Wednesday, September 08, 2004

To sport or not to sport

aye, there's the rub

Erica and I have been going back and forth about the Olympics and what counts as a sport. Her suggestion is for a more objective scoring method for figure skating. My argument is that it doesn't matter: I like figure skating as it is, but it's not a sport.

> [...] Is windsurfing a

> sport just because you can measure who crosses the finish line first?
> I will acknowledge that there is a degree of finesse involved because
> you need to read the wind, but are they the same kind of athlete? I
> couldn't do what any beginning gymnast or figure skater does, and I am
> in awe of the top athletes, Paul Hamm, et al.

Exactly. Because you can measure who crosses the line first. I'm not sure if I like racing as a sport, either. To me, that straddles the line but is easily closer to sport than figure skating.

I'm thinking by writing here, so forgive me if this isn't fully clear. My definition of sport: Sport is a direct physical competition between people that gives the competitors an opportunity to demonstrate good sportsmanship. And by good sportsmanship, I mean primarily fair play.

  • Direct physical: take soccer as an example. As a team sport, there is an important mental aspect needed to win a soccer match, but if you can't stay active on the field for an hour, you aren't going to make it to the Olympics. While there is the intermediary of the ball, the physical actions you take directly and clearly affect the actions your opponents then choose (this has to happen if you want to play
    competitively, anyway).
  • Between people: the measurable part of the struggle is between you (or you as part of a team) and another person or other people.
  • Sportsmanship and fair play: Try hard to win, and always follow the rules; compete on equal terms. So there needs to be clear rules for you to follow, and clear, objective terms for the winning conditions. The measurement of whether the winner won a match should only be important because it is compared, on the same terms, to the measurement for other competitors in that match.

No comments: