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Thread: What is a Sport?

  1. #1
    International Vice-Captain Jungle Jumbo's Avatar
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    What is a Sport?

    Following on from what I've just scanned through in the curling thread, where it is suggested that curling isn't a sport, I ask "What is a Sport?".

    This is a debate that has raged in my family for years, and always comes up when the Olympics is on. It centres around where the border between a sport and an art or pastime lies. The argument usually starts off with 'rythmic gymnastics' (basically people dancing around with bits of paper), and then progresses onto dance, before getting to a finish on the subject of 'synchronised swimming'.

    Many people feel that these 'sports' are not 'sports', more pursuits. I am not saying that these pastimes are not technically difficult, nor disinteresting (actually I do think they are disinteresting), just that they are not sports.

    So after having a week mooching around the North Devon coastline, and trying to find something to take my mind off the fact my mouth was frozen with wind chill, I sought to answer this problem:

    My theory: "A sport is a physical pursuit, relying more so on physical technique, strength, or ability than mental aspects (although this is also part of every sport), that ends up with a clear result determined not by opinions of judges, but by a definite number."

    The physical bit comes in to seperate games such as chess, bridge, Hungry Hippos from being classed under my definition as a sport.

    The most important part is the opinionated/definite dertermination of a result. Gymnastics, synchronised swimming, ice dancing, diving etc rely soley on judges' interpretations of their performance, whereas sports rely on a figure. This can be time (any type of race, e.g. swimming, running), distance (throwing events) or points (football, rugby, cricket). The outcome is (barring controversy) certain - you cannot argue with numbers. This is why there has been lots of controversy surrounding the figure skating recently, as the winner is determined by people's opinions, and humans make mistakes.

    There are two stand-out fifty/fifty exceptions:

    Ski Jumping
    The winner should be the jumper with the longest distance, but they also get judged on their style - knock this off and it becomes a 'legitimate sport'

    Boxing
    Simple at first glance - first boxer who can't get up loses - but judges' decisions make it a borderline 'sport'.

    Your thoughts as I flee from the hoardes of rythmic gymnastics fans...

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    Cricket Web Staff Member / Global Moderator Neil Pickup's Avatar
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    Ski jumping needs the style marks. Otherwise you get people landing stupid.
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    Extreme tiddlywinks is the role-model for a sport, IMO.
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    Soutie Langeveldt's Avatar
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    My girlfriend told me a proper definition..

    It has to have a governing body
    It has to have an official set of rules
    It has to involve individual/team based competition

    Looks like in actual fact, there are very few grey areas, and lots of sports..
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    International Vice-Captain Jungle Jumbo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Langeveldt
    My girlfriend told me a proper definition..

    It has to have a governing body
    It has to have an official set of rules
    It has to involve individual/team based competition

    Looks like in actual fact, there are very few grey areas, and lots of sports..
    Anyone want to inaugurate a Hungry Hippos World Cup? With a Hungry Hippos Governing Body? Does that make it a sport?

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    International Vice-Captain Jungle Jumbo's Avatar
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    Wiki says: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sport

    A sport consists of a physical and mentally competitive activity carried out with a recreational purpose for competition, for self-enjoyment, to attain excellence, for the development of a skill, or some combination of these. A sport has physical activity, side by side competition, self-motivation and a scoring system. The difference of purpose is what characterises sport, combined with the notion of individual (or team) skill or prowess.

    Hmmm, sounds a bit ambigious, I'll claim a moral victory

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    Jumbo on a bit of a competitive streak one feels...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Langeveldt
    My girlfriend told me a proper definition..

    It has to have a governing body
    It has to have an official set of rules
    It has to involve individual/team based competition

    Looks like in actual fact, there are very few grey areas, and lots of sports..
    So in inter-school quiz competition is a sport?

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    Soutie Langeveldt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Halsey
    So in inter-school quiz competition is a sport?
    Im not sure how "official" the governing body would be.. I expect there are loads of technicalities that they have to have finances/insurances etc. and not be affiliated with anything else.. I dunno, she came up with it from A level PE..

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    Soutie Langeveldt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Halsey
    Jumbo on a bit of a competitive streak one feels...
    Looks like Jungly is trying to turn being right into a sport..

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    International Coach Barney Rubble's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Langeveldt
    Im not sure how "official" the governing body would be.. I expect there are loads of technicalities that they have to have finances/insurances etc. and not be affiliated with anything else.. I dunno, she came up with it from A level PE..
    I did A Level PE too () and she's right.

    Just to thread-jack a little - darts may be a sport, but darts players are not athletes. Not under any circumstances. There's a difference between a sportsman and an athlete, and 30-stone fatboys who use a total of about three muscles in their body on a regular basis and drink more alcohol than they do water have no right to call themselves athletes. Sportsmen yes, athletes no.

    Sorry, that's just a pet peeve of mine.

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    Hall of Fame Member steds's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barney Rubble
    darts may be a sport
    It may?

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    International Coach Barney Rubble's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steds
    It may?
    I didn't say it was. Just that it may be.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Barney Rubble
    30-stone fatboys
    Tell that to their face.

    See your point though.

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    Soutie Langeveldt's Avatar
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    Nothing like a real athlete

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