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Randomville! => The Locker Room => Topic started by: Jonathan on July 01, 2004, 01:04:02 AM

Title: So what makes a sport?
Post by: Jonathan on July 01, 2004, 01:04:02 AM
I threatened that I was going to start this thread. And so I did.

For me, a sport is a physical activity where the outcome can be directly determined by the participants. I say can, not must, because there are always going to be the need for arbiters, and sometimes they determine the outcome, intentionally or not.

Some examples:

Baseball, soccer, basketball, hockey, football: Sports

Gymnastics, figure skating: Not sports. The outcome is determined by judges, not the athletes.

Boxing: Sport. You always have the ability to win the bout yourself by knocking out your opponent. You need not rely on the judges' decision.

Auto racing: Sport. You get in a 3400 pound car, drive it around for 500 miles, and then tell me it's not a physical activity. Don't give me that "all they do is turn left" crap. It's a sport. And hell, most racers turn left AND right. Even in NASCAR.

Professional wrestling: Not a sport. The outcome is determined by Vince McMahon.

Amateur wrestling: Sport

Swimming and diving: Swimming is a sport, diving is not. This is the hardest one for me, because I like diving, and it just seems like it should be a sport. But the outcome is completely determined by judges, so it doesn't meet the test. I'm comfortable with my definition, and I'm not going to change it just for diving. A physical activity? Certainly. A sport? No.

Golf: Sport. So long as you walk. If you walk a couple of miles during a round, that sounds like a physical activity to me. If you take a cart and drink a six pack of beer, then you're starting to flirt with pasttime territory.
Title: So what makes a sport?
Post by: Butter on July 01, 2004, 08:10:51 AM
I don't like your "judge" limitation, but I don't have anything better right now.  Give me a few hours.
Title: So what makes a sport?
Post by: Boogieman on July 01, 2004, 08:22:23 AM
Well I think you make a good case.  I have heard the "judges" argument before.  I think I'llbuy that.  My mother inlaw ice skates.  Travles all over the place,  I cant wait to have this talk with her..* I shudder at the thought of her in a skating suit*
Title: So what makes a sport?
Post by: Jonathan on July 01, 2004, 09:20:54 AM
Quote from: "Butter"
I don't like your "judge" limitation, but I don't have anything better right now.  Give me a few hours.

Basically, I put the judge limitation in place because I don't like the idea of a bunch of people sitting on the sideline in suits being the sole determining factor of who wins or loses. I think that should be decided on the "field of play," rather than the judges' table, for it to qualify as a sport.
Title: So what makes a sport?
Post by: foolsgold on July 01, 2004, 09:31:24 AM
Bike racing, track or road = Sport big time.
Title: So what makes a sport?
Post by: Butter on July 01, 2004, 09:50:45 AM
Yes, the outcome is determined in part by the judges in, say, figure skating.  But if you go out there and fall on your ass 4 times, you ain't gon' win.  So the outcome is not determined SOLELY by the judges.  The athletes have to be fairly decent.  The ordering of the athletes is determined by the judges, but I don't think that makes it NOT a sport.
Title: So what makes a sport?
Post by: Jonathan on July 01, 2004, 10:02:53 AM
Quote from: "Butter"
Yes, the outcome is determined in part by the judges in, say, figure skating.  But if you go out there and fall on your ass 4 times, you ain't gon' win.  So the outcome is not determined SOLELY by the judges.  The athletes have to be fairly decent.  The ordering of the athletes is determined by the judges, but I don't think that makes it NOT a sport.


So what I'm getting from that is the only thing in figure skating you can control is whether or not you lose (by falling down or not falling down). You cannot go out there and guarantee a victory, you can only guarantee a loss.

You could go out there, skate the program of your life, and the judges could still give the victory to someone else who didn't skate as well, and there's not a damn thing you can do about it. (A certain result in Salt Lake City comes to mind...)
Title: So what makes a sport?
Post by: Butter on July 01, 2004, 10:14:20 AM
What about hopscotch?  It's a physical activity where you can determine your own fate, but is that a sport?

Your definition is too narrow.
Title: So what makes a sport?
Post by: Jonathan on July 01, 2004, 10:50:20 AM
Don't you mean too broad? Since it opens the door for hopscotch to be included and all.

Yeah, hopscotch probably isn't a sport, but I have to say it seems to me to be closer to a sport than figure skating.

Maybe I should work Watusi's "risk of injury" clause into the definition.
Title: So what makes a sport?
Post by: Butter on July 01, 2004, 11:02:45 AM
Quote from: "Jonathan"
Don't you mean too broad? Since it opens the door for hopscotch to be included and all.


I guess so, Cap'n Semantics.

Quote
Yeah, hopscotch probably isn't a sport, but I have to say it seems to me to be closer to a sport than figure skating.


Oh, so you're just high then.  OK.
Title: So what makes a sport?
Post by: Jonathan on July 01, 2004, 11:28:21 AM
Call me crazy, but I think of a sport as something where the athletes actually determine who wins or loses, as opposed to a bunch of old farts on the sidelines who are susceptible to bribery.
Title: So what makes a sport?
Post by: MissKitty on July 01, 2004, 11:52:45 AM
But aren't umpires and referees also susceptible to bribery?  :twisted:
Title: So what makes a sport?
Post by: LanneyD on July 01, 2004, 11:55:57 AM
I have to agree with gymnastics/ice skating/etc not being sports (though I have to say, those take a helluva lot of physical work).  If anything, I would consider them competitions.  kinda like a science fair.
Title: So what makes a sport?
Post by: Jonathan on July 01, 2004, 12:00:38 PM
Quote from: "MissKitty"
But aren't umpires and referees also susceptible to bribery?  :twisted:


Sure, just look at Urs Meier.

KIDDING!

Yeah, I was mad at the guy, and I still think he made the wrong call, but I've found the backlash against him to be both repugnant and embarassing. The guy's under police protection now, for crying out loud! That just ain't right.
Title: So what makes a sport?
Post by: Butter on July 01, 2004, 12:12:50 PM
MK brings up a good point though.  How many times have you seen a questionable foul call (in soccer, Amer. football, basketball, etc.) at the end of a game that decides the outcome?  That can hardly be considered as the outcome being determined by the participants.  In baseball, you have questionable ball/strike, safe/out calls.  Sure, it CAN be determined by the participants, but it also CANNOT, and that's not the basis for a definition.

I think we need to throw your def. out altogether Jonathan, sorry.

How about the one from dictionary.com?

  1. Physical activity that is governed by a set of rules or customs and often engaged in competitively.

That's broad as well, but then, I think of sports in broad terms.
Title: So what makes a sport?
Post by: watusi on July 01, 2004, 12:24:02 PM
in any sport, the judges or officiators are part of the equation. it CAN change the outcome,no matter what the game.on the other hand, in auto racing, even though there are no judges or referrees, a rules violation can be handed down by the sanctioning body that can result in loss of position or disqualification.
so as butter said, it may have to be a broad definition.
Title: So what makes a sport?
Post by: clemsonfan on July 01, 2004, 12:24:30 PM
I enjoy racing on treadmills against people at the gym. Is that a sport?
 :P
Title: So what makes a sport?
Post by: Jonathan on July 01, 2004, 12:25:50 PM
Here's my point:

In figure skating, gymnastics, diving, et. al., there is no way for the participants to determine who the winner is. That determination is made solely by the judges. In sports such as soccer, baseball, football, etc. the referees/umpires do not determine who wins or loses. They make rules interpretations, and sometimes those intereptions have an effect on the outcome, but the decision on the winner or loser is not in their hands.

Urs Meier didn't say "Portugal is the winner of this match." He made a rules interpretation, and it turned out to have a dramatic effect on the outcome. But he didn't declare Portugal to be the winner. And, to turn your example around, how many times have you seen a questionable call go against a team that ended up winning, anyway, because their quality of play was high enough that they were able to overcome the ruling? That happens a lot more often, I reckon.

I believe that the athletes should be the ones who settle the matter. If they don't have that ability, under the rules, then their activity is not a sport.
Title: So what makes a sport?
Post by: Butter on July 01, 2004, 12:26:44 PM
How do you race on a treadmill?  Do you use a forklift to pick it up?
Title: So what makes a sport?
Post by: Butter on July 01, 2004, 12:29:34 PM
Some would argue that in figure skating, et. al., that more often than not the athletes DO settle the outcome, and that the judges usually are correct in their decision making.

I sound like a figure skating booster for some reason, and the truth is, I can't stand it.  But I do believe it to be a sport.  There is scoring (rigged or not), and there is a winner.  That's a sport.
Title: So what makes a sport?
Post by: watusi on July 01, 2004, 12:37:00 PM
but the judges CAN affect the outcome just by enforcing the rules. sorry to use auto racing again,but its one of the few sports i know.
if a yellow flag comes out and i am in the lead with,say, 5 laps to go. i pass the pace car for an instant and return to my place.if i receive a black flag for the infraction and have to go to the end of the lead lap cars. even though i had the fastest car and lead the entire race i cannot possiby make up the positions to win even though i was the dominant car. the second plac car(or whoever) now wins the race because the sanctioning body(the judges so to speak) merely made me comply with the rules.

edited to add: okay, the judges didn't say "you lose" but can,in effect say "you don't win". am i understanding it right?
Title: So what makes a sport?
Post by: Jonathan on July 01, 2004, 12:43:19 PM
But who passed the pace car? You, or the judges? You broke the rule, you pay the consequences. It's in the rule book in black and white...you cannot pass the pace car under yellow. If you do, you will be black flagged and go to the end of the longest line (or get a stop and go penalty, I'm not sure of the punishment)

Meanwhile, NASCAR can't say "Well, you did win the race by 15 car lengths, but back on Lap 87, we think the second place car avoided that seven-car pile up in a more artistic fashion than you did. Just our opinion, but on the basis of that, we're going to give him the victory instead."
Title: So what makes a sport?
Post by: watusi on July 01, 2004, 12:44:35 PM
agreed.
but wait, there have been a few instances where victories have been taken away AFTER a race and awarded to the second place car for rules violations.. (i'll try to find a link to back that up)
Title: So what makes a sport?
Post by: clemsonfan on July 01, 2004, 12:49:42 PM
Quote from: "Butter"
How do you race on a treadmill?  Do you use a forklift to pick it up?



We push it around the floor. It's a race and a test of strength!
Title: So what makes a sport?
Post by: watusi on July 01, 2004, 12:53:17 PM
Jordan driver Giancarlo Fisichella was declared the winner of Formula One's Brazilian Grand Prix on Friday, five days after the race and following a review by the governing body of motorsports.

FIA ruled that Fisichella was leading before the race was stopped due to numerous crashes and spinouts on the rain-soaked Interlagos track Sunday. McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen had previously been declared winner.

"Right at this moment, any victory is a major result for us," said Jordan team owner and founder Eddie Jordan, who emerged from FIA's Paris headquarters with his fist clenched in victory.

"Giancarlo has won the race. It's a fantastic victory for him, his first ever Grand Prix, but we're all delighted."

The race was stopped in what appeared to be the 55th lap, when Spanish driver Fernando Alonso crashed into wreckage left by Australian driver Mark Webber.

Fisichella was leading at that stage, but Raikkonen was declared winner because he had been in front two laps before the race was halted.

But FIA ruled Friday that Fisichella was on his 56th lap when the race was stopped. Under F-1 rules, that meant the race officially was stopped on lap 54, and Fisichella was leading at that point.

"We were always aware that we were on lap 56 and that has been proved beyond doubt today," Jordan said. "Initially, we thought that we'd won and then there were some misunderstandings. But now everything has been put to rights I'm overjoyed."



so in this case,the victory was taken away 5 days later because the judges made a mistake,not because any of the participants violated the rules.i guess the point being that even in a legitimate sport,the judges can affect the outcome.
Title: So what makes a sport?
Post by: Boogieman on July 01, 2004, 01:48:29 PM
about figure skating and gymnastics consider this:
each contestant starts with a max of 10 points.  then based on their performace (or lack there of) judges deduct points.  the one with less points deducted is the winner.  ( I really dont know if this matters to anyone but I thought it is interesting to bring up.)  The contestants are definitely athletes, however sport its not.  contest yes.  Its soley the judges interpritation that declares who wins and loses and in what order.