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Out of Bounds: What's a sport?
by Rachel Richmond, Opinion editor

Fencing. Field hockey. Figure skating. Fishing and flying. These are all sports.

No wonder some people ask, what is a sport?

The obvious thing common to all sports is competition, usually head-to-head. However, competition would include checkers, chess, dominos, tiddly-winks, and poker. Few think of these as sports or their players as athletes.

So, competition would not have to be head-to-head. Golf, for example, is a sport but opponents are not competing head-to-head, but are competing with the course.

Baseball, basketball, football, hockey, and soccer are all considered sports by most people without hesitation. All of them have a competitive nature, require training and include the use of a ball.

But if a sport requires use of a ball, that leaves out boxing and wrestling which are also considered sports by most people.

So what is a sport? Can we define it as including competitiveness, training, physical activity, and the involvement of more than one person?

But this definition leaves out horse racing, rodeo, cheerleading, and auto racing. These activities all have people involved in competition and require many hours of training, but they are often not thought of as sports.

The Random House Webster’s College Dictionary defines a sport as “an athletic activity requiring skills or physical prowess and often of a competitive nature.” Our definition of a sport has many of the same elements.

The Sports Information Resource Center (SIRC) lists all the activities that are recognized as sports. But who’s to say that things like PC gaming will not be considered sports in the near future?
The SIRC’s official list of sports can be found at Check it out. You may be surprised.


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