Daily Archives: December 7, 2009

Game or Sport

In a previous entry where I discussed the “Gamer in Grease” episode of Bones, I had said that I wasn’t going to delve into what does and does not constitute a “sport” vs. a “game.”  Well, I had a conversation with a friend and I, or we, ended up pondering the matter.  Here it is:

Friend: I agree with Boreanaz’s character on the sport issue.
I dont think chess and video games and pool are sports. they’re games.
however, if they become commercialized – i.e. pool on ESPN they’ve entered “sport” territory…. did anyone discuss the commercialization aspect/
or maybe we should just go with the Olympic definition.  archery, sport. texas hold ’em, not a sport.

Me: there is a difference btwn poker and chess.  football is a game too. all team sports are games.  tennis isnt quite a game, though…archery isnt a game either.  fencing isnt a game…but it’s a sport.   i know! if you can’t do it for exercise too..then it’s not a sport. ^U^ and then youd get around the physical/mental exertion bit.

Friend: but you don’t do poker for exercise. and golf you just kind of walk around but that’s a sport.

Me: exactly.  b/c one can make the argument that poker is a sport
based on other descriptors of what a sport is, like why gaming can be….  skill, stamina, competitive activity governed by a set of rules, and even risk for injury,  going against an opponent…sure.  poker has all that. one could have a heart attack or a stroke while playing poker even if physical exertion isnt as much as it is in synchronized swimming.

everything that a person can do for exercise pretty much already is a sport or is less likely to be rejected as being a sport.  walking, running, jump-roping, dancing, biking, boxing…all the team sports that…and the solo sports
golf… requires physical exertion but does one golf for exercise..not quite
but at least with the “if you can exercise to it, it’s a sport, you only have a dozen on the footnotes list.

so it should be an inclusive…”if you can do it for exercise, it’s a sport”
“if you can win a prize, it’s a sport”
no wait…”if you can win a prize, it’s a competition”
are all competitive activities…now my brain is hurting.

Friend: poetry is not a sport, im still going with the physical activity thing. maybe im too traditional.  like poker and chess – they’re commercialized “sports” but in my mind they’re not sports

Me: poetry isnt done for exercise either.   can you think of something that is a sport but doesn’t involve the same kind of physical exertion, like fishing, that requires the same kind as in tennis or archery but not in knitting a sweater or playing cards?

Friend: fly fishing is a sport; sitting around fishing is a leisure activity.

Me:  one can say fishing is a sport if one is fishing against a clock.
Friend: like hiking

Me: mountain climbing can be a sport, if it’s done competitively
Friend: right. a sport is competition plus physical activity.
Me: not all athletic activities, physically demanding activities are done competitively.  that’s one catch. but when it is done competitively, then it’s a sport.


Can you come up with a sentence or two that you believe would sufficiently cover the activities you believe count and do not count as “sports” vs. “games”?

Just like the sentence, “If it gives off oxygen as a by-product, I’ll eat it; if it gives off carbon dioxide as a by-product, I won’t eat it,” effectively describes what a vegetarian that doesn’t eat seafood would eat (or not eat).