T Nation

Not A Sport


Ok, I really felt the need to post this and get everybody's opinions. We've all seen 'em on television before, things denoted as sports that aren't really sports at all. What do you guys consider not a sport that is portrayed as one? I'll start it off with golf and bowling.


Curling, poker, darts, spelling bees on ESPN.


In my opinion golf, bowling and curling are sports because they involve physical conditioning, body mechanics, and other aspects of sports.

Darts and pool/billiards are not sports. Neither is Pro Wrestling. They are actors, not athletes. Actors with awesome abilities and physiques, but actors none the less.

Poker is AWESOME! Best game on the planet, but still a game not a sport.

That being said, ESPN should run the World Series of Poker until they stop playing the WSOP.


I think a lot of those could be called sports, but you definitely wouldn't call their practitioners athletes.


Anything I can do while drinking a beer is not a sport- bowling, poker, pool, etc.


Reason I say golf and bowling aren't is because there isn't really a need for extreme conditioning, strength, speed, or ahything that a real athelte really needs. They don't move more than a foot, what the hell constitutes that as a sport?


Only way to really solve this issue is to come up with a definition of what you feel a sport is. Then you can come up with a definition of an athlete, and once you have those things figured out then apply that test to a variety of activities.

For starters you might try this definition or you can come up with your own.

A sport is an activity in which one competitor or team competes against another in physical activities under standard rules and regulations that test the physical abilities of the competitors/teams involved.

For further clarification a physical activity is one that involves the use of large muscle groups in the body.

That definition clears most things up (not saying it couldn't be better), however there are still some gray areas like darts or NASCAR (although personally I would say they both are using that definition). However Golf and Bowling would be a sport under that definition, and chess and poker would not be.

Anyway, just food for thought. It is educational trying to come up with definitions for stuff and seeing how they play out.


Opinions may vary - but I think a sport is anything that generally involves a physical movement to accomplish some feat that can be obectively measured. I put golf and bowling as sports for that very reason - extreme strength/conditioning, whatever that means, ignores many other aspects of sports, like skill and technique.

As long as some physical component remains in the contest and someone can objectively beat someone else at it - I threw it farther than you, I got it in the hole in fewer strokes - then it is most likely a sport to me. Take away the physical component - as in chess and poker - and it isn't a sport to me.

For me, the gray area is in sports that have subjective measurements - 'style' points to determine who wins and who loses - but as long as those subjective measurements can be a function of degree of physical difficulty, then I think of them as sports.

For example, freestyle skiing feels like a sport to me - beauty pageants do not.


Tim, why wouldn't golf be a sport by your standards?


That would ruin the fun.


...football, soccer, hockey, basketball, novelty-oversize-glove boxing...


See my above post, Golf (and bowling) would be sports definitely because they involve high levels of skill using large muscle groups. Darts is debateable but I still think it fits, something like a typing competition, for example, I would not consider a sport. Again it all depends on your operational definition of a sport, I am not saying that my definition is the best one.


How can you said Pro-wrestlers aren't athletes, they are physically conditioned far more than curlers, or golfer. Just because a match is predetermined has nothing to do with wrestling as a sport. Figure skating routines are predetermined but you need incredible athleticism to make the routine happen and make it look good. Pro-wrestler are more than just actors as well, when it comes to matches they are the directors, choreographers, stuntmen and athletes.


From Wikipedia, FWIW:

Sport is an activity that is governed by a set of rules or customs and often engaged in competitively. Used by itself, sports commonly refer to activities where the physical capabilities of the competitor are the sole or primary determiner of the outcome (winning or losing), but the term is also used to include activities such as mind sports and motor sports where mental acuity or equipment quality are major factors. All sports have a winning player or team and a losing player or team. If there is no loser or winner its not a sport.

I particularly like the last line...



No one said that wrestlers weren't ahtletes or athletic. But professional wrestling is not a sport. Just ask Mr. McMahon. It is little more than a full contact soap opera.


The only reason McMahon renamed it Sports-Entertainment was to stop wrestling from having to work under the same rules as sports like boxing and so on. Pro wrestling is not an objective sport I agree, but it is a subjective sport similar to something like Bodybuilding, figure skating and other sports along those lines.


When the outcome is determined BEFORE the contest even starts - it is not a sport.


Swimming = not a sport

Swimming is something you do to keep from drowning.

Have fun with that one...


THIS, is NOT a sport.
What a goofball.

I agree that anything you can drink beer while doing is not a sport. Exept for golf.


the loosest definition of the word would be any organized activity that is a distraction/diversion from work. you can say that golf or bowling or darts aren't very physical activities. but you cannot be correct if you say they are not sports. clearly they are, have been considered as such for hundreds of years, and are still considered so today as is evidenced by their coverage in all forms of international sports media... not to mention that you can walk into any dick's sporting goods, champs sports, or sport's authority and purchase darts, golf clubs and bowling balls.