Is it sport?
For many years, there have been debates about what makes a sport a sport. ESPN provides coverage of auto racing and poker championships. They are competitions certainly, so they must fall closer to the realm of sport than most other TV. Well, maybe game shows. Lacking the product placement.
But this question resurfaced recently and in the realm that puzzles me more. Activities that require physical movement that seem odd. Basically, to me, the idea of a sport is something that involves use of athleticism and motion. The body is in involved somehow. Thus baseball, with it’s small spurts of activity is a sport. Cycling and swimming, although not requiring the athleticism of soccer or basketball or gymnastics, still require a lot of the body, therefore they qualify. Even events that involve learned skills like archery qualify.
The problem is that these are all accepted or to some degree accepted as sports. The Olympic committee recognizes them or some other governing body and thus television coverage is warranted and print space allotted. We take it as sport.
But there are those that refuse to accept anything outside this as a sport. So, when ESPN.com ran this story http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=mccluskey/090722 about Muggle Quidditch, the debate began again.
First of all, for those of you who don’t know what quidditch is, read a book; there is this guy named Harry Potter, he has lots of books and movies about his adventures, including his exploits on quidditch pitch.
So, in Harry’s world, people fly on broomsticks when they play this game. For those non magical folk among us who can’t fly (muggles), this is out of the question. Some brilliant college guys came up with an answer. Replace the flying with running. They made some rules, published them online and then held a tournament. Several colleges had teams make the trip, not official school teams mind you, but teams nonetheless. Many students took exception to this, claiming that this isn’t a real sport.
Now, the fact that the teams had a kegger the night before the tournament lends this more the mystique of other odd alcohol induced idiocy. Streaking comes to mind. But, if I hold to my earlier argument, streaking would require movement…
I think the real point is that people are embarrassed that their prestigious institutions of higher learning have someone in it doing something they think embarrassing. So what is more embarrassing, underage drinking leading to idiocy like streaking? Or some kids finding away to get some actually exercise and entertainment through something involving books from their childhood?
I remember this argument surfacing several years ago when the movie Dodge Ball brought attention to the many dodge ball leagues out there. The point then was that dodge ball is merely a grade school game, not a sport. But it includes running, catching and throwing, like many other sports, as well as dipping, ducking, diving and dodging. Just because we did it as kids doesn’t mean we can’t do it as adults for entertainment and call it a sport. I played baseball as a kid. And football and basketball. Just because I stopped playing baseball as a kid doesn’t mean it isn’t a sport. I merely outgrew it.
Or sucked at it really.
But that’s not the point. The point is whether or not he colleges ever adopt muggle quidditch as a varsity sport, the game still requires more athleticism and activity than poker; it may not be as cool, but it’s still a sport. A goofy sport, yet a sport nonetheless.
That and this video of Bruce Lee http://ow.ly/i7nY. They could redefine sports forever.