A Sport or Not a Sport?

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Is it a sport or not? This debate was brought to mind when one of my fellow reporters here at SI Kids, Adam Apsan, interviewed a runner at the New York Marathon. After that interview, I noticed that a post was made to the reporter’s blog that stated “running is not a sport”… Huh?

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There seems to be an ongoing debate – is running a sport? Is NASCAR a sport? Is gymnastics a sport? How about cheerleading? Well, a Federal Court has actually ruled that cheerleading is not a sport! So what really makes a sport anyway? Is it how much physical activity is involved? Do you have to be on a team? Does coverage by a sports network make it a sport? Or does having a championship making it a sport? The questions go on and on….

One might wonder, does NASCAR or poker involve physical activity? Some would say not much, yet others say NASCAR involves a lot of physical activity! Poker and NASCAR have championships and they are both covered by ESPN!

While some people will say a sport has to be an Olympic game to qualify as a sport, there are others that will claim archery, swimming, diving and weight lifting are not sports.

Personally, I think there are several requirements to being a sport:

1. It has to involve some physical activity, more than just placing a card on the table. If placing a card on the table is a sport, why isn’t the great game of chess a sport? You have to move the pieces, and sometimes you have to jump with the knight!

2. There is some sort of championship or competition that can determine who the “best” in that particular sport. Come on, aren’t sports more fun when we can guess about who will be or deserves to be the next champion?

3. You have fun playing the sport! I think this is what really turns something into a sport. You have fun playing; it doesn’t matter if it’s football, golf, bowling, kick ball, or even dancing.

I’ve had many friendly conversations with my family and friends over this topic and everyone seems to have an opinion. The dictionary defines a sport as: “Physical activity for pleasure.” So tell me, what do you think makes a sport?