Real sports have specific characteristics

I have often asked myself, “Exactly what is a sport and what is not a sport?”

The definitions in the dictionary are nebulous at best, so I came up with my own definition. A sport must involve competition. There must be a winner and a loser. It has to be a physically demanding activity. A human being must be involved. Score must be kept and there must be standings and records.

My definition is bound to anger many, but it is a new year. Get ready for the letters to the editor, Maureen and Jeff. I am about to anger more than the Society for the Protection of Fairy Shrimp.

Chess, Jeopardy, checkers fantasy football are not sports. They are activities or contests. Chess is difficult. I am 0-1,217 lifetime in chess, but it is not a sport in my opinion. Ditto bridge, poker, Monopoly and Uno. I know that ESPN covers some of the previously mentioned, but there are only so many tractor pulls and strong men contests in a year.

Dog racing and what Michael Vick got convicted for are not sports. Horse racing is because a jockey is involved.  The sport of kings and Bob Verhoest is a sport. Jockeys are athletes.

Some activities can be sports and recreational activities. Just riding a bike is not a sport. It is great exercise, but, unless there is a race involved, it is just recreation.

Running is not a sport unless it is in a race. A five-mile run is difficult. A 10K race is a sport. The same goes for swimming, weight lifting and golf. Golf is a sport when competition is involved. I have been told that when I am in a golf tournament that it ceases to be a sport.

Bullfighting is a sport. The bull and the matador can both lose. It is not exactly fair or politically correct, but a human is involved.

Jeff Foxworthy and Larry the Cable Guy fans will not like this, but hunting is not a sport. The deer, rabbit or bird can’t win. Sometimes bears and lions and tigers get a meal, but I don’t count that as winning.

My son-in-law Bryan recently asked me if I wanted to go sports fishing while we were in Hawaii. Since I am always looking for a way to write off my Hawaiian excursions and since I love the ocean and boat trips on the ocean, I agreed thinking that he would pick up the tab. I was wrong and sport fishing is misnamed.

My daughter Gina’s boss, Scott, and his son Austin also went with Bryan and me. The expedition was actually Scott’s idea, but the intent of this column is not to place blame.

We arrived at the dock in Lahaina with a cooler full of beverages and snacks. You can’t play a sport and drink libations at the same time (now I am going to hear from the slo-pitch players). After we paid our non-refundable, no guarantee of fish, and if you do catch a fish you have to pay us by the pound if you want to eat it contract, our first mate gave us a 15-minute speech after he set up six outriggers with bigger fishing poles than I have ever used in my life. I got excited. I was thinking ,”Man, those are big poles. We are going to catch some really big fish.” I was right about the poles.



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