I hate it when sports reporters try to define what a “sport” is. Several times a year I stumble upon another commentator’s subjective listing of his or her “rules” that supposedly determine into what category a certain athletic activity falls. In an Olympic year, invariably, the columnist finds that such events as figure skating, gymnastics, diving and other “judged” competitions as unworthy of the “sport” title. Whither boxing? Sure, a KO will crown a winner, but many fights are determined by judges’ scores. And boxing is as old-school sport as you can get. They even wear spandex shorts, too. This year, columnists are arguing about why soccer hasn’t taken off in popularity in the US as it has in every other country on Earth. A few of them have had the audacity to say that futbol is not a “sport” because the matches can end with a tie. Ridiculous. I think its because there are no time outs or commercial breaks for Americans’ short attention spans. Of course, the one that all of these “sport” definers love to pick on is horse racing. Just because the jockeys are not the ones running does not mean they aren’t engaged in athletic activity. Poppycock! I’d challenge any of the doubters to ride a thoroughbred during a race. They’d come back huffing if they can even stay on.
My question to these writers is, why bother trying to define what a “sport” is at all? It doesn’t make you any more of an “expert” than you already think you are. Sure, it starts arguments, but just like the chicken-and-egg convo, there is no consensus when all the hollering is over. Not all of these writers are any good, either, and this type of column only reveals their weakness in a harsh light. I read a weak one today, which is what sparked my ire. She listed her (lame) rules and then made her (lame) arguments for why these were the ultimate determining factors for the coveted “sport” title. By the end of the page I just had to say, “And? Your point is?”
It must have been a slow news day, or the writer just wanted to see some words in print. Whether or not events follow some hack’s “sport” rules doesn’t affect how many people love them, watch them on TV, read articles about them, create fan sites, and the big one, SPEND MONEY ON THEM.