Is your favorite sport…really a sport at all?

Posted: August 17, 2011 by arayegee in Mancave Fundamentals
Tags: ,

Dictionary.com defines a sport as “an athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess and often of a competitive nature“.

Maybe its just me, but it seems like any and everything thing under the sun has been deemed a “sport”. If you use the definition given above, then its no wonder why.  Hell, HOT DOG EATING is considered a sport to some. Apparently these notorious gluttons are considered athletes and what they do professionally is seen as a skill (although I see it as a glorified deadly sin).  But personally, I believe sports are broken down into three categories: TRUE SPORTS and SPORT-ISH.

Breakfast of Champions.

My revamped definition of a sport is “an athletic activity requiring skill, physical prowess, ALWAYS of a competitive nature, and which the winner is determined objectively.

What do I mean by “the winner is determined objectively”? What I mean is there aren’t any judges determing the outcome. You familiar with the phrase “lets settle it on the field/in the ring/on the court”? Well, having judges in your sport that tell you who the winner is kind of defeats that purpose.  (This put boxing in a peculiar situation, but we will sort it out later in this post.) There is no debate on who won a football game, basketball game, tennis game or soccer match. They have a point system, and those points are earned by the athletes themselves, not the committee of judges that are presiding over the match. If football was judged like figure skating (which ISNT a sport for that very reason), you’d have no clue who the winner at the conclusion.

Lets go over a few sports and see if they pass the ManCave test as being an actually sport.0

Golf

Skill? Check. Athletic?  Competitive? Yep. Is the winner determined objectively? I dont see any judges on the green giving point deduction for lack of  ‘style points’. You go out there and earn your victory on your merits alone.  So, as soft and pansy-like as it may be, golf is stamped as a SPORT.

NASCAR RACING

Seeing how people in the DMV drive on the highway at 65 MPH in perfect conditions, its impossible to see how driving at up to 200 mph is not an incredible feat. This sport requires the driver to be in pretty good shape. You wont see a fat NASCAR driver, and the heat they endure during a ride is unreal. But the fact of the matter is, astronauts deal with similar issues, and lets face it: the car is doing the work. That, and the fact that you can never win one race and still be the “champ” at the end of the year just grind my gears.  My analysis? SPORT-ISH

Am I an athlete, or just a glorified bus driver?....

GYMNASTICS

Hmm, hard to argue with a sport that you can get an Olympic Gold Medal for.  A sport that requires you to be in immaculate shape, flexible as a yoga instructor on ex, and explosive as a lioness is pretty damn tough. Hell, I know gymnasts, and even dated one who did went to college for it, Ive seen how much of a toll this sport can take on a person. Get this:  On an individual level, Its harder than basketball and baseball combined…….and its still SPORT-ISH

How come? Because gymnasts dont determine the winner of a competition, a panel of judges do. Just like a panel of judges will call the winner of a beauty pageant or a dog show competition. Whatever their judgement is, no matter how many years they’ve judged or competitions they have seen, can be seen as nothing more as their opinion.  If you don’t believe me then tell me why the scores are never identical after a performance. When somebody hits a three point shot, theyre not being judged how pretty the shot was, or deducting points for lack of form. If that was the case, Shawn Marion may as well never shoot.  If you can leave a sporting event debating who shouldve won based on the score they were given, that aint no sport. Thats a competitive talent show. One judge may see something differently than the other, and in sports, we dont want opinion. We want finality. Bring it On as much as you want, your sport is  SPORT-ISH.

BOXING

Oh, the sweet science. The epitome of one on one competition. Mano y mano.  I mean, seriously, every sports fan that travels in THIS mancave better have a favorite boxer. Who doesnt? Ali, Frazier, Dempsey, Sugar Ray Robinson, Marciano, Jack Dempsey, Tyson, Hopkins, Roy Jones, Jr., Mayweather..i can go on. Am i bold enough to say that these incredible athletes were not really participating in a sport??

Well….it’s complicated. Boxing has the same dilemma as gymnastics: judges call the fight at the end of the day. Hardcore boxing fans will argue the outcome of a match five years after its over, and the crazy thing is the fans of the loser usually has a strong argument! Minus a dominating performance from a boxer where  the winner can be determined by the casual viewer, boxing seems Verrrrrry Sport-ish.

The only thing is, when you get your ass knocked out, it’s not much debating that. A fight can end with a definitive winner. Keep in mind that the rules of boxing is to outBOX them, that doesnt always mean you have to knock them out. Its just a cherry on top. But the fact that you CAN put a cherry on top, makes boxing……both SPORT and SPORT-ISH. 

MYSTERY SPORT

World-class athletes? check.

World-wide appeal? Check.

Star players with over the top personalities? Check.

Suffered a popularity crisis during the early-mid 2000s, but has now re-booted to become a powerful organization? Check.

History of fixed competition? Check.

The answer to the mystery may shock you..but the real question  is whether its sport or sport-ish….

 

ManCavers, if you think your sport is a sport, let me know what it is in the comments, and ill give it the ManCave test! ALSO, if you can guess the mystery sport, let us know in the comments as well.

 

DEUCES

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Comments
  1. RenzReport says:

    I think you’re overlooking the true definition of a sport as you stated: “an athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess and often of a competitive nature“. With that said there should be there questions you should ask yourself in determining a sport:

    – athletic activity
    – physical prowness
    – competitive nature

    The three sports that you questioned in this post meets those guidelines and should not be called into question as to whether or not they should be called into question in regards to if they’re sports or not.

    The question shouldn’t be is it a sport or sportish but identify the level of athleticism needed for that sport.

    The only thing I can truly question from a sports/athletic perspective is the ESPN’s persistence to show Texas Hold Em and leisure Fishing.

  2. LBC says:

    I cannot believe I am actually about to say this but even thouse questionable sports that are determined by judges; evaluate the athleticism in most of them, and I think we have to call them sports. Such as, competitive cheerleading, gymnastics, boxing, etc..

    My question to this though would be how do you measure the Olympics? That is suppose to be a display and competition of athletic talent? Does that mean archery and curling etc are sports?

  3. RenzReport says:

    You got it LBC…the justification needs to be made on the level of athletic talent it takes instead of the conception of its a sports or not.

    Instead, you’d have to further analyze Skill vs. Athleticism.

  4. arayegee says:

    I might not have been clear in the blog, but my definition of a sport is based upon skill AND athleticism, along with the determination of the winner. A sport like golf, for example requires little athleticism. A sport may have more components of one or the other, but little athleticism doesnt make a sport “sport-ish”. Case in point: They have a SENIOR PGA, how much more unathletic can you get? However, the skill needed in order to play golf is tremendous, and the winner is determined by the players’ scores. A sport like gymnastics, which requires world class skill and superior athleticism, isnt truly a sport simply on the way the winner is determined. Look at it this way: World class cooks are truly skilled. In a cooking competition, the winning dish is determined by the judges who taste test it. Does this make cooking a sport? Or does it make a rare skill? Because if thats the case, everything that can be subjectively judged can be a sport.

  5. RenzReport says:

    Competition – a contest for some prize, honor, or advantage

    Sport – an athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess and often of a competitive nature

    The key that I think your forgetting is that a sport is a type of competition but the difference being is that it REQUIRES “athletic activity” —> that off the jump knocks off things like cooking competitions or card games.

    What other ways can you score Boxing or Gymnastics?

    Out of all the “sports” you mentioned, Racing has to be the most subjective to the athletic ruling, but you said it best, I’ve never seen a fat person drive those cars and from watching this series on Showtime those drivers have to work out to withstand the endurance of racing in a car w/ no AC for hours at high temperatures.

  6. Birdie_Xay says:

    I’m with you in disagreeing with the Dictionary.com definition of a sport because it would make sense that , but I do see how it was made broad enough to fit all the sports you may consider sport-ish, but still count.

    Moving on to the meat of the argument — ‘objective judgment’
    I think with sports like boxing, gymnastics, FIGURE SKATING, wrestling, diving, or cheer-leading, they all take skill, they all take physical prowness, and are all competitive so points are assigned to the activities that take place: 3 for being pinned, 10 for a triple axel, 6.5 for a flip, etc. Just like basketball, hockey, football, etc. 2pts for a basket, 6 for a touchdown, 1 for a goal, etc. That’s the best way the people who created sports (lol) found a way to objectively score the game.

    In a sense, those “true sports” can be subjectively scored when you get into calls made by the referees, which could be decide the outcome of the game. Even in a swimming competition or track and field events, or racing…At the end of the day, everything can be fought to the death. “So-in-so crossed the line first,” “That didn’t look like a foul!” “He made that before the buzzer!” “That was a horrible call!”

    And reading ya’ll post about measuring the level of athleticism or skill… that’s pretty subjective. How do you know how much aestheticism it takes to be an archer compared to being a football player? A cheerleader to being a boxer? A chess player to being a card player? Could one do the other and be equally as good.. not if they didn’t have the skill. A football player could say, chess doesn’t make me sweat, but you may not have the skill to beat a chess player. Maybe we should look up the definition of being an athlete (dictionary.com says: a person trained or gifted in exercises or contests involving physical agility, stamina, or strength; a participant in a sport, exercise, or game requiring physical skill). Everyone who plays “sports” are trained or gifted, and anything you DO is physical and requires some sort of stamina/strength…so does a sport have to be something that makes you sweat or just something that is competitive and uses physical skills, whether its your brain or your body?

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