T Nation

What Makes a Sport?


Keep hearing that this and that aren't sport. So I was wondering what you all thing makes a sport a sport!


IMO, you need an offense and a defense (at least).

Bowling, Golf, etc are not sports, but activities. Granted golf is hard as fuck, but just because something is tough does not = sport.

carry on


Screaming distracting fans!


Bowling is a sport. Billiards is a sport . Golf is a sport. Even Bridge is a sport. Shit Golf was probably the first sport ever...actually Golf was probably the third sport ever behind Hunting for fun and then Fishing for fun.

Anyway if they've covered it on ESPN and you can buy stuff for it @ Dick's Sporting Goods and the I.O.C. recognizes it as a sport, then it's a sport.


lol just because your not actively defeating an opponent doesn't mean you don't have one. Anyway, I say rules, and goals things of that sort. Trying to finish first, and I don't think judges have anything to do with it except determine if something is legal i.e. football, or judge if something was in or out of bounds.

Drifting for example, is the furthest thing from a sport.


Poker is not a sport. Go from there.


Poker is a sport. Chess is a sport. Rock, Paper, Scissors is a sport. Bass Fishing is a sport. The Spelling Bee is a sport.

But, just because you participate in a sport, that doesn't make you an athlete. There are non-athletic sports.


First three:
1. Physical activity that is governed by a set of rules or customs and often engaged in competitively.
2. A particular form of this activity.; An activity involving physical exertion and skill that is governed by a set of rules or customs and often undertaken competitively.
3. An active pastime; recreation.

Poker, spelling bees, chess, etc aren't sports according to the first definition unless you consider walking to the table or mic "physical activity".
I guess the third definition could take on the form of "non-athletic" sports though.



Disagree. I measure sports as requiring athleticism(or at the least a unique physical competence/specific skill set), defined rules(as opposed to guidelines) and structured competition(as opposed to general competitive play). The latter two may exist in professional poker/chess/rps...etc. but lacking the former disqualifies them from being sports. Call them events, games, activities, competitions, tournaments, matches, or whatever you want. But you can't call it a sport if there is no athletic component. I would also argue that Poker's stronger random element further disqualifies it from being a sport.


I disagree, I see sports as something with a profound physical aspect. I'm not taking away the difficulty and cunning "strategery" - GW Bush of chess, I see it as a game... Not a sport.

Poker, is NOT a sport, it's a card game.


I agree with the last two posts. I think that for something to classify as a sport it requires both skill AND athleticism.

In my view, golf, poker, bowling and snooker are games. I mean, playing golf requires awesome fine motor skills and hand-eye co-ordination, but so does playing the piano. You gonna call piano a sport?
That's not to take anything away from the people who DO play golf, snooker etc. To play any of those games professionaly requires the same level of skill and dedication that it takes to be a professional athlete. They're just different skillsets.


Two controversial definitions of sport:

1 - If it ain't got a ball, it ain't a sport. (thus excluding athletics, boxing, etc)

2 - A sport has to have the opportunity to show off in a needless way i.e. beyond that of just being very talented; for instance, a reverse dunk on an unguarded basket; countless stepovers in soccer e.g. Ronaldo; through the leg passes in rugby (a la Carlos Spencer) and so on.


It's a sport as long as there is a losing side.


so are wars and elections sports?






You cannot discuss "What is a Sport" without George Carlin:

Sports (includes "What is a Sport?"):

Baseball v. Football:


Monster Truck rallies and NASCAR! Yeehaw!


I still see bowling and golf as sports, though incredibly boring ones. The fact that there is a physical aspect to it and a point system deciding who is winner and loser makes it a sport IMO.


Well the word agony comes from the greek word "agora" meaning sport. So I'd say a sport is something you have to put a good deal of suffering and hard work in to beat your opponent. Things like wrestling, boxing, American football, Rugby, track and field etc... are sports. Poker, golf, frolf; these are not sports.