What defines a sport? Is fishing a sport? How about video game tournaments?

Steve

Mostly Harmless
Joined
Jul 9, 2008
Messages
21,239
Reaction score
6,756
Location
Covington, WA
I actually don't like Hungry Hungry Hippos. In fact, I lost interest in the game by the time I was in 2nd grade.

I'm just bringing it up because the way I define "sport" would include it. Success in Hungry Hungry Hippos requires two physical attributes: speed and timing.

Do you have a definition of "sport" that excludes Hungry Hungry Hippos, but includes billiards and darts? Because I'll be happy to adopt it if you do.
I mean, I've only posted it three times now, including at least twice in direct response to you, my man.

I think, when you boil it down to the bare essentials, sports are activities that meet the following:
  1. Played competitively
  2. Organized into some kind of league
  3. Requires some kind of physical skill
So, chess is a game because there is no form of physical skill, and in fact, you can play entirely electronically of, if you're smart enough, without even a board.

Auto racing, golf, tennis, curling, bowling, etc are all sports.

eSports are also sport:


I think if hungry hungry hippos is ever organized into leagues, it would be a sport. Until then, even though there is a physical element, it's a game.

Horseshoes, darts, billiards are all sports because they are often played in leagues or organized competitions. Regarding Hungry Hungry Hippos, it seems like you really... really like that game for some reason. But dude. It's not a sport.

And in related news, while chess is not a sport, chess boxing certainly is:

 

Urban Trekker

Brown Belt
Joined
Apr 20, 2021
Messages
488
Reaction score
163
Location
Hampton, VA
I mean, I've only posted it three times now, including at least twice in direct response to you, my man
Got it, but I'm having a hard time buying the "organized into leagues" part.

I think it makes sense that whether or not something is a "sport" is determined intrinsically by the activity itself, not what is done with it extrinsically.

Think about it: let's say that an organized league for a particular thing was just established this morning at a 10 am. You yourself don't play for this league, but you do play it as a leisurely activity. You yourself played this morning from 9 am to 11 am. Would you then say that for the first half, you were not playing a sport, but you were in the second half?

Like I said, what determines whether or not something is a sport needs to be intrinsic to the activity itself.
 

Gerry Seymour

MT Moderator
Staff member
Supporting Member
Joined
Mar 27, 2012
Messages
28,849
Reaction score
9,731
Location
Hendersonville, NC
I think, when you boil it down to the bare essentials, sports are activities that meet the following:
  1. Played competitively
  2. Organized into some kind of league
  3. Requires some kind of physical skill
So, chess is a game because there is no form of physical skill, and in fact, you can play entirely electronically of, if you're smart enough, without even a board.

Auto racing, golf, tennis, curling, bowling, etc are all sports.

eSports are also sport:

The competition part is hard to stick to (though that's certainly what first comes to my mind). Does golf cease to be a sport if playing alone? Perhaps it does.

I'm not at all certain about the requirement of a league. I think touch football is still a sport when some friends just get together to play a game.
 

Steve

Mostly Harmless
Joined
Jul 9, 2008
Messages
21,239
Reaction score
6,756
Location
Covington, WA
Got it, but I'm having a hard time buying the "organized into leagues" part.

I think it makes sense that whether or not something is a "sport" is determined intrinsically by the activity itself, not what is done with it extrinsically.

Think about it: let's say that an organized league for a particular thing was just established this morning at a 10 am. You yourself don't play for this league, but you do play it as a leisurely activity. You yourself played this morning from 9 am to 11 am. Would you then say that for the first half, you were not playing a sport, but you were in the second half?

Like I said, what determines whether or not something is a sport needs to be intrinsic to the activity itself.
Right on. I can't think of an activity that we would normally consider a sport that doesn't have some level of organization to it. Regarding the idea that someone could create a league this morning, and thus it is a sport... I mean it depends on whether there is actually organization and a league.

But, yeah, if I actually organize a real tiddly-winks league, where there are players who compete in some kind of structured environment, I'd say it counts as a sport. So, to answer your question, is it possible for a non-sport to become a sport? Yes. 100%. Once again, eSports are a great example. Playing FPS or other online games was not a sport 30 years ago. But they organized the activity into competitive leagues and what was once a game is now a sport.
 

Steve

Mostly Harmless
Joined
Jul 9, 2008
Messages
21,239
Reaction score
6,756
Location
Covington, WA
The competition part is hard to stick to (though that's certainly what first comes to my mind). Does golf cease to be a sport if playing alone? Perhaps it does.

I'm not at all certain about the requirement of a league. I think touch football is still a sport when some friends just get together to play a game.
It's always a sport because the competitive element is always there, even if you choose not to engage in it. Same with football. Playing catch is not a sport, but playing football is.
 

Gerry Seymour

MT Moderator
Staff member
Supporting Member
Joined
Mar 27, 2012
Messages
28,849
Reaction score
9,731
Location
Hendersonville, NC
It's always a sport because the competitive element is always there, even if you choose not to engage in it. Same with football. Playing catch is not a sport, but playing football is.
That seems like an artificial distinction, then. If golf leagues went away, golf would no longer be a sport. Same for every other sport. But I suppose most distinctions are just our way of categorizing, so if your categorization of sport requires the organized competition, then that's a key distinction.
 

Urban Trekker

Brown Belt
Joined
Apr 20, 2021
Messages
488
Reaction score
163
Location
Hampton, VA
The thing about sports is that we know a sport when we see one. We also know something that is NOT a sport when we see it. But it appears to be impossible to come up with a definition of the word that includes 100% everything we perceive as a sport, and excludes 100% of the things that we don't.

Funny litte story: A friend of mine once said that he plays darts and bowls better when he's drunk. Basically, if a game can be safely played by people who are drunk, it's not a sport. Of course, this definition is too funny to be seriously adopted, although one can argue that it does make some logical sense.
 

Steve

Mostly Harmless
Joined
Jul 9, 2008
Messages
21,239
Reaction score
6,756
Location
Covington, WA
That seems like an artificial distinction, then. If golf leagues went away, golf would no longer be a sport. Same for every other sport. But I suppose most distinctions are just our way of categorizing, so if your categorization of sport requires the organized competition, then that's a key distinction.
That's all true. It's artificial. In the words of the Mighty Thor, 'All words are made up."

And also, yes, this is about categorizing things. :)
 

drop bear

Sr. Grandmaster
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
22,468
Reaction score
7,224
Right on. I can't think of an activity that we would normally consider a sport that doesn't have some level of organization to it. Regarding the idea that someone could create a league this morning, and thus it is a sport... I mean it depends on whether there is actually organization and a league.

But, yeah, if I actually organize a real tiddly-winks league, where there are players who compete in some kind of structured environment, I'd say it counts as a sport. So, to answer your question, is it possible for a non-sport to become a sport? Yes. 100%. Once again, eSports are a great example. Playing FPS or other online games was not a sport 30 years ago. But they organized the activity into competitive leagues and what was once a game is now a sport.

So tag would be a game. Competition tag would be a sport.

 

Steve

Mostly Harmless
Joined
Jul 9, 2008
Messages
21,239
Reaction score
6,756
Location
Covington, WA
So tag would be a game. Competition tag would be a sport.

I'd flip that to say, because there is a competition Tag, it is a sport. Full stop. You may not play in a league, but if you're playing tag by the rules, as a competition, it's sport not game.

Functionally, at this point, how is tag different from other sports?
 

Buka

Sr. Grandmaster
Staff member
MT Mentor
Joined
Jun 27, 2011
Messages
12,504
Reaction score
9,649
Location
Maui
Unless you do it on the street, and then it's serious... deadly serious. In my youth, I played football on the streets... to the death.
We grew up playing football, tacke football, tag football, flag football in college.

In our neighborhood, as teens, if we were too lazy to go up to the college field, we'd play in the street. The huddle was like "Go up to the Burke's car, cut towards the hydrant, button hook at the pothole."

My favorite route. :)
 

_Simon_

Senior Master
Joined
Jan 3, 2018
Messages
4,142
Reaction score
2,550
Location
Australia
I'm not sure what you're describing... do you mean chess piece? That doesn't count because you could just as easily play the game online or even by text without a board at all.
Oops, yep I meant chess not chest 不

Yeah fair enough
 

Steve

Mostly Harmless
Joined
Jul 9, 2008
Messages
21,239
Reaction score
6,756
Location
Covington, WA
We grew up playing football, tacke football, tag football, flag football in college.

In our neighborhood, as teens, if we were too lazy to go up to the college field, we'd play in the street. The huddle was like "Go up to the Burke's car, cut towards the hydrant, button hook at the pothole."

My favorite route. :)
That's exactly how we did it.
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

MT Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jan 4, 2012
Messages
11,166
Reaction score
5,107
Location
New York
We grew up playing football, tacke football, tag football, flag football in college.

In our neighborhood, as teens, if we were too lazy to go up to the college field, we'd play in the street. The huddle was like "Go up to the Burke's car, cut towards the hydrant, button hook at the pothole."

My favorite route. :)
Sounds about right, except no flag football in my neighborhood.


When I was recovering from a broken leg around 13ish years old, basically the second I got out of the boot, I started going back to the field at the end of the block to play football with my buds. Got my mom to sign off basically saying that it's close by, all people that she knew, and a good way for me to get back to using it while being able to rest. Also informed her it was touch football.

A year ago I informed her that we were playing tackle, and hard tackling at that. If this was the first of such revelations, she probably would have been mad...
 

Urban Trekker

Brown Belt
Joined
Apr 20, 2021
Messages
488
Reaction score
163
Location
Hampton, VA
This is where we get into the "exertion" question. My understanding is that racecar driving is pretty physically demanding. So, back into that morass of vagueness.
Funny thing about that. Check out this link to the Top 10 oldest drivers to ever compete in NASCAR:


Oldest NASCAR driver to compete was Hershel McGriff, whose last race was in 2018 at the age of 90. Numbers 2 and 3 were in their late 70's, and number 10 was Jeff Green at the age of 57 in 2020.

You can compete at the professional major league level in racecar driving at the age of 90. You can't do this in basketball or football. Hell, you probably couldn't even get together with friends to do it at that age.
 

Steve

Mostly Harmless
Joined
Jul 9, 2008
Messages
21,239
Reaction score
6,756
Location
Covington, WA
Considering the general definition of sport, I don't consider e-sports as a sport. However, because it's still about competition, you can view it as a sport. But, I have to admit that I'm a great fan of counter-strike global offensive, Dota 2, and League of Legends! Moreover, I'm pretty addicted to counter-strike. I can play this game day and night and forget about my family and my everyday life! When I start trading skins on the best CS:GO skin trading platform, I forget about everything in the world! I just expect to get better skin or a significant sum of money!
One of my friends' son was an e-athlete. At one point, he was one of the top 100 players of Fortnite in the world, and was up there for several other games, too. He took it very seriously. Since then, he's moved into the realm of "online personality" and makes a very nice living doing so.
Funny thing about that. Check out this link to the Top 10 oldest drivers to ever compete in NASCAR:


Oldest NASCAR driver to compete was Hershel McGriff, whose last race was in 2018 at the age of 90. Numbers 2 and 3 were in their late 70's, and number 10 was Jeff Green at the age of 57 in 2020.

You can compete at the professional major league level in racecar driving at the age of 90. You can't do this in basketball or football. Hell, you probably couldn't even get together with friends to do it at that age.
Are you suggesting that it's not a sport if you can do it well past a certain age? If so, what age is that?

So, I guess while I wouldn't agree, if you are suggesting that a sport must be physically unsustainable, it would at least be consistent. I think that might limit "sport" to only a few activities that are high risk, and you'd end up with more exceptions to the rule than otherwise.

No golf, bowling, billiards, table tennis, tennis, angling, race car driving, or any activity in which one could continue to compete into their old age. I guess that BJJ would not be sport, either... nor would karate or many other martial arts. Baseball would be out, too. Right?
 

Urban Trekker

Brown Belt
Joined
Apr 20, 2021
Messages
488
Reaction score
163
Location
Hampton, VA
One of my friends' son was an e-athlete. At one point, he was one of the top 100 players of Fortnite in the world, and was up there for several other games, too. He took it very seriously. Since then, he's moved into the realm of "online personality" and makes a very nice living doing so.

Are you suggesting that it's not a sport if you can do it well past a certain age? If so, what age is that?

So, I guess while I wouldn't agree, if you are suggesting that a sport must be physically unsustainable, it would at least be consistent. I think that might limit "sport" to only a few activities that are high risk, and you'd end up with more exceptions to the rule than otherwise.

No golf, bowling, billiards, table tennis, tennis, angling, race car driving, or any activity in which one could continue to compete into their old age. I guess that BJJ would not be sport, either... nor would karate or many other martial arts. Baseball would be out, too. Right?

Well I did say that if one were more of the following determines the outcome of the game, then it's a sport: speed of movement, accuracy of movement, timing of movement, and exertion of movement. Of course, no definition of "sport" is going to be perfect, because any possible definition that one can come up with will either include things that are generally not considered sports or exclude things that are. I'd rather err on the side of the former. So I'm fully aware that Twister is going to meet my definition of sport, and I'm okay with that.

What you're quoting isn't me trying to insinuate that auto racing is not a sport. I'm simply challenging the claim got auto racing is "physically demanding," as though it requires the same level as athleticism as as, say, basketball or hockey; despite the claims that NASCAR fans make.
 

caped crusader

Brown Belt
Joined
Oct 2, 2021
Messages
406
Reaction score
133
I'm simply challenging the claim got auto racing is "physically demanding," as though it requires the same level as athleticism as as, say, basketball or hockey; despite the claims that NASCAR fans make.
i think you are not including the prep before the race. actually these Formula 1 drivers have a rigorous fitness programm.
you have to be fit to sit in the cockpit and have razor reactions.
 
Top