On Sports–or is it?


In a chain of conversation even I am not sure of how it transpired, the dinner conversation tonight focused on a fun game/debate, “Is this a sport”?

The following were “sports” which either became a subject during dinner or which I think are somewhat dubious as a “sport.”  Tell me what you think–I’ve added my own commentary.

  1. Tennis:  As a tennis player in high school, I was sometimes mocked for playing this apparently questionable “sport.”  Yes, baseball, where you at best stand around half the game and at worst sit around for 95% of it (if you’re a DH) is a sport, but tennis, where you have to run around the court chasing balls for potentially five and a half hours, is not a sport.  That makes a lot of sense.  Dumb high school jocks.  Speaking of which:
  2. Baseball:  see above.
  3. Skiing:  You let the law of physics do all the work.  Sure, that’s a sport.  (For all my mockery, I have to concede I get exhausted after skiing.  Of course, if getting exhausted is a measure of a sport, I’d have to categorically include sleeping into sports.  I get exhausted when I oversleep.)
  4. Lacrosse:  For reasons unbeknownst to me, a family member believes this sport–originating from Native Americans–is not a “sport.”
  5. Ball room dancing:  it’s artsy, but it’s also physically demanding (or so I’ve been told).  I think good arguments can be made that it’s a sport.
  6. Figure skating:  essentially, ball room dancing on ice.  I’d call it more of a sport than ball room dancing, but I can’t tell whether it’s because it’s on ice, thus requiring skating, or it’s in the Olympics, which sorta epitomizes sports and athletes.  On the other hand…
  7. Riflery:  if it wasn’t for the Olympics, is there any doubt this is not a sport?
  8. Golf without walking:  or as Robin Williams would call it, “Whack the ball, get in the cart.”  I understand that if you walk, you get tired and you sweat and etc…  A ball, a stick, and a car?  Not as persuasive.
  9. Horse racing:  Unless you either a) include horses in category of “athletes” or b) include whipping as an exercise, I clearly think this flunks the “sports” test.
  10. Gymnastics:  You need muscles.  It’s a sport.
  11. Cheerleading:  this, I can assure you, is most controversial.  There was a huge debate about it in one of my law school classes.  (a bizarre debate to have in law school for sure).  Wikipedia thinks this is a sport.  Moi, not sure.  But if gymnastics is a sport and ball room dancing is possibly a sport, why not cheerleading?
  12. NASCAR, and stock car racing in general:  The only freakin’ reason why this would even be considered a sport is because ESPN and Sports Illustrated pay so much attention to it.  Of course, by that measure, soccer is a minor sport.  Really, isn’t it insane to suggest a guy in a car pushing the gas or the break and turning the wheel constitutes a sport?  How is that any different from what you and me do every day, except, what?, five times faster?  Sure the driver sweats, but it’s not because he’s physically exerting himself.  It’s because he’s so freakin’ hot trapped in a small heat box with no access to air!  Pleeze, if this constitutes a sport, I don’t know what doesn’t.  See:  horse racing; riflery.
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