.... at some point the activity on a bicycle becomes a sport? Does heart race or calorie burning come into this definition?
Going to the gym is an activity? But how about Yoga?
Is Yoga a sport? Yoga is no more a sport than weight lifting....
Now I guess Power Lifting is a sport.... but at what stage does someone go from just being a weight lifting meathead with an IROC-Z at Gold's Gym to being a Powerlifter?
When dealing with sports there are often refferees, judges, or other types of score keeping. My brother and I have had various discussions about sport, much of which surround the various sports of the Olympics. During the Olympics there is always some sort of issue with the judges and corruption or maybe even human error. This was seen at the 2004 Olympics in Athens with the gymnastics and the US GOLD. We see the same corruption and subjectivity in figure skating each and every 4 years.
In my brother's mind all of these "subjective" sports should be removed from the Olympics in an effort to remove the room for arguement. Sports with a finishline fail to have that room for error. Perhaps they could have figure skaters all do the same routine in a standard amount of time with a finishline... thus removing the effect of national affiliation, physical attractiveness, musical choice, and outfit on the judges decision.... too many unrelated variables.
Taste should not bring someone closer to the GOLD MEDAL!
Ramp Skating and Halfpipe riding on a snowboard can have that same subjectivity as there is a measure for "style." Surfing, as cool as I may think it is.... has far too much of a subjective leve to it. Could you imagine the 100 yard dash offering style points? Maybe giving someone a few second penalty for making a funny face while they run? The idea of a stop watch and a finishline just seems to make it all a tad easier for selecting the winner.
where is this going?
it could go on forever
that was a very loose paraphrase of my brother's feelings on the notion of sport
perhaps he will be kind enough to comment and clear up his opinions
as for everyone else....
feel free to make additions where you can and we can take this idea to a BLOG FORUM LEVEL
James Canty a fellow Mount Pleasant Dweller and semi-frequent freelance employee of the same employer as myself defines Sport as....
oh.... he was willing to discuss the topic
he was able to mock my inability to define the topic
but he needs 24 hours to create his definition
so lets not worry about his definition.... lets listen to his music and check out his musical past
(Peter Pan seems to be alive and well in the mind of James Canty)