What is a sport?

Many people debate what should and should not be considered a sport, such as dance and cheerleading.
Many people debate what should and should not be considered a sport, such as dance and cheerleading.
Ella Wachtel

The question of what makes a sport a sport has been asked for generations. This applies to many “sports” from chess to cheerleading, and even town design.

First of all, the word sport needs a direct definition. Some like to claim that if the Olympics recognize a game as a sport, then it must be a sport.

This definition has many problems. The most predominant of which is the Art and Literature medals that ran from 1912 until 1948. The events included in this were compositions for music, town planning, and watercolor painting.

So maybe a sport is a game that has to be competitive? This definition is flawed as well, because it would include games like chess as a sport, as well as every other game, from Monopoly to rock, paper, scissors.

That must mean that a sport is a competitive game that involves physical activity. People have problems with this definition too. 

Many say that events like cheerleading and dance are not sports, because they are judged rather than scored, like football or basketball.

To say that these events are not sports because they are not scored the same is a travesty. The sheer athleticism that is required to compete at the high levels of cheerleading and dance rivals that of sports like basketball and baseball.

Cheerleading requires that you can do flips, trust people holding you up, and hold people above your head for extended periods of time, all while smiling and making sure that it’s done at the exact same time as your teammates. 

It is the same for dance. In ballet you have to support your weight on your toes, in breakdancing you have to support your weight on your hands and head, and in other types of dancing you have to do flips.

While this isn’t to say that chess or painting is bad, it does mean that they are not sports. So, the final definition of a sport is a competitive event that requires physical activity. 

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