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Definition of a Sport

ford_prefect
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2/18/2015 12:12:27 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
One of my favorite topics is how to define what sports are. Recently there's been some opinion pieces on whether or not ballet is a sport. I've been thinking about the definition of sports for a long time, and I think I've come up with a good definition or categorization system. I'd like to hear thoughts on it.

First, to be a sport, an activity must produce winners and losers. This criterion disqualifies activities like dancing, unless they are part of a judged competition.

Next, to be a sport, an activity must be physical in nature. In other words, the best practitioners of this sport must possess bodies that are physically more capable than the average person who is not an athlete. This is somewhat vague, and allows for plenty of discretion in what is considered physically fit. Some examples: Video games and chess are not sports because the top video game and chess players aren't actually stronger, faster, or tougher than an average guy. However, baseball is a sport because the top sluggers are much stronger than the average non-athlete, and frisbee is a sport because the top frisbee players are way faster than your average non-athlete.

Finally, a sport must allow the sides competing against each other to do something in order to impede the other's success. This disqualifies activities like golf and bowling, because those are activities where you just take turns. A golfer cannot play defense and make his opponent's shots harder to hit. Same with a bowler, all he can do is bowl his best and hope the opponent doesn't beat him. Similarly, a sprinter or a swimmer cannot block his opponent in a race, they must stay in their lanes. So they are not sports. They are still athletes, but their events are races, or competitions, not sports.

So baseball, basketball, football, frisbee, tennis, soccer, boxing, etc. are sports.

Swimming, track, cross country, etc are races, but not sports.
Gymnastics, figure skating, competitive dancing, etc. are competitions but not sports.
Video games, bowling, golf, etc. are games but not sports.

What do you guys think?
Ore_Ele
Posts: 25,980
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2/18/2015 2:00:45 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
I would tweak the "physical" with not just they must be more physical than average, but that physicality has a direct impact on success. so the more "physically fit" one is, the better than chances of winning.

I thought this when people would argue that chess required physicality since you had to physically sit for extended periods of time.
"Wanting Red Rhino Pill to have gender"
ford_prefect
Posts: 4,143
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2/18/2015 2:32:37 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 2/18/2015 2:00:45 PM, Ore_Ele wrote:
I would tweak the "physical" with not just they must be more physical than average, but that physicality has a direct impact on success. so the more "physically fit" one is, the better than chances of winning.

I thought this when people would argue that chess required physicality since you had to physically sit for extended periods of time.

Yeah definitely agree, I didn't quite word it that way but when I say that the top players must be in better shape than average, that's what I mean. Anybody can sit at a table for hours, so top chess players don't possess physical skill that the rest of the population lacks.
BerlinV
Posts: 10
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2/20/2015 6:58:50 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder ????? : )

For me sport is anything that involves physical activity and it can be just for fun or simply competing.

Chess as a sport is fair because it involves an activity of one of our precious organs that is the brain ( all sports do but chess relies pretty much on the brain).

I liked your definition and I believe that it makes some sense but of course I disagree in a few things which is fine since we all are here trying to learn from each other.

Have a wonderful weekend
One avocado a day keeps the doctor away : )
Ore_Ele
Posts: 25,980
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2/20/2015 7:16:52 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 2/20/2015 6:58:50 PM, BerlinV wrote:
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder ????? : )

For me sport is anything that involves physical activity and it can be just for fun or simply competing.

Chess as a sport is fair because it involves an activity of one of our precious organs that is the brain ( all sports do but chess relies pretty much on the brain).

I liked your definition and I believe that it makes some sense but of course I disagree in a few things which is fine since we all are here trying to learn from each other.

Have a wonderful weekend

The concern is that if a definition is so broad that it technically incorporates everything, that makes it a meaningless definition (likewise if it incorporates nothing it is worthless). Definitions (at least for nouns) are meant to differentiate things.
"Wanting Red Rhino Pill to have gender"
BerlinV
Posts: 10
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2/22/2015 10:40:45 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 2/20/2015 7:16:52 PM, Ore_Ele wrote:
At 2/20/2015 6:58:50 PM, BerlinV wrote:
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder ????? : )

For me sport is anything that involves physical activity and it can be just for fun or simply competing.

Chess as a sport is fair because it involves an activity of one of our precious organs that is the brain ( all sports do but chess relies pretty much on the brain).

I liked your definition and I believe that it makes some sense but of course I disagree in a few things which is fine since we all are here trying to learn from each other.

Have a wonderful weekend

The concern is that if a definition is so broad that it technically incorporates everything, that makes it a meaningless definition (likewise if it incorporates nothing it is worthless). Definitions (at least for nouns) are meant to differentiate things.

My poor brain LOLOLOOL
One avocado a day keeps the doctor away : )
Sosoconfused
Posts: 237
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2/24/2015 4:30:04 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 2/18/2015 12:12:27 PM, ford_prefect wrote:
One of my favorite topics is how to define what sports are. Recently there's been some opinion pieces on whether or not ballet is a sport. I've been thinking about the definition of sports for a long time, and I think I've come up with a good definition or categorization system. I'd like to hear thoughts on it.

First, to be a sport, an activity must produce winners and losers. This criterion disqualifies activities like dancing, unless they are part of a judged competition.

Next, to be a sport, an activity must be physical in nature. In other words, the best practitioners of this sport must possess bodies that are physically more capable than the average person who is not an athlete. This is somewhat vague, and allows for plenty of discretion in what is considered physically fit. Some examples: Video games and chess are not sports because the top video game and chess players aren't actually stronger, faster, or tougher than an average guy. However, baseball is a sport because the top sluggers are much stronger than the average non-athlete, and frisbee is a sport because the top frisbee players are way faster than your average non-athlete.

Finally, a sport must allow the sides competing against each other to do something in order to impede the other's success. This disqualifies activities like golf and bowling, because those are activities where you just take turns. A golfer cannot play defense and make his opponent's shots harder to hit. Same with a bowler, all he can do is bowl his best and hope the opponent doesn't beat him. Similarly, a sprinter or a swimmer cannot block his opponent in a race, they must stay in their lanes. So they are not sports. They are still athletes, but their events are races, or competitions, not sports.

So baseball, basketball, football, frisbee, tennis, soccer, boxing, etc. are sports.

Swimming, track, cross country, etc are races, but not sports.
Gymnastics, figure skating, competitive dancing, etc. are competitions but not sports.
Video games, bowling, golf, etc. are games but not sports.

What do you guys think?

I don't know if I like that definition....It creates too many contradictions. I'm a mountain biker so I'll use that as an example. The "Mega Avalanche enduro" race would be considered a sport under your definition. A winner and looser(s) are chosen, it's definitely physical, you can impede you're opponents progress (the avalanche race is unique in that waves of 50+ riders are all released at the top of the hill for an all out sprint down the mountain; riders can and do impede each others progress by strategically blocking the passing opportunities etc....) That makes this particular race a sport, however, the second the race is organized into individual runs, it is no longer a sport. In regular enduro races, riders are released individually and given a few seconds between each other, preventing directly impact on the follow up rider (if you want to win). This means that the race format makes it a sport, not the activity. This seems like a poor way of defining "sport" as it relies on the rules of competition rather than the activity for a definition.

I'm sure this is the same with other "sports" as well. And what constitutes impeding the other "team's" progress mean? Does putting a lot of mental pressure on the other team count? Can a stellar performance and good scores impact the performance of the opposing team? then wouldn't all judged "competitions" also be sports? Or must it be a physical hindrance?

It then means that auto racing is a sport while some forms of running events are races (you can block in car race) some other running races are sports (you can block in marathons and triathalons and xterra races, but not track races....
Bennett91
Posts: 4,237
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2/24/2015 5:26:14 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 2/18/2015 12:12:27 PM, ford_prefect wrote:
One of my favorite topics is how to define what sports are. Recently there's been some opinion pieces on whether or not ballet is a sport. I've been thinking about the definition of sports for a long time, and I think I've come up with a good definition or categorization system. I'd like to hear thoughts on it.

First, to be a sport, an activity must produce winners and losers. This criterion disqualifies activities like dancing, unless they are part of a judged competition.

Next, to be a sport, an activity must be physical in nature. In other words, the best practitioners of this sport must possess bodies that are physically more capable than the average person who is not an athlete. This is somewhat vague, and allows for plenty of discretion in what is considered physically fit. Some examples: Video games and chess are not sports because the top video game and chess players aren't actually stronger, faster, or tougher than an average guy. However, baseball is a sport because the top sluggers are much stronger than the average non-athlete, and frisbee is a sport because the top frisbee players are way faster than your average non-athlete.

Finally, a sport must allow the sides competing against each other to do something in order to impede the other's success. This disqualifies activities like golf and bowling, because those are activities where you just take turns. A golfer cannot play defense and make his opponent's shots harder to hit. Same with a bowler, all he can do is bowl his best and hope the opponent doesn't beat him. Similarly, a sprinter or a swimmer cannot block his opponent in a race, they must stay in their lanes. So they are not sports. They are still athletes, but their events are races, or competitions, not sports.

So baseball, basketball, football, frisbee, tennis, soccer, boxing, etc. are sports.

Swimming, track, cross country, etc are races, but not sports.
Gymnastics, figure skating, competitive dancing, etc. are competitions but not sports.
Video games, bowling, golf, etc. are games but not sports.

What do you guys think?

Esports (video games) qualify under your definition. They impede each other by killing each other, they are better than average players with more honed reaction times and wrist dexterity and minds geared towards the minutia of the game; also muscle memory. They are physically different than non-video game players or non-pros.
ford_prefect
Posts: 4,143
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2/24/2015 2:40:07 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 2/24/2015 4:30:04 AM, Sosoconfused wrote:
At 2/18/2015 12:12:27 PM, ford_prefect wrote:
One of my favorite topics is how to define what sports are. Recently there's been some opinion pieces on whether or not ballet is a sport. I've been thinking about the definition of sports for a long time, and I think I've come up with a good definition or categorization system. I'd like to hear thoughts on it.

First, to be a sport, an activity must produce winners and losers. This criterion disqualifies activities like dancing, unless they are part of a judged competition.

Next, to be a sport, an activity must be physical in nature. In other words, the best practitioners of this sport must possess bodies that are physically more capable than the average person who is not an athlete. This is somewhat vague, and allows for plenty of discretion in what is considered physically fit. Some examples: Video games and chess are not sports because the top video game and chess players aren't actually stronger, faster, or tougher than an average guy. However, baseball is a sport because the top sluggers are much stronger than the average non-athlete, and frisbee is a sport because the top frisbee players are way faster than your average non-athlete.

Finally, a sport must allow the sides competing against each other to do something in order to impede the other's success. This disqualifies activities like golf and bowling, because those are activities where you just take turns. A golfer cannot play defense and make his opponent's shots harder to hit. Same with a bowler, all he can do is bowl his best and hope the opponent doesn't beat him. Similarly, a sprinter or a swimmer cannot block his opponent in a race, they must stay in their lanes. So they are not sports. They are still athletes, but their events are races, or competitions, not sports.

So baseball, basketball, football, frisbee, tennis, soccer, boxing, etc. are sports.

Swimming, track, cross country, etc are races, but not sports.
Gymnastics, figure skating, competitive dancing, etc. are competitions but not sports.
Video games, bowling, golf, etc. are games but not sports.

What do you guys think?

I don't know if I like that definition....It creates too many contradictions. I'm a mountain biker so I'll use that as an example. The "Mega Avalanche enduro" race would be considered a sport under your definition. A winner and looser(s) are chosen, it's definitely physical, you can impede you're opponents progress (the avalanche race is unique in that waves of 50+ riders are all released at the top of the hill for an all out sprint down the mountain; riders can and do impede each others progress by strategically blocking the passing opportunities etc....) That makes this particular race a sport, however, the second the race is organized into individual runs, it is no longer a sport. In regular enduro races, riders are released individually and given a few seconds between each other, preventing directly impact on the follow up rider (if you want to win). This means that the race format makes it a sport, not the activity. This seems like a poor way of defining "sport" as it relies on the rules of competition rather than the activity for a definition.

I don't see the problem with calling races where you can block the opponent a sport but not races where you are just competing with your own best time. Blocking the opponent is what creates the antagonism necessary to call it a sport.
For example, take basketball and the slam dunk competition. Both involve dunking the basketball, but one is a sport because your opponent can defend you and attempt to block your shot, while the other is a competition because you have to be athletic enough to dunk the ball, but your opponent can do nothing to stop you. So yes, the rules of the competition do help determine whether something is a sport or not.

I'm sure this is the same with other "sports" as well. And what constitutes impeding the other "team's" progress mean? Does putting a lot of mental pressure on the other team count? Can a stellar performance and good scores impact the performance of the opposing team? then wouldn't all judged "competitions" also be sports? Or must it be a physical hindrance?

No, mental pressure doesn't count because that isn't physical in nature. A stellar performance and good scores shouldn't impact the performance of the opposing team, and if they do, the Olympics need to change the way their events are done so that competitors don't get unfair advantages from going last.

It then means that auto racing is a sport while some forms of running events are races (you can block in car race) some other running races are sports (you can block in marathons and triathalons and xterra races, but not track races....

Auto racing is not a sport because you don't have to be in abnormally good shape to drive a car.
ford_prefect
Posts: 4,143
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2/24/2015 2:44:28 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 2/24/2015 5:26:14 AM, Bennett91 wrote:
At 2/18/2015 12:12:27 PM, ford_prefect wrote:
One of my favorite topics is how to define what sports are. Recently there's been some opinion pieces on whether or not ballet is a sport. I've been thinking about the definition of sports for a long time, and I think I've come up with a good definition or categorization system. I'd like to hear thoughts on it.

First, to be a sport, an activity must produce winners and losers. This criterion disqualifies activities like dancing, unless they are part of a judged competition.

Next, to be a sport, an activity must be physical in nature. In other words, the best practitioners of this sport must possess bodies that are physically more capable than the average person who is not an athlete. This is somewhat vague, and allows for plenty of discretion in what is considered physically fit. Some examples: Video games and chess are not sports because the top video game and chess players aren't actually stronger, faster, or tougher than an average guy. However, baseball is a sport because the top sluggers are much stronger than the average non-athlete, and frisbee is a sport because the top frisbee players are way faster than your average non-athlete.

Finally, a sport must allow the sides competing against each other to do something in order to impede the other's success. This disqualifies activities like golf and bowling, because those are activities where you just take turns. A golfer cannot play defense and make his opponent's shots harder to hit. Same with a bowler, all he can do is bowl his best and hope the opponent doesn't beat him. Similarly, a sprinter or a swimmer cannot block his opponent in a race, they must stay in their lanes. So they are not sports. They are still athletes, but their events are races, or competitions, not sports.

So baseball, basketball, football, frisbee, tennis, soccer, boxing, etc. are sports.

Swimming, track, cross country, etc are races, but not sports.
Gymnastics, figure skating, competitive dancing, etc. are competitions but not sports.
Video games, bowling, golf, etc. are games but not sports.

What do you guys think?

Esports (video games) qualify under your definition. They impede each other by killing each other, they are better than average players with more honed reaction times and wrist dexterity and minds geared towards the minutia of the game; also muscle memory. They are physically different than non-video game players or non-pros.

I have a friend who argues this same point. I can kind of see where you are coming from, but I honestly have no way of evaluating whether the top Esports players' hands are significantly different from the average person. Muscle memory and reaction time don't count, since those things are mental. But wrist dexterity and finger strength, maybe. For now, I lean on the not a sport side because I don't think an Esports player would have significantly stronger or faster hands than an average person, simply because the muscles in that area don't really have a lot of room for growth. But I admit I could be wrong.
Bennett91
Posts: 4,237
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2/24/2015 5:58:01 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 2/24/2015 2:44:28 PM, ford_prefect wrote:

I have a friend who argues this same point. I can kind of see where you are coming from, but I honestly have no way of evaluating whether the top Esports players' hands are significantly different from the average person. Muscle memory and reaction time don't count, since those things are mental. But wrist dexterity and finger strength, maybe. For now, I lean on the not a sport side because I don't think an Esports player would have significantly stronger or faster hands than an average person, simply because the muscles in that area don't really have a lot of room for growth. But I admit I could be wrong.

But having faster hands/reaction times is what sets the pros from the noobs. And is not the mental aspect part of sports? Why must it be defined as purely physical?
Sosoconfused
Posts: 237
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2/25/2015 12:56:43 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 2/24/2015 2:40:07 PM, ford_prefect wrote:
At 2/24/2015 4:30:04 AM, Sosoconfused wrote:
At 2/18/2015 12:12:27 PM, ford_prefect wrote:
One of my favorite topics is how to define what sports are. Recently there's been some opinion pieces on whether or not ballet is a sport. I've been thinking about the definition of sports for a long time, and I think I've come up with a good definition or categorization system. I'd like to hear thoughts on it.

First, to be a sport, an activity must produce winners and losers. This criterion disqualifies activities like dancing, unless they are part of a judged competition.

Next, to be a sport, an activity must be physical in nature. In other words, the best practitioners of this sport must possess bodies that are physically more capable than the average person who is not an athlete. This is somewhat vague, and allows for plenty of discretion in what is considered physically fit. Some examples: Video games and chess are not sports because the top video game and chess players aren't actually stronger, faster, or tougher than an average guy. However, baseball is a sport because the top sluggers are much stronger than the average non-athlete, and frisbee is a sport because the top frisbee players are way faster than your average non-athlete.

Finally, a sport must allow the sides competing against each other to do something in order to impede the other's success. This disqualifies activities like golf and bowling, because those are activities where you just take turns. A golfer cannot play defense and make his opponent's shots harder to hit. Same with a bowler, all he can do is bowl his best and hope the opponent doesn't beat him. Similarly, a sprinter or a swimmer cannot block his opponent in a race, they must stay in their lanes. So they are not sports. They are still athletes, but their events are races, or competitions, not sports.

So baseball, basketball, football, frisbee, tennis, soccer, boxing, etc. are sports.

Swimming, track, cross country, etc are races, but not sports.
Gymnastics, figure skating, competitive dancing, etc. are competitions but not sports.
Video games, bowling, golf, etc. are games but not sports.

What do you guys think?

I don't know if I like that definition....It creates too many contradictions. I'm a mountain biker so I'll use that as an example. The "Mega Avalanche enduro" race would be considered a sport under your definition. A winner and looser(s) are chosen, it's definitely physical, you can impede you're opponents progress (the avalanche race is unique in that waves of 50+ riders are all released at the top of the hill for an all out sprint down the mountain; riders can and do impede each others progress by strategically blocking the passing opportunities etc....) That makes this particular race a sport, however, the second the race is organized into individual runs, it is no longer a sport. In regular enduro races, riders are released individually and given a few seconds between each other, preventing directly impact on the follow up rider (if you want to win). This means that the race format makes it a sport, not the activity. This seems like a poor way of defining "sport" as it relies on the rules of competition rather than the activity for a definition.

I don't see the problem with calling races where you can block the opponent a sport but not races where you are just competing with your own best time. Blocking the opponent is what creates the antagonism necessary to call it a sport.
For example, take basketball and the slam dunk competition. Both involve dunking the basketball, but one is a sport because your opponent can defend you and attempt to block your shot, while the other is a competition because you have to be athletic enough to dunk the ball, but your opponent can do nothing to stop you. So yes, the rules of the competition do help determine whether something is a sport or not.

I'm sure this is the same with other "sports" as well. And what constitutes impeding the other "team's" progress mean? Does putting a lot of mental pressure on the other team count? Can a stellar performance and good scores impact the performance of the opposing team? then wouldn't all judged "competitions" also be sports? Or must it be a physical hindrance?

No, mental pressure doesn't count because that isn't physical in nature. A stellar performance and good scores shouldn't impact the performance of the opposing team, and if they do, the Olympics need to change the way their events are done so that competitors don't get unfair advantages from going last.

It then means that auto racing is a sport while some forms of running events are races (you can block in car race) some other running races are sports (you can block in marathons and triathalons and xterra races, but not track races....

Auto racing is not a sport because you don't have to be in abnormally good shape to drive a car.

Auto racing requires extreme stamina, especially when you consider the 24 hour races. It would be hard to argue that physical stamina and athletic ability doesn't play a factor in such long races. So we are once again reduced to the format of the competition to establish whether or not something is a sport.

It seems strange that an activity would be a sport one minute and a race the next simply based on the format of the competition. Wouldn't it be easier to define a sport as any activity involving athletic skill and competition? That way you wouldn't run into the problem of having one and the same activity be classified as a sport and as a non-sport simply based on the format of the competition.
tejretics
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4/30/2015 5:15:28 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 2/18/2015 12:12:27 PM, ford_prefect wrote:
One of my favorite topics is how to define what sports are. Recently there's been some opinion pieces on whether or not ballet is a sport. I've been thinking about the definition of sports for a long time, and I think I've come up with a good definition or categorization system. I'd like to hear thoughts on it.

First, to be a sport, an activity must produce winners and losers. This criterion disqualifies activities like dancing, unless they are part of a judged competition.

Next, to be a sport, an activity must be physical in nature. In other words, the best practitioners of this sport must possess bodies that are physically more capable than the average person who is not an athlete. This is somewhat vague, and allows for plenty of discretion in what is considered physically fit. Some examples: Video games and chess are not sports because the top video game and chess players aren't actually stronger, faster, or tougher than an average guy. However, baseball is a sport because the top sluggers are much stronger than the average non-athlete, and frisbee is a sport because the top frisbee players are way faster than your average non-athlete.

Finally, a sport must allow the sides competing against each other to do something in order to impede the other's success. This disqualifies activities like golf and bowling, because those are activities where you just take turns. A golfer cannot play defense and make his opponent's shots harder to hit. Same with a bowler, all he can do is bowl his best and hope the opponent doesn't beat him. Similarly, a sprinter or a swimmer cannot block his opponent in a race, they must stay in their lanes. So they are not sports. They are still athletes, but their events are races, or competitions, not sports.

So baseball, basketball, football, frisbee, tennis, soccer, boxing, etc. are sports.

Swimming, track, cross country, etc are races, but not sports.
Gymnastics, figure skating, competitive dancing, etc. are competitions but not sports.
Video games, bowling, golf, etc. are games but not sports.

What do you guys think?

Wow, thanks ... the moment I came to the sports forum, I thought of asking what IS a "sport".
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