What is considered a sport?

by Alex Vela | Business Manager
Published: Last Updated on

A sport is “an athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess,” according to Dictionary.com. Some prominent examples of these sports include racing, baseball, tennis, basketball, golf, bowling, wrestling, etc. 

As a student-athlete at the University of Indianapolis, I play baseball, a game with many rules, positions and qualifications that make it a sport. There are two teams facing off against one another, with skillful competitors on both sides of the ball. 

When I was younger, my little cousin was participating in extracurricular activities such as cheerleading and gymnastics. At that age, I did not consider these things sports because it was not what I pictured a sport to be, and they were not like the sports I competed in. My immature self believed that a sport needed a ball and some type of goal. 

After going to one of those gymnastic events, I soon realized how much of a sport it was. Admittedly, it was the first time I had ever watched a gymnastics meet in its entirety. However, after watching my cousin and her team flying around and competing, I promised myself that I would never discredit any other activities. 

That day I realized something: while the sports I have played in my life, such as basketball, football and baseball are much different than other various activities, it does not mean those activities are not sports. 

I believe that there is a common misconception that in order for an activity to be considered a sport there has to be the use of equipment, such as balls and helmets. This is flat out not true, and just because some activities require you to wear certain equipment or get a ball or puck in a net, that does not mean that they are any more of a sport than activities such as chess or poker.

As for whether poker is a sport or a game, poker is a sport because it is played for entertainment, is competitive and almost always requires both physical and mental prowess in order to consistently play and win at the highest levels, according to automaticpoker.com. Online multi-tabling players are required to have acute hand-eye coordination, and both live and online players need physical endurance to play long sessions. 

Another good example similar to poker in which certain sports that do not necessarily require athletic ability, but instead a more knowledgeable ability is Jeopardy. According to jeopardy.com, “Sports serve society by providing vivid examples of excellence.” Some may think of phenomenal physical attributes when the word ‘sport’ is brought up, but some other examples include the dominating performances in activities that display brain strength and comprehension. In some ways, these sorts of activities have the same qualities as professional sports. 

A better definition of a sport is an activity that involves competitive individuals meant for others entertainment. And within that definition, other key components of a sport would be that there is some form of points or way of determining a winner and loser. 

All too often people belittle other sports and competitors because they may think that the sport that they participate in is more difficult or better than that of another. This is unacceptable because everybody has their own abilities and talents whether they are physical or not. There are many debates about what the most difficult sport in the world is. There are now discussions about what determines a sport. There needs to be an appreciation for every single sport, competitor and game that we are all so lucky to watch. 

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