What is sport?
This is a question that not many people think about. Sport really just is. Give people an activity and they will be able to group it as sport or a non-sport. But what really is a sport, what are the fundamentals of sport, and what does it include and not include? While people can somewhat easily engage in the separation of sport and non-sport, the definition of sport is a very elusive thing to arrive at. By exposing people to conflicting ideas on sport, it reviles some very important points about sport. The conflicting idea that I purpose is the idea that sport includes the game of chess. This has been a very divisive idea of what sport includes (several members of the class of www.women are very upset at even the mention of chess as sport) but chess, it seems, is sport.
So what does sport mean. Sport seems to involve several things. When a person says that they are doing sport, it tends to imply that they have done an intense physical activity. Sport involves some type of moving the body through the environment and burning calories doing so. Sport brings up the picture of sweat and physical exhaustion. Sport exercises the body during the physical activity, improving the body part that is used in sport. The definition of Sport than would seem to need to include the idea that a physical activity is occurring.
Sport also involves some type of competition. Sport deals with the struggle between individuals or teams. Sport has conflict in it that usually tends to end with winner(s) and loser(s). Sport is defined by conflict and by fostering competitive nature in individuals that results in the division of winner and loser after the game is played. Game is also a central idea to sport. While not all sports can be considered to be game (and not all games can be considered to be sport), game revels much about sport.
Sport is bound by certain rules and regulations, such that there are activities that are encouraged and there are activities that are penalized if done during the activity. These rules are previously agreed to and usually have not been altered extensively in several years. Sport, as in games, also discourages cheating (viewing such behavior as cheating to run completely contrary to the reason for play the activity).
Sport also runs under a system of comparable measures. Sport is about being able to correctly show the victor of the event and the loser of the event. These categories achieved at the end of a sport activity (winner or loser) are determined by comparing one person or team to another person or team. This comparison follows the rules of the sport and through these rules, the victor is decided. Sport also has the idea built into it of improvement. Sport done correctly, even if it results in a loss of a particular activity, improves a person’s ability to play and/or understand the activity. Sport betters a person to play future activities that are related to the activity that they do. Without improvement, sport seems to losses a lot of its credibility because improvement of the individuals to do things better, faster, and stronger is what sport fosters in the individuals.
So looking at chess as an example and we find that it meets all the criteria (in one way or another) that defines sport. While chess may not fulfill the requirement of intense physical activity to many people, this is an extreme bias on their part. Physical activity involves burning calories by exercising a part of the body (see above), why should we not consider the brain to be such an part of the body. The brain burns quite a bit of calories by being involved in a mental exercise (and chess is an intense mental exercise). Because of this, the definition of physical activity should include any and all things that improve and exercises not only the body but also the brain. From all of this, we should gather that chess should not really be denied the definition of sport based on the criteria of physical activity, because there is not only some physical movement (moving the chess pieces) but there is exercise of a part of the body. As to the other things that are part of the idea of sport (competition, winning, losing, score, and improvement). Chess then is sport.
What this little article is trying to address is the idea that many people have large biases on this subject. What we do not tend to realize is that sport is a very subjective thing. In the definition of sport follows the classic statement on pornography that while it is extremely difficult to define “I know it when I see it.” You know sport when you see it. Because sport is such a subjective definition, even though you might not necessarily like the idea the “x” activity is a sport, you should not deny others that such an activity is a sport. If the activity is enjoyed and improves certain parts of people, than even if it repulsive to call it a sport to you, call it a sport because you can recognize the good that it does to society. Give some people a boost in esteem to be playing a “sport” instead of ridiculing them. While sport is a very subjective definition, recognize this concept and do not try to deny others the little amount of esteem it brings them to call their activity a sport.