Dictionary.com defines a sport as “an athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess and often of a competitive nature“.
Maybe its just me, but it seems like any and everything thing under the sun has been deemed a “sport”. If you use the definition given above, then its no wonder why. Hell, HOT DOG EATING is considered a sport to some. Apparently these notorious gluttons are considered athletes and what they do professionally is seen as a skill (although I see it as a glorified deadly sin). But personally, I believe sports are broken down into three categories: TRUE SPORTS and SPORT-ISH.
Breakfast of Champions.
My revamped definition of a sport is “an athletic activity requiring skill, physical prowess, ALWAYS of a competitive nature, and which the winner is determined objectively.“
What do I mean by “the winner is determined objectively”? What I mean is there aren’t any judges determing the outcome. You familiar with the phrase “lets settle it on the field/in the ring/on the court”? Well, having judges in your sport that tell you who the winner is kind of defeats that purpose. (This put boxing in a peculiar situation, but we will sort it out later in this post.) There is no debate on who won a football game, basketball game, tennis game or soccer match. They have a point system, and those points are earned by the athletes themselves, not the committee of judges that are presiding over the match. If football was judged like figure skating (which ISNT a sport for that very reason), you’d have no clue who the winner at the conclusion.
Lets go over a few sports and see if they pass the ManCave test as being an actually sport.0
Skill? Check. Athletic? Competitive? Yep. Is the winner determined objectively? I dont see any judges on the green giving point deduction for lack of ’style points’. You go out there and earn your victory on your merits alone. So, as soft and pansy-like as it may be, golf is stamped as a SPORT.
Seeing how people in the DMV drive on the highway at 65 MPH in perfect conditions, its impossible to see how driving at up to 200 mph is not an incredible feat. This sport requires the driver to be in pretty good shape. You wont see a fat NASCAR driver, and the heat they endure during a ride is unreal. But the fact of the matter is, astronauts deal with similar issues, and lets face it: the car is doing the work. That, and the fact that you can never win one race and still be the “champ” at the end of the year just grind my gears. My analysis? SPORT-ISH
Am I an athlete, or just a glorified bus driver?....
Hmm, hard to argue with a sport that you can get an Olympic Gold Medal for. A sport that requires you to be in immaculate shape, flexible as a yoga instructor on ex, and explosive as a lioness is pretty damn tough. Hell, I know gymnasts, and even dated one who did went to college for it, Ive seen how much of a toll this sport can take on a person. Get this: On an individual level, Its harder than basketball and baseball combined…….and its still SPORT-ISH.
How come? Because gymnasts dont determine the winner of a competition, a panel of judges do. Just like a panel of judges will call the winner of a beauty pageant or a dog show competition. Whatever their judgement is, no matter how many years they’ve judged or competitions they have seen, can be seen as nothing more as their opinion. If you don’t believe me then tell me why the scores are never identical after a performance. When somebody hits a three point shot, theyre not being judged how pretty the shot was, or deducting points for lack of form. If that was the case, Shawn Marion may as well never shoot. If you can leave a sporting event debating who shouldve won based on the score they were given, that aint no sport. Thats a competitive talent show. One judge may see something differently than the other, and in sports, we dont want opinion. We want finality. Bring it On as much as you want, your sport is SPORT-ISH.
Oh, the sweet science. The epitome of one on one competition. Mano y mano. I mean, seriously, every sports fan that travels in THIS mancave better have a favorite boxer. Who doesnt? Ali, Frazier, Dempsey, Sugar Ray Robinson, Marciano, Jack Dempsey, Tyson, Hopkins, Roy Jones, Jr., Mayweather..i can go on. Am i bold enough to say that these incredible athletes were not really participating in a sport??
Well….it’s complicated. Boxing has the same dilemma as gymnastics: judges call the fight at the end of the day. Hardcore boxing fans will argue the outcome of a match five years after its over, and the crazy thing is the fans of the loser usually has a strong argument! Minus a dominating performance from a boxer where the winner can be determined by the casual viewer, boxing seems Verrrrrry Sport-ish.
The only thing is, when you get your ass knocked out, it’s not much debating that. A fight can end with a definitive winner. Keep in mind that the rules of boxing is to outBOX them, that doesnt always mean you have to knock them out. Its just a cherry on top. But the fact that you CAN put a cherry on top, makes boxing……both SPORT and SPORT-ISH.
World-class athletes? check.
World-wide appeal? Check.
Star players with over the top personalities? Check.
Suffered a popularity crisis during the early-mid 2000s, but has now re-booted to become a powerful organization? Check.
History of fixed competition? Check.
The answer to the mystery may shock you..but the real question is whether its sport or sport-ish….
ManCavers, if you think your sport is a sport, let me know what it is in the comments, and ill give it the ManCave test! ALSO, if you can guess the mystery sport, let us know in the comments as well.