Friday, May 20, 2011

What is a sport?

It's a simple question. What qualifies as a sport? Does it require a ball or some kind of equipment? If so, then where do you categorize swimming, track, etc? Or how about any sporting event found in the Olympics? That can't be the complete answer, because then where would you put American football or its counterpart, English rugby? Or how about something that can be scored, tallied, judged, and/or timed? That definition seems a little too volatile because then you can add anything from Settlers of Catan to Dodgeball to the saltine cracker challenge. Or maybe you think those are sports?

Continuing my introspection on sports in general, I've come to realize that sports is ever-changing, ever-growing, and never-ending as long as people in the world continue to use one of the greatest gifts from God to all humans -- our imagination. You can't put an exact definition at what qualifies as a sport. To a 10 year old, his favorite sport could be playing freeze tag or kickball in PE. To a teen, his favorite might be a new "extreme sports", and he idolizes the likes of Tony Hawk and Shaun White. To a 20-something, he might be into the "e-sports" and is working his way up the Starcraft 2 ladder. To the mid-life folks, maybe they have a new-found fascination for poker and gambling. And to the retired, their sport is the triple B: bingo, bridge, and babysitting. Perhaps that's what makes the sports world exciting. It can't be contained, and it can't be defined. Perhaps in 50 years, we'll have an ESPN18 channel dedicated to America's newest sports league, the NUFL - National Ultimate Frisbee League. You never know. So if you call yourself a sports fan or fanatic, why not expand your horizons? Sit through a weekend of NBC golf, watch figure-skating, learn the technicalities of bowling, snooker, darts, and watch men throw beer kegs in Strongest Man competitions. You never know. You might even come up with the next new sport.


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