This was a long-standing, friendly debate I always had with my dad and just the other day at work it came up with a coworker so I figured I needed write it up for the world to see.
- Objective-based vs. subjective-based scoring. Your score is based on completing an action vs. how well you complete the action. And don’t throw refs calling penalties into this as that would remove everything and you’re missing the point.
Not a sport: gymnastics, diving, cooking, etc.
Still a sport: football, golf, racing, etc.
- Reasonable amount of physical exertion. Basically, enough that you sweat, or at least someone new to the game would. Water polo gets a bye on this as rarely when I’ve been swimming, particullarly indoors, do I sweat.
Not a sport: poker, chess, video games, etc.
Still a sport: basketball, weight lifting, hockey, etc.
- Direct interaction between the competing sides. One side must be able to stop the other team from scoring and, likewise, is trying to score against while they both take the field, I know, baseball barely gets a pass on this.
Not a sport: most racing events, golf, discus/javelin throw, etc.
Still a sport: soccer, fensing, tennis, etc.
- There must be an intermediate object that can change posession. This rule definitely threw my dad for a loop for something to be called a sport. He understood what I meant, but never the why. Well, why not? To me, it’s part of the skill of the competition at hand. To me, it goes along with the preceding rule.
Not a sport: bocce, archery, all other forms of racing, etc.
Still a sport: water polo, hackey sack, football, etc.
- Completely sober people should want to watch for more than five minutes. It needs to be watchable to the massses on an ongoing, regular basis. (I figured I needed an ironic rule.)
Not a sport: hackey sack, frisbee golf, fensing, etc.
Still a sport: basketball, baseball, tennis, etc.
Take away: what constitutes a sport?