Physicality not definitive of sports

Julianna Poe, Sports Editor

If you’ve said that golf, dance, cheer or bowling are not sports, this article is for your critical eye. 

One may say that if an activity is not physically challenging, then it is just a game. 

However, from my perspective, any competitive activity that’s physically challenging or mentally challenging, or both, is a sport. Yet in order to further investigate what makes a sport a sport, we must define the difference between sport and game. 

The Oxford Dictionary defines “sport” as “an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment.” According to this definition, a sport must meet two requirements: physical exertion and skill, as well as competitive nature in that of a team or as an individual.

For example, golf exhibits both requirements. It involves physical exertion by the act of swinging a golf club and, if you choose to, walking the miles-long course. Skill is acquired through practice and is necessary for making par. Additionally, golf is a competitive activity in tournaments and is mentally challenging.

On the other hand, one may describe golf as a game — or as says: “an amusement or pastime” —  which can also be true. When not a tournament, golf can be described as a hobby. But that doesn’t mean golf altogether isn’t a sport.

According to, “The difference of purpose differentiates sport from game, combined with the notion of individual or team skill or prowess.”

In that case, the difference between a sport and a game is the intention of the event. One of the many intentions of a sport is to compete for medals, ribbons, trophies, whereas one intention of a game is to have fun. Every sport could be described as a game, but not every game could be described as a sport. Furthermore, you could run every morning, but that isn’t a sport, that’s exercise. You could play a few frames of bowling, but it isn’t a sport unless it’s a tournament.

However, it’s not that simple. With that definition, baking competitions, poker and more could be defined as a sport. To eliminate the gray area in intention, we must find another definitive view of a sport.

But to be frank, there is no significant difference between sport and game. Sport, game, even competition is only a label. We, as a society, must categorize everything in order to simplify and process it, sports and games included. So really, a sport can only be defined by the eye of the beholder.